by Structured Settlement Watchdog®
To what extent are companies that purchase structured settlements, targeting and soliciting structured settlement annuitants with large structured settlements to sell their structured settlements in conjunction with unsuitable, or fanciful investment schemes? I wonder if the judges presiding over structured settlement transfer hearings knew about the approach they would still approve the transfers?
When Mr. D, a 29 year old Allstate structured settlement annuitant with 2 young toddlers, who entered into a deal with a NASP member settlement purchaser in November 2013, approached in me at the end of 2013 he was looking for a gentleman named Escobar that he thought worked as an adviser for Wells Fargo, a major US bank. The original structured settlement transfer paperwork, available at the Circuit Court of Indian River County Florida as a matter of public record, indicated that a Boca Raton based company called Client First Funding was involved as well as a Charles Yates LLC, a Wisconsin LLC that used a Madison Wisconsin UPS mailbox as its address of record. My call to Client First at the time confirmed that Escobar worked for Client First NOT as a financial adviser at the major US bank. But why did Mr. D think he worked for Wells Fargo? It is a question that has bugged me for 2 years. Fortunately Mr. D is OK. While legal intervention was necessary, in the end he was able to have the court order approving the transfer vacated and his payments restored. Prior to that, when I spoke with Client First CEO Burt Kroner, in January 2014, about the Mr D. case, he voluntarily referred me to a Wells Fargo representative that they worked with. Shortly thereafter I spoke with that individual who confirmed that Client First was a source of investment business.
Then I read the Amended Federal complaint in the Terrence Taylor case that Taylor was solicited by someone from Client First allegedly pitching a similar combination of companies. To wit UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA Case 1:15-cv-00271-TSE-TCB Document 42 Filed 04/17/15 #65 and #66 "According to Terrence, Alex told him that Defendant Bexhill, and its agent, Client First were affiliated with Wells Fargo, a nationally recognized banking institution. Alex told Terrence that he could invest the money he received from doing this transfer with Wells Fargo. Alex told Terrence it would be crazy to pass up this deal. Alex convinced Terrence that Wells Fargo would double his money if he did the proposed deal with Defendant Bexhill and its agent, Client First" Bexhill LLC used a mailbox at the same UPS store at 1213 N. Sherman Madison WI 53704 as Charles Yates LLC from the now vacated deal involving Mr. D.
My curiosity remains piqued because, in the Taylor case, this was the only entity to settle out in the Federal complaint before it was withdrawn without prejudice. It certainly made good business sense as discovery would have delved into the relationships. I still wonder how many others have been solicited bv Client First to sell their structured settlement payments in this manner and what sort of printable or digital sale materials are out there. Clearly if Mr. D thought a Client First employee worked for Wells Fargo as an adviser and he didn't, it begs the question of why, and the sales materials. If any of our readers have a copy of any such sales materials from the last 5 years, please contact me.
Now it has emerged that one structured settlement purchaser, apparently associated with another NASP member, is apparently requiring that a seller sign a non disclosure agreement and is purportedly pitching a guaranteed rate of return of 10% on investment. When the company was contacted last week, a company representative would not confirm that they guaranteed 10% , a simple yes or no answer, before getting to "How?"..He stated that they had various investment programs insisted that a non disclosure agreement be signed before he would discuss them. Well done, that just simply raises the hackles, particularly since the name of the firm did not come up under FINRA Broker Check or in the SEC Investment Adviser data base.
If you have structured settlement payments be wary of anyone who is trying to get you to sell your steady stream of structured settlement payments (i.e. give up your steady " job") and move you from a conservative stable income stream to a risk bearing vehicle unless you have a complete understanding of the risk and can tolerate the risk.
If you sell the steady income of your structured settlement payments you will be selling them at a discount. Any investment you go into will have to make up for what you lost because you sold your payments to the settlement purchaser before you start making any money. What are the risks associated with that investment?