by Structured Settlement Watchdog
President of CAOC Signs Endorsement Letter promoting a single structured settlement factoring company, that uses the name of a long gone former employee It is suing, while promoting its business within the trial lawyer associations in multiple states, and has falsely positioned itself as an "Annuity Purchasing Company" with respect to structured settlements. The factoring company paid money to CAOC for the testimonial and the CAOC endorsement letter appears to be boilerplate used over and over.
Distinguished Sacramento lawyer Mike Arias has put his name and that of the Consumer Attorneys of California on an endorsement for Canadian structured settlement factoring company Strategic Capital. The Canadian company has racked up several paid endorsements. Despite the integrity that Mike Arias espouses, Strategic Capital has used remarkably similarly worded endorsements from other state trial lawyer associations to which it also pays, or has paid thousands of dollars. With Kentucky Association for Justice and other states, Strategic Capital continues to promote itself by questionably using the name of long gone ex-employee Cam Mears, who Strategic Capital is relentlessly pursuing in litigation and appears to be trying to bankrupt. Mears works for a competing company out of Nashville, owned by another former employee of Strategic Capital. What a coincidence! If Mears is such a bad guy that Strategic Capital is chasing him, why is Strategic Capital continuing to use Mears' name to further its paid endorsement scheme?
"Fully Vetted for integrity"
Arias claims in his letter to thousands of lawyers who are members of the Consumer Attorneys of California that Strategic Capital was "fully vetted" by the board of CAOC. I guess the so called vetting process missed how Strat Cap is using Mears name with fellow trial lawyer associations, even ones where Strategic Capital no longer a paid sponsor like New Hampshire Association for Justice. Still published on the Strategic Capital website is the claim that "The NHAJ has called the company a “business friend” and cited its reputable business practices in a recent letter to its members.” Strategic Capital paid thousands dollars to NHAJ in 2012 in order to be a "business friend". According to the Wayback Archive, NHAJ dropped listing business friends as a category on its website after 2012, although it does display ads of several service providers that are called sponsors. I confirmed in a phone call with NHAJ this week that the Business Friends program only existed from 2012-2013, so it is clear that Strategic Capital has been milking its one time payment of thousands of dollars and the paid endorsement emanating therefrom to drum up business from trial lawyers, without continuing to pay up.
Even though Strategic Capital has ponied up thousands for paid endorsements it uses a 5 year old testimonial and name and rights of Cam Mears when it should be getting the current head of Kentucky and Tennessee Justice associations to write a paid endorsement if they believe it ethical to endorse a solitary company, or any company for that matter, which pays pennies on the dollars as a value proposition.
Is that integrity Mr. Arias and the vetting committee of the Consumer Attorneys of California? See my January 5, 2019 post for more critical commentary Strategic Capital Sues Ex Employee While Exploiting His Name on PAID Outdated "Recommendations", to Drum Up Business.
Still posted on the Strategic Capital website is a 2012 reference to "In a recent letter from Niall P. McCarthy (then President of CAOC) he says that Strategic Capital has been thoroughly vetted by the board of CAOC and found to operate with integrity.” Given that the language is the same one would hope that "fully vetting is done annually" although clearly not fully done in the present, judging by the revelations highlighted here in.
Strategic Capital claims in a still posted blog using Mears' name that it has been endorsed by NATLE, as well as by several state based trial lawyer associations, "as an annuity purchase organization". Structured settlement transfers do NOT involve the purchase of annuities, structured settlement transfers involve the purchase of structured settlement payment rights.
Consumer Attorneys of California Falls For and Promotes the "Cheaper Than A Credit Card" Inducement to Its Members and Their Clients
CAOC discourages the sale of structured settlement payments and touts Strategic Capital's upper limit on (discount) rates. Arias does not say what that limit is. Why not? one potential clue is that Strategic Capital is a member of the National Association of Settlement Purchasers which suggests on its website that a discount range of 9%-14% is reasonable. It is not.
What Consumer Advocate Does Not Endorse Comparison Shopping?
I'm frankly surprised that an organization that advocates for consumers would not advocate comparison shopping, because it is the smart thing to do. The difference could be thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars, or in several cases over a million dollars! In my opinion, CAOC, like NJAJ and others yet to be profiled, has compromised itself by endorsing a single structured settlement factoring company in exchange for a financial contribution using what appears to be boilerplate endorsement language. Arias' comparison to credit card rates, taken from Strategic Capital boilerplate is true, but nonsense at the same time. Comparing structured settlement factoring rates to credit card rates is a dubious sales pitch. The best discount rates in the secondary market are much lower than 9-14% range that NASP suggests.
Will my structured settlement industry colleagues who give tens of thousands of dollars to CAOC have any reaction?