by Structured Settlement Watchdog
What is going on with Client First Settlement Funding of Boca Raton Florida? As you can see from the photo below, the Google Business listing for Client First Settlement Funding states that Client First Settlement Funding is Permanently Closed.
Client First of Georgia LLC however, is still listed as a "Registered Structured Settlement Purchasing Company" by the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Divisions with an expiration date in July 2022. The term Structured Settlement Purchasing Company is a bit of a misnomer in that none of the listed companies purchases a structured settlement or a structured settlement annuity. They purchase structured settlement payment rights, which are defined at 26 U.S. Code § 5891(c)(2).
To better protect structured settlement consumers (including investors) and to avoid initial interest confusion, some thought should go into terminology used when drafting or updating structured settlement protection laws. Maryland refers to buyers of structured settlement payment rights as "transferees" which is accurate, but Georgia, inaccurately refers to them as structured settlement purchasers, which is not. The Georgia language is technically illegitimate because nobody is purchasing the structured settlement. It is a transfer of structured settlement payment rights. A transfer of structured settlement payment rights could be in whole or in part.
I was recently contacted by a senior investor who has payments are alleged to be past due from a purchase of structured settlement payment rights, that was originated (and apparently serviced) by Client First. The underlying annuity issuer is Symetra and (according to the investor) Symetra is waiting for a proof of living from Client First, because the payments are life contingent. No answers from Client First at the time of posting.
When the payee sought me out as the Structured Settlement Watchdog, I reached out to Brian Dear, of the Addison TX law firm of Vassar McCown Dear & Sicotte, LLP, who is the Executive Director and General Counsel of the National Association of Settlement Purchasers. Brian kindly provided last known contact details for Burt Kroner (Owner & CEO) and Lisa Shapiro (Processing Manager) on Thursday May 12, 2022 and he indicated that he "emailed both Burt and Lisa to relay your message and Mr. redacted’s phone number and asked that they contact him as soon as possible". Seven days later crickets. The investor has left messages on both of the numbers kindly provided by Brian Dear. It should be noted that Client First Settlement Funding is no longer a member of the National Association of Settlement Purchasers.
Burt Kroner's appeal of an unfavorable June 1, 2020 tax decision remains pending. See Burt Kroner v Commissioner of Internal Revenue 11th Circuit Court of Appeals 20-13902. Also see my June 7, 2020 post Client First Settlement Funding CEO Loses "KronerIRS" Re $24.77M Transfers But Avoids Penalties
In an effort to assist the investor in tracking down Mr. Kroner, I located Kroner's attorney from the Appellate documents in the publicly available court records. There have been recent filings in the Appellate matter so presumably Burt Kroner's counsel is in touch with Burt Kroner. I understand from speaking with the investor this evening that Mr. Kroner' tax counsel has now been contacted by the investor. Hopefully Mr. Kroner or Lisa Shapiro will contact the investor ASAP.