by Structured Settlement Watchdog
Mixing court scrapers and unlicensed structured settlement buyers is a toxic cocktail.
What is court scraping?
Court scraping is the process of searching court records for personal identifiable information about any settlements that involve structured settlements with
the exclusive beneficiaries being mostly unlicensed individuals and entities, whose unlicensed or uncredentialed representatives harass structured settlement annuitants provide unlicensed financial advice.
The scraped victims are first subjected to a carpet bombing of email solicitations as the factoring sperm fight each other and try to wriggle their way in to fertile ground. This in turn is followed by a shower of unwanted phone calls, followed by unlicensed financial advice and a financial solution that is a pennies on the dollar money loser 100% of the time.
The Court Scrapers
This morning I received an email from Michael Finn from American Courthouse Research, with the subject line " Structured Settlement Research". Finn states that his company conducts Courthouse research in around 37-40 States. He claims to provide all the information available directly from court records. Because of nationwide redaction policies, addresses taken from the court records are only available on around 30% of the Documents. Included when available, Full name of the Settlement holder, (First initial Only when address is shown), address, competitor, annuity Issuer, annuity obligor, State/County where document was filed, File Date, Open/Closed option. They research the most current cases in each state.
In 2016 I reported about how "cat lady" Tricia Nixx, states that her structured settlement leads are the most detailed available and "are ready for your sales team to pounce on these people". Pounce like a cat stalking its prey. Download Structured Settlement Leads _ LinkedIn Court Scrapers. I remarked then that Tricia Nixx shows just how disconnected that court scrapers and lead generators are from the people who have structured settlements. Tricia Nixx claimed to have addresses, phones, social media, email, relatives with structured settlements, previous sales, payment streams available for a price. She said other people who sell leads simply buy them from runners or court clerks.
Betsy Resnick Read my 2014 post
In 2013, now banned in Maryland for 7 years, Ryan Blank and JRR Funding LLC (manager member Richart Ruddie), made courtscrape a central part of their salespitch to Atlanta based Fairfield Funding as I reported here in 2015.
This is just a small sampling of the cottage industry of court scrapers supporting structured settlement cash now pushers.
Is Court Scraping Legal?
The subject of public access to court records has been the subject of a number of scholarly papers. For example Download Public Access to Court Records ABA March 2017 American Bar Association Center for Continuing Legal Education March 17, 2011. There are many public policy reasons why there should be transparency in court houses.
Proponents of court scraping say that it keeps costs down for consumers. Others say it just amplifies unwanted harassment of structured settlement annuitants.
It took 5 months for the national press to publish a story about the ex Miami lawyer who forged 7 judges signatures over and over and over on more than 100 structured settlement factoring documents. I published my first of 8 Camacho posts on January 9, 2016, 6 weeks before anyone else. Thank you Broward County.
What is Needed?
It is unlikely that public access to court records is going away anytime soon. Therefore licensing and regulation of sales practices becomes even more crucial. There need to be rules of engagement with customers and accountability that includes fines and possible loss of license or authority to transact business in any state where transgressions of the rules. The fines or suspensions should be open to public review just like any other license.