by Structured Settlement Watchdog
Barry Cooper, a 64 year old Florida retiree who put in years of back breaking hard work on submarines at the Naval Submarine base in Georgia, had $149,253.83 of his Thrift Savings Plan funds placed in what was represented as an annuity paying 4.75% in November 2013 through Somerset Wealth. Now he is not receiving the payments that were supposed to start January 2018. In addition since the purchase was set up as an IRA Rollover by Somerset, with Las Vegas based Provident Trust, Cooper is being charged a $285 annual administration fee. Cooper was supposed to begin receiving $1,600 per month with a 2% annual increase. Now there has been no check, just crickets, after a year of worry for the Jacksonville man and his wife and added needless stress to their marriage.
In February 2017, certain investors, including the Coopers, received correspondence from INF Settlement Trust, the payment servicing company that Access Funding used, stating that "payments assigned to you have become part of a court action initiated in the state of Maryland. We have been informed by one or more of the insurance companies' legal counsel involved that they consider this a competing claim, For this reason they have decided to withhold payments until the issue is resolved in court.
INF Settlement Trust is corresponded with such payees and placing conditions "for the continuing processing and forwarding of structured settlement payments" by requiring that payees execute a Hold Harmless Agreement.
“ We had plans for that money” says Linda Cooper, 67, Barry Cooper’s wife, who together with her husband have been devastated by the state of affairs since learning in 2017 that (1) the “annuity” they purchased was not in fact an annuity but a structured settlement derivative scam labelled as an annuity; (2) payments were being suspended due to the possibility of competing claims with alleged victims of Access Funding in Maryland (3) someone was trying to get Cooper to sign a hold harmless after the fact.
Purveyors of structured settlement derivatives like SMA Hub, Annuity Straight Talk, Somerset Wealth and others have scam labelled the derivatives Secondary Market Annuities to insinuate the known term annuity. Nathaniel Pulsipher of Annuity Staight Talk (who did not do business with the Coopers) has claimed “it’s easier to say”. But again, a Secondary Market Annuity is not an annuity.
Neither Barry Cooper, nor Linda Cooper had owned an annuity before the decision to do business with Somerset Wealth and its representative Brian Horne, according to Linda Cooper. Linda Cooper had listened to several radio shows featuring Stan Haithwaite (a/k/a Stan The Annuity Man) discussing annuities and stumbled upon Somerset Wealth Strategies website, secondarymarketannuities(dot)com and Stan The Annuity man purportedly recommended Somerset.
Cooper alleges that the during the sales pitch from Somerset, she was told that Somerset hired its own attorneys to thoroughly vet and approve the deals and that it was a safe investment, that there was no risk. In fact the Somerset Wealth at the time failed to disclose the transactional risk on its website until we called them out on it.
Somerset Advertising of Recycled Structured Settlements Questioned in 2015
In this July 26, 2015 post I wrote with the appropriate sprinkling of sardonic flair, that “Somerset Wealth Strategies claims to offer an annual payout rates of 75.5% and 25.17% on a Prudential recycled structured settlement and 31.16% and 42% on an AIG recycled structured settlement. Before you get crushed in the "stampede" to obtain structured settlement payment rights based on this misleading annual payout rate display, consider this…”
I’ve been told by more than one person that the chief of Somerset Wealth “is a righteous dude”. I spoke to “the righteous dude” and he did suspend sales of structured settlement derivatives in January 2017. He does come across as sincere. Somerset has taken an active role in trying to represent the interests of the people it sold the structured settlement derivatives and they have spent thousands of dollars in legal fees in that regard. It periodically sends updates. However, for all the righteous dude’ s sincerity when Linda Cooper attempted to get an answer the other day she did not get a response. Furthermore, having spoken with “the righteous dude” personally last year about SecondaryMarketAnnuities.com and the use of the scam label ”Secondary Market Annuity”. He remarked that there was a lot of money invested in the domain.
The term “righteous” means a personal who is good, virtuous, upright, upstanding, principled ethical, angelic, beyond reproach etc. How righteous is it to continue to scam label structured settlement derivatives and who holding an insurance license promotes something as something that it’s not even though your company, at least for the last 13 months, has suspended sales of the derivative?
The continued militant behavior to scam label structured settlement derivatives as annuities simply undermines the credibility of those who sell them.