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 what is at times, a bizarre and hideous 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 Planner Owned 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 company then associated with a Buffalo settlement planning firm had for 4 years, openly advertised it bought and sold 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 displayed 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 think that Bair would be forthright, the price of admission was 4 months of silence, 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 was a principal owner of ( Source: Milestone Wealth LLC Form ADV Part 2 dated March 16, 2022 iapd.com), where Bair, through an entity he led, wrote the original structure.
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?
Last updated May 20, 2023
Read Some Stuff About You On a Complaint Site. Can You Explain?
You Just Hate the Structured Settlement Secondary Market , Don't You?
Structured Settlement Watchdog® John Darer's commentary is informative, irreverent and effective. John Darer delves into everything about structured settlements, the good, the bad and the ugly. John Darer's structured settlement watchdog commentary has been so effective, that a few cowards, who are not clients, snipe from behind anonymity, cyberstalking on extortionate web sites because they have no answers to the legitimate issues raised and spew hate with easily disprovable utter falsehoods. Not only is the fake stuff easily disprovable it runs contrary to legitmate review sites where a customer can be verified.
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Some of the stuff written, if t were true, I could not be in business. It's nonsense. If it were true, I would not be able to hold an insurance or securities license, maintain professional credentials and so on.
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David Springer of Mt. Airy MD
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.
David Springer's phony names
John Darer's piecing together all of David Springer's phony male and female characters (held out as employees of his sole proroetorship) in public facing social media led to all of "them" being summoned for a June 2013 deposition in a lawsuit (John was later called as a trial witness in Springer's August 2014 trial), leading then cornered David Springer to have to admit all of the supposed (but fictitious) employees that were held out to the public were not actually employees or real people, but in fact David Springer himself. Read excerpts of David Springer's admission under oath at trial below.
David Springer's August 2014 trial testimony at p75 , admitting to Whole Social World of Fake Employees
"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"
David Springer was also falsely held out as a lawyer in cheesy Sovereign Funding video advertising (at 0:30 of the link), that was used to falsely promote David Springer's business and 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 "employees", vascillating between trying to hide his identity and trying to make his company seem bigger than it actually was.
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 asthe 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"? David Springer Oh, right. Yeah" -David Springer transcript of August 2014 trial testimony p76
In the end David Springer was found liable by Maryland Federal Judge Marvin Garbis after a bench trial. It's public record..The judge excoriated David Springer's business practices and awarded monetary damages to the Plaintiff. Springer filed for 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, sneaky David Springer complained about the vendor of a service to which Springer paid money to, to help Springer cheat. Res Ipsa Loquitur.
Richart Ruddie of Owings MIlls/Fort Lauderdale
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 April 11, 2017 Sanctions Order against Richart Ruddie.
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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:
Can You Elaborate on the Focus of the Structured Settlement Watchdog?
STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT WATCHDOG®
(1) To root out and correct inaccuracy in the online structured settlement space,
(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:
(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.
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