by John Darer CLU ChFC MSSC RSP CLTC
Settlement Advocates is what Ryan Blank, the owner of a website associated with a purported affiliate member of the National Association of Settlement Purchaser claims to be. This blog ponders the question of "what is a settlement advocate?" and whether a purported member of an association of "cents on the dollar" buyers can legitimately use the term settlement advocate.
What is the definition of Advocate?
One who pleads the cause of another; specifically: one who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court. One who supports or promotes the interests of a case or group (e.g. consumer advocate, advocate for women's health)Merriam Webster
To support or defend by argument; to recommend publicly. An individual who presents or argues another's case; one who gives legal advice and pleads the cause of another before a court or tribunal; a counselor. A person admitted to the Practice of Law who advises clients of their legal rights and argues their cases in court. West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved
Is a structured settlement factoring transaction a settlement?
No, it is a structured settlement factoring transaction, which is not a settlement. The structured settlement was established when the case was settled between plaintiff and defendant or defendant's insurer. A structured settlement factoring transaction is a defined term under the Internal Revenue Code at IRC 5891.The word " settlement advocate" does not appear anywhere in IRC 5891, the Code section discussing a structured settlement factoring transaction.
Is a Structured Settlement factoring intermediary working on behalf of a seller or an investor a settlement advocate?
No, a settlement factoring intermediary IS NOT a settlement advocate. That is because the legal case settled at the time the structured settlement was established. An investor in structured settlement derivatives is not settling anything. The investor is buying the rights to a payment stream.
So, When You Sell My Structured Settlement For a Discounted Lump Sum of Cash That's Not a Settlement?
Correct, when you sell your structured settlement payments either to an investor, a company or you commute the payments with an annuity issuer such as Berkshiure Hathaway Life Insurance Company of Nebraska or First Berkshire Hathaway Life Insurance Company, pursuant to its Hardship Exchange Provision, that is not a settlement.
What Does The Term Settlement Advocate Mean to You?
Someone who speaks for the plaintiff or defendant in settlement discussions.
The Truth about Settlement Advocates website
Gurgling from the noxious depths of the Maryland Cauldron of Deceit, Settlement Advocates(dot)org is just another lead generation website associated with Ryan Blank. When I called today the receptionist had no clue about the NASP affiliation and said to speak with the executive in charge, which turns out to be Ryan Blank. Ryan Blank has been associated with Einstein Structured Settlements, which has used paid fake testimonials to intentionally mislead prospective customers. Ryan Blank has also been associated with AnnuitySold, which fraudulently advertised that is was licensed in all 50 states and was banned from doing business in Maryland for 7 years from January 2018, following a Maryland Attorney General investigation.
The Settlement Advocates(dot)org website claims to affiliated with the National Association of Settlement Purchasers (NASP) and displays the NASP logo. However Settlement Advocates was not listed as a member of NASP at time of posting. I contacted an officer of NASP at the time of posting and confirmed that Ryan Blank is not an affiliate of NASP. NASP affiliation is only open to individual lawyers who represent factoring companies in court. Upon information and belief Ryan Bank is not a barrister. Ryan Blank will be receiving a cease and desist according to the NASP officer I spoke with.
Ryan Blank (a/k/a Ryan Einstein), is associated with Richart Ruddie and the director of research at a company associated with Ryan Blank, AnnuitySold LLC using an AnnuitySold email address, emailed court papers to a process server in a phony RI lawsuit, extensively written up by Paul Alan Levy of the Public Citizen law group. His high school buddy Richart Ruddie (a/k/a Derek Ruddie, a/k/a Rich Ru), the reputation management fraudster who signed a check drawn on an account for a company co-managed with Ryan Blank, that was dissolved as the heat was turned up on Ruddie by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh in the Washington Post in October 2016.
Settlement Advocates makes the dubious claim to be "the trusted source for settlement planners who require a reliable and transparent settlement purchaser referral for their clients’ extreme circumstances".
There is plenty of reason to be skeptical of Ryan Blank's questionable claims. How can Ryan Blank be a trusted source for settlement planners when he has personally promoted scraping of court records? I'd love to know, if it were true, which settlement planner's due diligence is so exemplary substandard that it would patronize these folks given that many settlement planners purport to ascribe to a fiduciary standard. Based on the short but well documented history of how these folks conduct their business in the structured settlement factoring and reputation management space, I would never patronize nor recommended any company or brand affiliated with Ryan Blank or Richart Ruddie to a client or settlement planning colleague.
About 8 months from the publication of this post, multiple companies associated with Ryan Blank and Richart Ruddie were banned from doing business in Maryland for 7 years thanks to their shady business practices. The companies banned included JRR Funding, AnnuitySold, Palantir Packaging and others.