The structured settlement secondary market has its place for people who need liquidity and cannot obtain it from any other source. Unfortunately the lack of regulation of participants and their sales practices have turned that industry segment into a circus. Therefore it's necessary to continue to expose the bad business practices so that consumers, attorneys general, law enforcement and the media are kept informed.


Settlement Planners Own Structured Settlement Factoring Origination and Servicing Companies


My firm may be one of the only ones in the structured settlement primary market that has for years had awritten policy statement on structured settlement factoring, although until August 2022 there a structured settlement factoring origination and servicing companyBuffalo settelment planning firm has for 4 years, openly advertised it buys and sells structured settlement payment rights.


In June 2018, I was first alerted to the possibility that John T. Bair of Milestone Consulting, LLC a Buffalo, New York based primary market firm was on the cusp of being in the structured settlement factoring business, when I stumbled on an article he published in March that seemed like he was softening up trial lawyers to a budding business opportunity, although the form it would take becmae more clear in June 2018, when I saw an ad for enuities.com with the claim that it could beat JG Wentworth by 50% (Asterisk and small print disclaimer included!). When I called for details the receptionist didnt even know who his boss was so I asked thenm to call me. The call was returned by Nita Bhatia and the caller ID diplayed Milestone Consulting along with a familiar phone number. Eventually I communicated with Bair and sought to learn how he planned to manage the conflict of interest. One would dthinkk that Bair would be forthright, the price of admission for  4 months of silence was  a 3 year non-compete and a liquidation of damages clause, so I demurred.


In October 2018, Bair emailed a then structured settlement secondary market participant using his Milestone Consulting email, that it was "the only primary market as well as secondary market originator that he knew of".  Yet when CrowFly, LLC was eventually unveiled it was soft-pitched as a trendy sounding "fintech platform".


Yet in April 2020, Bair sent a missive to trial lawyers with the words "eliminate annuities from your client portfolios and settlement plans", compounded by the fact that Bair has admitted in writing to being a factoring originator, begged the obvious question about whether Milestone is itself, or together with entities of common ownership , seeking to cannibalize or churn its own business?  Concurrent to the get out of annuties missive, Bair was  pushing investment in a "Seconday Market Annuty" from CrowFly, which are not even annuities  [NAIC Statutory Issue paper No. 160  finalized April 6, 2019 and the definition of annuity under the insurance laws of most states], raising an important question that needed to be asked again... Was John T. Bair mining his own clients, originating from the pre-2012 period when he was with Forge Consulting and the Milestone Consulting years (2012 and after) for structured settlement factoring business?  Was it a conflict of interest and if so, how was it being managed?


After researching court records, on January 15, 2022, the Structured Settlement Watchdog identified multiple structured settlement factoring petitions submitted by CrowFly, LLC, a firm that Bair is the principal owner of ( Source: Milestone Wealth LLC Form ADV Part 2  dated March 16, 2022  iapd.com).


In August 2022,  the Structured Settlement Watchdog reported about two more deals where related companies that factored structured settlement payments from cases previously written by Bair (1) The Virgilio case where THREE Bair associated entities were involved, Seventh Amendment  Holdings, LLC (now Milestone & Co., LLC) as the buyer, and United States Periodic Payment Assignment Company (USPPAC and Milestone Consulting, LLC as the consultant, but no Independent Professional Advice; and (2) The Sherman case, which involved USPPAC.. In late August 2022, Bair was cited Buffalo Business First announced that CrowFly was shuttered,  just over 4 months after Buffalo Business First carried a story that CrowFly was "hitting another gear" and hiring more employees. They didnt appear to be downshifting.


What are the Structured Settlement Watchdog's favorite songs on the hunt?


  1. Atomic Dog by George Clinton
  2. I'll Be Doggone by Marvin Gaye
  3. Who Let the Dogs Out by Baha Men
  4. Black Dog by Led Zeppelin
  5. ​Bad to the Bone  George Thorogood
  6. Hound Dog by Big Mama Thornton
  7. Hound Dog by Elvis Presley
  8. Walking the Dog by Rufus Thomas
  9. Dog and Butterfly by Heart
  10. Me and You and Dog Named Boo by Lobo
  11. Roll Over Beethoven 
  12. B-I-N-G-O​
  13. The Scooby Doo Theme



​Last updated October 10, 2022


Structured Settlement Watchdog® John Darer's commentary is informative, irreverent and effective. John Darer's structured settlement watchdog commentary has been so effective, that a few cowards, who are not clients, snipe from behind anonymity on gripe sites because they have no answers to the legitimate issues raised and spew hate with utter falsehoods.


 As an initial matter, any Gripeo,.Rip Off Reports, Pissed Consumer ( with the exception of 2 of our customers who on their own actually gave us positive reviews on Pissed Consumer) aren't credible on their face. If they were true, I could not be in business.  I would not be able to hold an insurance or securities license.  Complaints Board appears to post what is on Pissed Consumer. Read the comments to the Complaints Board.  It was marked resolved in May 2020 and the Client gave us 5 stars! See the real stats about John Darer below or visit John Darer Reviews, where you can read verified client reviews and I address topics raised in the fake reviews on our own platform. Furthermore, confidential information of real clients is kept confidential. 


For a period of time in 2012, several secondary market bad actors, whose sordid business practices were being investigated and have been exposed ( one registered multiple internet domains using John's name in early 2012, which was later tied to Mt Airy Maryland resident David Springer, according to a September 14  2012 legal filing in the United States District Court in Connecticut in Darer v Does),  on which were posted fake complaints ( also on complaint sites in May 2012 and December 2012 containing the most 'over the top" trolling in an unsuccessful effort to stifle our investigations. Individuals from the "Cauldrons of Deceit" in Maryland and Florida like David Springer of Mt, Airy Maryland, and Owings Mills Maryland and Fort Lauderdale Florida native Richart Ruddie, have the motivation to engage in such cowardly behavior.


In January 2018. Several of Richart Ruddie's associated companies were banned in Maryland for 7 years after a Maryland Attorney General investigation. Ruddie's shenanigans were cited 18 times in a 2021  law review article by UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh. Ruddie had to plea bargain with the Rhode Island United States attorney for mercy (after Ruddie, in the name of  "reputation management", was caught in a fraud on the court). See and read the Sanctions Order against Ruddie. 


David Springer's phony names


John's piecing together all of David Springer's phony male and female characters (held out as employees of his sole proroetorship) in social media led to all of "them" being summoned for a 2013 deposition in a lawsuit (where John was later called as a trial witness), leading the cornered David Springer to have to admit all of the supposed (but fictitious) employees that were held out to the public were in fact Springer himself.   Read excerpts of David Springer's admission under oath at trial below.


David Springer's trial tetimony at p75


​Q And let me ask you this, sir:  So, it's your claim that, if you create a whole social world of a bunch of fake employees for your company --

David Springer  Uh-huh. 

Q    -- that the person who is hound-dogging you for doing what he claims are fraudulent activities –

David Springer. Uh-huh.

Q. -- is going to go away?

David Springer.   I really -- I really underestimated Mr. Darer on that one.   I thought -- I told the Better Business Bureau that's what I was trying to do and it really backfired because it just aggravated him.  Because he researched every -- I mean, the man's brilliant that way"      


Springer was also falsely held out as a lawyer in a cheesy Sovereign Funding video advertising  (at 0:30 of the link), that was used as an exhibit in David Springer's August 2014 trial in Baltimore Maryland, At the trial, under direct examination, David Springer admitted to creating the fake the fake employees  vascillating between trying tohide his identity and trying to make his company seem bigger. 


Q. And do you remember saying to Mr (plaintiff counsel), as some commentary on what was proposed in the pretrial order, quote, "Therefore, I will not allow information to be included that is completely unrelated to search engine optimization and/or marketing techniques, such as the fact that I (Springer) made up a few imaginary Facebook employees so that the company seemed like it was a bit bigger than it actually was"?  Springer  Oh, right.  Yeah"  -Springer trial testimony p76


In the end David Springer was found liable by Maryland Federal Judge Marvin Garbis after a bench trial. The judge excoriated David Springer's business practices and awarded monetary damages to the Plaintiff. Springer filed bankruptcy shortly thereafter. I've also exposed major inconsistencies in Springer's everchanging LinkedIn profiles.  In 2016 David Springer filed a Rip Off Report complaint against a Romanian vendor of traffic-bots.net, claiming that the vendor of bot generated  likes (to generate internet traffic) ripped him off.  Essentially, David Springer complained about the vendor of a service that he paid money to help him cheat. Res Ipsa Loquitur.


 Visit our Testimonials page featuring comments from people who have been helped by my pro bono Structured Settlement Watchdog® work​


I choose to be open and discuss real issues, while others chose to snipe falsehoods from the comfort of anonymity and make desperate, cowardly ad hominem attacks  revealing their obsession about my weight (you might enjoy this retort) , my marital status, that I work from home ( Don't many people work remotely these days?),  their uncertainty about my sexual orientation, as if it were relevant, instead of proposing solutions to legitimate issues to consumers that I've raised. Some people use my trademarked name to cover their identities on those sites.


The real stats about Structured Settlement Watchdog® John Darer®... In over 39 years in financial services:

  • AM Best Client Recommended Structured Settlement Expert 2022 (10th consecutive year)
  • The Company that John Darer® owns has been accredited A+ with Better Business Bureau, the highest 5 star rating,for 18 years, with no complaints.  If it ever received a legitimate complaint, it is committed, as an accredited business, to make a good faith effort to resolve it.
  • Earned and maintain seven active professional certifications and/or designations.
  • No consumer complaints with any state insurance department of the over 44 states licensed in.
  • No complaints with any self regulatory organization
  • No lawsuits concerning professional services rendered
  • Not been subject of an "attorney general investigation" 
  • In his 17th year as the Structured Settlement Watchdog, John Darer has donated hundreds of hours of time for pro bono work to assist annuitants and investors who have been given a bum deal by participants in the structured settlement secondary or tertiary markets and further the mission stated on the home page.





Can You Elaborate on the Focus of the Structured Settlement Watchdog?

You Just Hate the Structured Settlement Secondary Market , Don't You?

Read Some Stuff About You On Gripeo, Rip Off Report, Pissed Consumer, Complaints Board, Dirty Scam



STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT WATCHDOG®


(1) To root out and correct inaccuracy in the online structured settlement space,


  • My central premise is that the  structured settlement consumer on either the primary, secondary or tertiary side of the market, deserves the clearest path to accurate information about structured settlements. Poorly researched or lazy reporting by regional or national media about structured settlements such as what is found on highly unreliable shill websites such as Annuity.org and Structuredsettlements.com, FundFirst Capital, Structuredsettlement.us.com, bogus paid review sites that seem to claim a new leader in the "Top Ten" depending on which way the wind is blowing (or the bucks are flowing), or other very poor content [see for example Structured Settlement Social Media "Road Kill"] or those of the type listed on Structuredsettlementspam.com, produced by or for the under regulated  secondary market where it appears that anonymously registered websites spring up every day like dandelions, polluting the structured settlement information highway with content often written by unqualified individuals [who may in turn hire content writers with even less subject matter expertise, relevant professional credentials, or practical experience] that is uninformed.  
  • My effort to expose and education provided, has reduced the number of merchants, unfortunately including some settlement planners, that have made the irresponsible and wholly misleading use of terms that misrepresent structured settlement payment rights as annuities, such as "secondary market annuities" when selling them to investors, including seniors and even personal injury victims. The term  "secondary market annuity" is not an annuity. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners in its Statutory Issue Paper No.160  (finalized April 6, 2019), opined that factored structured settlement payments streams are neither annuities or insurance products. Furthermore, investors in other people's structured settlement payments may not be covered in the event of annuity issuer insolvency and liquidation. Investors could lose their investment in such case.
  • Continuing to inform the public and investors in structured settlement payment rights of the insolvency risks that could see them lose their payment streams. As of July 2022, 37 states have adopted the 2017 revisions to the Life & Health Guarantee Associations Model Act  (#520) that makes it crystal clear that there is zero protection for  investors in structured settlement payments rights (mislabeled annuities or not) in the event that the underlying obligor is liquidated. Investors in the 13 other states cannot rest easy because it is only the matter of time and the Model Act provides for retroactive application. You're not safe as an investor in an insolvency just because you bought the structured settelment payment rights before the effective date of your state's adoption of the 2017 Revisons.
  • Informing Life Insurance companies issuing structured settlementt annuities of unauthorized use of their logos by buyers of structured settlement paymentsme of the companies hocking the structured settlement derivatives (mislabeled annuities) also make unauthorized use of life insurance company logos in an attempt to legitimize how they peddle their wares with the misleading label.. Stay tuned for updates about ongoing litigation affecting investors in structured settlement payment rights.
  • Education of consumers about wholly misleading use of the term "structured settlement exchange" or "annuities exchange" to insinuate a transparent regulated market place, when investors may buy from brands within the same control group or there is a limited number of originators. Given that exchange otherwise means "to change something for something else of a similar value or type", that is clearly not an accurate term to describe the diminished value sellers receive when changing structured settlement payments at a steep discount, always fopr pennies on the dollar, always at a loss..


(2) To highlight and encourage, potential informants and other commentators who expose, or help to expose, bad business practices with a goal to help improve the greater structured settlement industry. 

Practices such as:

  • Interstate Forum Shopping. Creating the illusion for filing purposes that the annuitant resides or is domiciled in a state of county that they don't to take advantage of lax judicial oversight or less stirict enforcement of structured settlement protection laws. including not requiring a personal appearance by the seller.  Such activity may be accompanied by the bribing of structured settlement annuitants to lie on structured settlement transfer petitions that they reside in a state that they don't.  On December 15 2014,  a complaint was filed by  Michael Lafontant against Washington Square Financial D/B/A Imperial Structured Settlements and Andrew Levine, in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, allegations wherein detail a forum shopping nightmare involving a naive 19 year old New Yorker was induced by a Florida based company into multiple transactions within 6 months, somehow approved by Florida judges without meeting this young man, leaving him with nothing. Read the Lafontant complaint and my commentary here.  Ongoing publicity about the Lafontant case, the Terrence Taylor case and the alleged abuse of  Baltimore City lead paint victims  led to hastily passed reforms in Maryland, Florida and Virginia.  In August 2018,  DRB Capital LLC established a private whistle blower fund, to reward individuals who come forward with information proving violations of various laws in
    connection with the business of purchasing structured settlement payment rights, including violations of the tax code, violations of state structured settlement protection acts, improper forum shopping, violations of federal deceptive and unfair trade practices acts, and federal excise tax evasion.

  • Sending real or imaginary checks to court scraped annuitants and then badgering people to cash then with the insinuation that it binds the annuitant to do business with them. It appears that most companies in the space scrape court records conceivably because they lower their acquisition costs.
  • Sending missives from real sounding by really fake government agencies like the "National Structured Settlement Registry", Settlement Union",  " Annuity Verification". " Audit Department" and such, that are really phishing schemes designed to get annuitants to part with personally identifiable information.
  • Providing advances to court scraped annuitants with the later insinuation that it binds the annuitant to do business with them. See CFPB Complaint v Access Funding filed November 2016

(3) To establish and main higher standards for Independent Professional Advice (Structured Settlement IPA) under state structured settlement protection acts. Rockville MD lawyer, Charles E. Smith Jr and his law firm CES Law Group LLC, are an example of what not to do. Smith and his firm were sued for legal malpractice in June 2015 with claims arising out of his alleged IPA services in connection with a structured settlement transfer of someone with cognitive deficits that included the inability to read. Charles E Smith, Jr was a defendant, among others, in a lawsuit brought by the Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh as well as a class action lawsuit in Baltimore City on behalf of numerous lead paint victims who were allegedly exploited by Smith and other defendants. In November 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Board filed suit against attorney Charles E. Smith and refers to Smith as a sham adviser as part of its crack down on Access Funding and its principals Lee Jundanian, Raffi Boghosian and others related to an alleged scam on Baltimore inner city lead paint victims with structured settlements.  Read my November 2018 article about how Attorney Charles E. Smith Jr. shafted more than a dozen Allstate structured settlement annuitants, including the late Freddie Gray and his sisters by approving deals with discount rates well in excess of Allstate's then offered AFEN discount rate of 8%, were in the annuitant's best interest


 Anuj Sud, a College Park MD attorney connected with many of the Access Funding deals, was busted for taking bribes while liquor commissioner in Prince Georges County MD. 


(4) To seek resolution for structured settlement annuitants and help preserve the integrity of the industry by reporting instances where a structured settlement protection act's "best interest standard" has been inadequately enforced. A judge who may not have examined the seller in person is the only thing that stands between a vulnerable seller and financial oblivion..There have been some true horror stories that must see the light of day.  An example of the kind of abuse I'm referring to is where someone with cognitive deficits has had multiple sell transactions approved in a year and has never appeared before  judge at any hearing before  a "qualified order" was obtained. Blistering Washington Post articles about the alleged exploitation of annuitants in Baltimore inner city at the hands of Access Funding inspired legislative and judicial reforms in Maryland. Similar loud pot banging raised awareness in other states such as Virginia, Florida and in the District of Columbia. There is still plenty of work to be done.