by Structured Settlement Watchdog
What is an annuity under California Law? According to an official California Department of Insurance information guide to seniors available online, "an annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company. You buy the annuity by making one or more premium payments to the insurance company". The same guide does not recognize acquried structured settlement payment rights or structured settlement derivatives using the "secondary market annuity" scam label.
Highestyieldannuities(dot)com was a website established in 2014 to sell structured settlement derivatives to the public. The website, which was registered by a licensed California insurance agent made express mention of State Guaranty Associations despite a prohibition provided in CA Insurance Code §1067.17 for the purpose of sales, solicitation, or inducement to purchase any form of insurance. An annuity, which is what is purported in the advertisement, the title of the domain and in the first sequence of a YouTube video cited below is a form of insurance.
The domain highestyieldannuities(dot)com was registered by Rey Pasqua Berona , a California licensed insurance agent. The website registration only states Rey Berona with a Golden Valley Arizona address, but with a mobile phone number consistent with that on the website that instead lists an address at RPBCO 6 Centrepointe Drive, Suite 724 in La Palma CA ( a Regus office center). The active insurance license has an address in Buena Park, CA and has been a active since October 25, 2013 according to public records, which also indicate that on February 8, 2014, less than one month prior to the establishment of the subject website, Berona completed the mandatory 8 hours of annuity training. The business telephone on Berona's license record, 714-484-3542, appears to be out of service after I tested from two separate phones at two separate times on April 23, 2017.
A live YouTube video promoting highestyieldannuities(dot)com was published on March 20, 2014 and the opening sequence displays "High Yield Fixed Rate Annuity".
Food for thought
- Either it's an annuity or it's not.
- If users of secondary market annuity scam label believe it is then let's get a state regulator or NAIC to opine
- If it's not an annuity, then it follows that calling it an annuity could be considered false advertising.
- The corollary, if it is an annuity then no mention should be made of statutory protections that may apply to annuities in connection with the sale thereof.
- Furthermore, if is an annuity then all laws pertaining to the sale of annuities should apply (e.g. anti rebating statutes, licensing etc)
Even Professor Adam F. Scales, the doyen of structured settlement factoring, did not refer to factored structured settlements by the scam label.
Update July 2017
Three months following being exposed, HIghestyieldannuities(dot)com is no longer operational and the domain is in redemption status with the domain registrar. Another fly by night bites the dust.