by Structured Settlement Watchdog
As part of a continued examination of the secondary and tertiary market for structured settlements and now other types of cash flows occasionally masqueraded using terms associated with annuities, there are some more dots we can now connect.
Trenton Douglass, a former employee of SMA Hub sent emails to an investor in 2019 referring to a purported investment in NBA player Paul Millsap's agent Brendan DeAngelo Simmon's purported agent's fee as a "premium" and as a "low risk NBA deal". But it wasn't a premium, wasn't an annuity and was not an NBA deal.
When asked to explain "low risk" by the investor, Douglass replied:
"We have this deal extremely buttoned up with the Confessed Judgements and UCC-1s put into place on all associated parties. But as with all deals, nothing is 100%. We have made this deal as close to being 100% secured as we can possibly make it. I can send you over some documents on the deal, than (sic) I can have Jonathan Walker give you a call tomorrow to talk it over if you would like".
According to Trent Douglass' LinkedIn profile when retrieved January 12, 2022, in his 2 years and 2 months at SMA Hub, his role included (among other things)
- Developed a strategic plan for the sale of Secondary Market Annuities to Attorney's and Structured Settlement Consultants.
- Origination through sale of factored professional athlete contracts.
- Wholesaler of low-risk and guaranteed financial products, factored professional sports contract investments
- Managed over 50 active agents registered representatives to our company.
What is a premium?
an amount to be paid for an insurance policy
In fact, the deal was not an "NBA deal" and the investment was not an annuity or insurance policy. It turned out that the investment was not low risk
According to a December 2021 affidavit signed by Paul Millsap, notarized by Linda B. Rosner, a Georgia notary public, which Millsap's attorneys submitted in a court proceeding to contest a confessed judgment in Maryland obtained by a New York investor in October 2021 and re-opened January 12, 2022:
- Millsap claimed that he was not in front of a notary in Atlanta Georgia on March 15, 2019. He was in Denver Colorado, for the Denver Nuggets at that time.
- Millsap did not have any involvement in the preparing of any of the documents, did not sign any of the documents, and did not authorize anyone else to sign any of the documents on his behalf.
- Millsap was not aware of any of the documents, nor had he heard of Mr. Lee Jundanian, Mr. Jonathan Walker, or Atlantic Capital, LLC, until 2021. Download Millsap Affidavit 12-2021
According to the Sixth Affirmative Defense in the January 7, 2022 Verified Answer and Counterclaim filed by Lee Jundanian, Reliance Funding, LLC and Atlantic Solutions, LLC in response to an ongoing New York investor action "The investment controversy arising out of the investigation of plaintiff's attorney as plaintiff's fiduciary call into question the validity of plaintiff's investment through acts or omissions of third parties for whose conduct defendants LEE JUNDANIAN, RELIANCE FUNDING and ATLANTIC SOLUTIONS LLC were also misled and for which defendants LEE JUNDANIAN, RELIANCE FUNDING and ATLANTIC SOLUTIONS LLC are not legally responsible".
If there are any potential investors in factored athlete contracts pay attention to the words "are not legally responsible". Consider that the purported NBA/Simmons/Millsap deal was originated in March 2019, only two months after another deal involving Michael Vick originated by Atlantic Solutions and distributed through SMA Hub, began to spiral out of control in January 2019.
If one were to give a reasonable assessment of the situation, from Millsap's affidavit one could say that the SMA Hub was indeed "missing a few buttons"
Nikia Foster-Vassell is a Georgia notary who was hired and paid by Reliance Funding, LLC, a Bethesda firm which is the successor-in-interest to disgraced structured settlement factoring company Access Funding [Note the Reliance Funding LLC Better Business Bureau listing cites Access Funding, LLC as an alternative name at time of this posting]. Nikia Foster-Vasell witnessed Brendan DeAngelo Simmons sign Paul Millsap's name, without his denoting Power of Attorney. How would any potential investor know that it was not Paul Millsap signing based on the way it was represented by SMA Hub and its advisor network? SMA Hub represented on its still operating website "Only after we have painstakingly scrutinized and thoroughly reviewed each payment stream is it made available to your client to fund and close. SMA Hub’s closing book details every aspect of our procedures and your client’s transaction". Hmm!
Nikia Foster-Vassell claimed in her November 5, 2021, answer to the New York investor Complaint, that " Reliance Funding LLC out of Bethesda MD, is the company that contracted Vassell on 15th of March 2019 to conduct the Simmons signing, Prior to signing, Simmons noted and provided a POA (power of attorney) advising that he has designatory rights to sign on behalf of Paul Milsap(sic) because he was his legal agent and uncle". As a notary, Vassell said, she "couldn't attest to the validity of the document, only verify the dates/names are valid along with the identification. Upon advising Simmons to provide the doc to the Signing Company, Reliance Funding LLC, he noted that they were aware, but would contact. Simmons produced two ID's which were sent to Reliance along with docs that Vassell notarized, and Simmons signed".
Where was the Power of Attorney in the Closing Book?
To bring new readers up to speed,
- Jundanian and/or his companies originated the purported athlete and/or agent investments and distributed them through NV Partners, LLC dba SMA Hub, with whom Jundanian and/or his companies had a long-standing relationship going back at least until Access Funding. See Washington Post "In 2018, working through a Bethesda middleman, Vick signed a deal tied to a company based in Oregon: NV Partners. The principals of that firm had for years put together deals between two entities: “Factoring companies,” which gave lump-sum payments to people in exchange for scheduled payments they were to receive from personal injury lawsuits, and investors who wanted to profit from those revenue streams".
- Jundanian and company clearly knew about the risks associated with investment in athlete or agent receivables at the time because there was a $5,000 per day penalty clause in the agreement they originated with Vick, and the $10,000 per day penalty clause in the purported NBA/Simmons/Millsap deal.
- SMA Hub distributed these purported investments directly or through its network of advisors, which in at least one instance included settlement planners.
- SMA Hub's promises of stringent due diligence have come into question more than once. See my post
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