by Structured Settlement Watchdog®
Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced January 8, 2018 that the Maryland AG Consumer Protection Division has entered into a settlement following an investigation into Annuity Sold, LLC , and its owners (Owings MIlls bred Ryan Blank and Richart Ruddie) and its affiliated companies:
- Uber Funding, LLC
- Bendermere Capital Solutions, LLC
- Axis Funding, LLC
- Stonebridge Capital, LLC
- Greenspring Funding, LLC
- LSG, LLC
- Preak Street, LLC [ Ruddie and Ryan Blank established in Florida 06/23/2014, using Ruddie's address in Ft Lauderdale, now use Washington DC ]
- ILILIL2010, LLC
- Palantir Packaging, LLC
- JRR Funding, LLC [ Ruddie established 11/26/2012 in FL, listed as managing member, registrant of website]
The settlement resolves allegations that the above named Respondents violated the Maryland Consumer Protection Act by misleading injured Marylanders, some of whom are victims of lead paint poisoning, to convert future structured settlement payments into immediate cash.
Under the settlement agreement, Respondents are required to pay full restitution to all Marylanders, which is estimated to be between
$450,000 and $500,000, as well as civil fines and costs between $175,000 and $425,000, the latter variable depending on compliance with the settlement
Deceptive Email Solicitations from the Owings Mills branch of the "Maryland Cauldron of Deceit"
Respondents allegedly created and mailed thousands of deceptive mail solicitations to Maryland consumers and throughout the country who they believed might have a structured settlement and could be convinced to convert a portion of it into a onetime cash payment. The allegedly false representations
1. A letter signed by “Brian Miller” from the “Marshall McEwen Nationwide Esquire Law Firm” that was “retained to ensure that your rights are protected” and was written on behalf of “Honorable Judge Larry C. David”;
2. A letter signed by “Frank L. Land” from “GenLife Metro” and “Genlife Insurance Company” that listed a series of payments that appeared to be an annuity payable to the recipient of the letter and warned the recipient that “the premium for the following annuity may be subject to change”.
3. A letter claiming that the recipient qualified for a “$200 $1000 loan” for zero percent interest and encouraging the recipient to call the telephone number on the letter “now”; and,
4. A letter containing the logo of the Baltimore Ravens football team without the permission of the team, claiming that the recipient could “call today” to claim free tickets for the 2014-2015 season.
5. Respondents allegedly admitted during a deposition that the statements in these letters were false and that many of the people and companies referenced in those letters –including the Marshall -McEwen Nationwide Esquire Law Firm, Judge Larry David, and GenLife Insurance Company –did not exist.
6. Respondents also allegedly admitted in depositions that they referenced these non -existent people and companies to make the solicitation letters “look more official,” in hopes of triggering a call from a consumer who had a structured settlement.
7. Respondents also allegedly referred consumers to attorneys who would provide “independent professional advice” and paid the attorneys for those services, when the law required that the “independent professional advice” be provided by someone who is retained by the consumer, who is not affiliated with or compensated by the factoring company, and whose compensation is not affected by whether the transaction occurs.
Annuity Sold and its owners and affiliated companies banned from Maryland for 7 years!
The settlement also includes injunctive relief prohibiting Respondents from: (a) making misrepresentations in marketing materials; (b) engaging or compensating providers of independent professional advice in Maryland, and, (c) doing business in Maryland for seven years.
Annuity Sold Was Tied to Richart Ruddie's Google De-indexing Scam
An Annuity Sold email was used and a check from a related now defunct company was also used as part of an elaborate fraud on a Rhode Island Federal Court, that made the Washington Post which exposed the scam through the excellent work of Paul Alan Levy of the Public Citizen Law Group and UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh. The scam involved dozens of cases. Read Apparently-fake-defendant libel lawsuit watch: Richart Ruddie & SEO Profile Defender Network LLC paying $71,000 to settle claim [ from the Washington Post March 14, 2017]
What Will Happen Now?
Insurers may scrutinize deals that they've done involving Annuity Soid, Richart Ruddie, Ryan Blank, or any of the affiliated companies listed.
Assignees, financial advisors and Investors in any deals with any of the aforementioned companies may scrutinize deals that they've done with Annuity Sold and affiliated companies carefully. According to Court records, SMA Hub's Hub Business Trust has been the assignee of at least one Uber Funding LLC origination, where the derivative structured settlement payments rights were then presumably offered to investors using the scam label "secondary market annuity" .
Annuity Sold fraudulently advertised that it was licensed in all 50 states, Attorney Generals in CT, NY, California and other states may wish to investigate all deals involving the subject companies.
What Should You Do If You Have Any Complaints Against Annuity Sold LLC, its owners or any related company, including brands such as Einstein Structured Settlements
Maryland consumers with complaints against Annuity Sold, LLC or any of its affiliated companies (Uber Funding, LLC, Bendermere Capital Solutions, LLC, Axis Funding, LLC, Stonebridge Capital, LLC, Greenspring Funding, LLC, LSG, LLC, Preak Street, LLC, ILILIL2010, LLC, Palantir Packaging, LLC, and JRR Funding, LLC) may call the Consumer Protection Division at 410-576-6569 or may write to the Consumer Protection Division at 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202.
If you live in a state other than Maryland and were solicited by any of the listed companies or anyone affiliated with them, please contact your the Attorney General in yours state usiong the handy " Who's My AG? from the National Association of Attorneys General.
Attack on Annuity Sold Deception Is Another Shot Across the Bow For Structured Settlement Factoring Companies With Reckless Practices
Structured settlements are intended to provide long term care and support for individuals, such as lead paint poisoning victims, who suffered a life changing injury, said the Maryland AG Brian Frosh. “We will continue to fight to stop predatory companies who use deceptive sales tactics and other misrepresentations to take advantage of vulnerable Marylanders.
As I've written about for more than 12 years as Structured Settlement Watchdog, the lack of regulation of the sales and marketing conduct of the structured settlement secondary market allows industry punks epitomized by those that run Annuity Sold , their affiliated companies and others to run amok. In this case we have a high profile State Attorney General in Brian Frosh that is taking on the fight against the marketing and sales conduct of the punks and miscreants of structured settlement factoring with a fervor that sets an example of what can be done in other states about market conduct and sales practices. It's time for a "Frosh Approach".