by Structured Settlement Watchdog
Advance Funding LLC is a Defendant in a new lawsuit filed in Bronx New York arising out of its fraudulent acts with respect to the Ponzi scheme run by
by Advance Funding and its principal, Dan Cevallos (a/k/a Jack Taylor) in the structured settlement factoring industry. What you are about to read is very disturbing and will make you question just how effective regulation is to protect structured settlement consumers when a convicted felon with a lifetime ban from FINRA who has been known to operate this scam for more than a few years made a mockery of the system.
This story should be a wake up call to Attorneys General in New York and Florida, the New York District Attorney, the FBI, FINRA. And a shout out to AOC, one of your Bronx constituents is a financial rape victim and she's not the only one.
According to the Complaint in Melissa Diego, Plaintiff v Advance Funding LLC, Defendant New York State Supreme Court, Bronx County Index 25376/2020E:
- Advance Funding fraudulently purported to purchase Plaintiff Melissa Diego's Allstate structured settlement payments.
- Advance Funding then filed fraudulent and false petitions in Florida seeking court approval of its agreements to purchase Ms. Diego’s structured settlement payments and obtained court orders approving these fraudulent transactions.
- Advance Funding failed to pay Ms. Diego the consideration cited under the fraudulently obtained court orders.
- Advance Funding then conned Ms. Diego into “investing” in what Advance Funding called the “Structure Advance Program” promising her a guaranteed return of 10% per annum and unrestricted access to her “investment.”
- Advance Funding offered Ms. Diego a Madoff-like return on her “investment” but then failed to pay her. Like all Ponzi schemes, the Structure Advance Program used funds from new investors to pay out the guaranteed returns to older investors. Eventually the number of withdrawals from the Structure Advance Program exceeded the number of new investors, and the Ponzi scheme unraveled, with Ms. Diego as one of its victims.
Melissa Diego is 34 years old. As a 4 month old infant she suffered severe burns in an accident at 931 Fox St in the Bronx. Subsequently a lawsuit was brought against 931 Fox Street H.D. F.C. Inc in Bronx Supreme Court Index 6332/1992. Pursuant to a settlement with the Defendant's Insurer, a structured settlement was established with Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York, with the owner Allstate Settlement Corporation, a qualified assignment company used where obligations to make periodic payments were to be funded with annuities issued by Allstate's two life insurance companies.
Melissa Diego's structured settlement
$30,000 per year, payable on October 30, 2004; October 30, 2005;
October 30, 2006; and October 30, 2007. [presumably to help pay for college]
Lump sum payments when Ms. Diego reached the following ages:
o Age 23 (October 30, 2009) - $100,000
o Age 25 (October 30, 2011) - $250,000
o Age 30 (October 30, 2016) - $400,000
o Age 35 (October 30, 2021) - $550,000
o Age 40 (October 30, 2026) - $822,380.
All of these payments were income tax free due to Ms. Diego's physical injury under IRC 104(a)(2). According to Macrotrends, The 10 year Treasury in 1992 averaged 7.01%, which meant the structure settlement IRR would have exceeded that.
Petition to transfer $75,000 of 2016 Lump Sum to JG Wentworth is Denied by Bronx Justice Kenneth Thompson
In his July 28, 2014 denial Judge Thompson wrote:
"The proposed transfer of structured settlement rights is not in the best interest of settlement recipient [Ms. Diego] and thus does not
comply with the requirements of Structured Settlement Protection Act. Settlement recipient Melissa Diego has made no showing of the
true hardship, dire emergency or matter of life and death. Moreover,the court is not satisfied that recipient appreciates the consequences
of the proposed transfer".
Ms Diego and counsel for J.G.Wentworth appeared at the hearing.
Advance Funding's Crooked Scheme to Scam Victim out of more than $1 Million in Structured Settlement Payments
A few weeks after the Judge Thompson denial Eddie Rodriguez, who purported to be a Senior Account Executive from Advance Funding just showed up at Ms. Diego's apartment in the Bronx, befriended her and told her that Advance Funding could help her sell her payments and make money by doing the transaction in Florida instead of New York. Rodriguez told her Advance Funding knew how to do the transfer in Florida, and that the transaction would definitely be approved by the Florida court. The only thing is that Ms. Diego lived her entire life in the Bronx New York.
Rodriguez came to Ms. Diego’s apartment with documents already “loaded” on his iPad. He had her sign various documents electronically. Rodriguez did not give Ms. Diego copies of those documents.
On August 12, 2014, Rodriguez again showed up at Ms. Diego’s apartment. Rodriguez drove Ms. Diego to LaGuardia Airport. At the airport, Rodriguez printed
out airline tickets for himself and Ms. Diego at a kiosk. Rodriguez flew with Ms. Diego to Florida on August 12, 2014. Ms. Diego believes
that they flew into Fort Lauderdale Airport.When they arrived in Florida, Rodriguez rented a car, and drove the two of them to Miami. Rodriguez told Ms. Diego she would need to get a Florida Driver’s License to sell her structured settlement payments in Florida. Rodriguez coached Ms. Diego on how to obtain a Florida Driver’s License. Rodriguez gave her a fake lease for an apartment at 8310 NW 10th Street, Apartment J9, Miami, FL 33126 to use in obtaining the Driver’s License. Rodriguez drove her to a Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (FLHSMV) service center to obtain the Driver’s License. Rodriguez went into the FLHSMV service center with Ms. Diego and told her what paperwork to give the FLHSMV representative. Upon information and belief, the paperwork included the fake lease prepared by Advance Funding. After Ms. Diego successfully obtained a Florida Driver’s License, Rodriguez then
took Ms. Diego to a hotel in Miami, Florida. Ms. Diego does not recall the name of the hotel, but it was across the street from the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. 39. A Florida notary public by the name of Tania Quinones (“Quinones”), met them in the hotel lobby. Rodriguez had Ms. Diego sign several documents in the presence of Quinones on August 12, 2014. However, as a copy embedded into the complaint shows, while Quinones, the notary, appears to have viewed Ms. Diego’s newly issued Florida Driver’s License, Tania Quinones falsely certified that she notarized the documents on August 28, 2014 (not on August 12th, which was the only day Ms. Diego was in Florida in 2014). [Source: Diego v Advance Funding Complaint p 6-7 ] Remember all this went down 2 weeks after the Bronx J.G. Wentworth denial under the New York Structured Settlement Protection Act!
Convicted Felon Forger and Now Disbarred Miami Lawyer Jose M. Camacho Jr. Represented Advance Funding in Broward transfer Petition
On August 28, 2014, Jose M. Camacho, Jr., Esq. (a now disbarred attorney see https://www.floridabar.org/directories/find-mbr/profile/?num=192619) filed
a petition in Broward Circuit Court, Florida under Case Number CACE-14-016757 on behalf of Advance Funding seeking to purchase two lump sums payments from Diego: (i) $400,000 due and payable on October 30, 2016; and (ii) $550,000 due and payable on October 30, 2021 in exchange for $560,000 in cash now.
The Order was approved September 18, 2014, signed by Judge John Murphy III and the two payments were assigned to Habitus Funding.
Ms. Diego did not appear in Court. She did not receive the $560,000. Instead she was told by Rodriguez that she could make more money if she invested in Advance Funding's " Structure Advance Program" where she could receive interest on her " investment" at a rate of 10% per year with unlimited access to her funds. Upon information and belief, says the Complaint, or about October 3, 2014 Advance Funding paid approximately $60,000 to Ms. Diego, and “invested” $500,000 of the money owed to her under the Broward Order in the Structure Advance Program.
The Plot Thickens in Charlotte County Florida
In April 2015, Rodriguez again contacted Ms. Diego about selling more of her structured settlement periodic payments. Advance Funding sent some documents to Ms. Diego’s address in the Bronx via Federal Express and had her sign them and send them back to Advance Funding. Advance Funding then had the same notary public, Tania Quinones, falsely notarize several documents. In the notary acknowledgment below, Quinones falsely certified that Ms. Diego appeared before her on April 6, 2015 to have certain documents notarized. That was not possible because Ms. Diego was not in Florida on April 6, 2015. Advance Funding again had Jose M. Camacho, Jr., Esq. of the Camacho Law Group, P.A. file falsified documents with the Charlotte Circuit Court.
On April 10, 2015 Attorney Camacho filed a petition in Charlotte Circuit Court, Florida under Case Number 15000922CA on behalf of Advance Funding seeking to purchase one lump sum payment of $822,380.00 due and payable to Ms. Diego on October 30, 2026 Ms. Diego had no knowledge Advance Funding had filed a petition seeking to purchase the entire $822,380 lump sum payment due and payable to her on October 30, 2026. Indeed,Ms. Diego tried to sell a portion of this $822,380.00 lump sum payment to J. G. Wentworth in 2019.
On May 27, 2015, the Hon. Lisa S. Porter issued a court order approving the Charlotte Petition. This court order was later amended on the motion of Advance Funding. The court order dated May 27, 2015 named Structured Originations, LLC as the assignee of the $822,380.00 payment. Structured Originations is a subsidiary of J.G. Wentworth. In its motion to amend the May 27, 2015 order, Advance Funding stated that this was a “mistake” and that the actual assignee was Habitus Funding (the same entity that was the assignee in the Broward Order). The Amended Final Order was issued by the Hon. Lisa S. Porter on July 17, 2015 (the “Charlotte Order”).
Under the terms of the Charlotte Order, Ms. Diego was to receive $315,000.00. But Ms. Diego did not receive $315,000.00 from Advance Funding. Instead, without Ms. Diego’s knowledge, Advance Funding allegedly “deposited” $262,000 into her Structure Advance Program “account” on or about August 1, 2015 instead of paying Ms. Diego the consideration owed to her under the Charlotte Order
The Structure Advance Program Scam
From October 3, 2014 through April 2018, Ms. Diego would periodically text Rodriguez and ask to withdraw funds from the Structure Advance Program.
Advance Funding would wire funds to one of Ms. Diego’s bank accounts.
$2,500 Fees Per Withdrawal
Get this! Eddie Rodriguez would meet Ms. Diego at her bank and each time she would give him a portion of the money that had been transferred to her by Advance Funding. Rodriguez told her that the cash she withdrew and gave to him were the “fees” she needed to pay for making withdrawals from the Structure Advance Program. Rodriguez told her that this was how the Structure Advance Program worked. Advance Funding took advantage of Ms. Diego’s lack of sophistication and lack of financial security to bilk her out of her “funds” by charging her exorbitant “fees” ($2,500 for $25,000 withdrawal) to “withdraw” her money from the Structure Advance Program. At one point in July 2017, Ms. Diego texted Rodriguez and made a request to “withdraw” $25,000 from the Structure Advance Program. When she did not receive the funds, she texted Rodriguez again and again and again. Rodriguez kept stringing her along. On December 11, 2017, Ms Diego texted Rodriguez asking him what is really going on with the company. Be honest". Rodriguez kept stringing hr along. Finally on January 26, 2018 Rodriguez sent Ms Diego a text which said that Advance Funding was "on the verge of closing" and that the Structure Advance Porgram was being " eliminated". After months of hounding Advance Funding wired $50,000 to Ms. Diego's account. on April 13, 2018 she withdrew $10,00 and paid Rodriguez $7,500 in cash at her apartment building in the Bronx. Ms. Diego spent over $27,500.00 in withdrawal "fees" from the Structure Advance Program paid to Eddie Rodriguez, who informed her in December 2018 that he no longer worked for Advance Funding and had moved to North Carolina. He told her to call Advance Funding and speak to Jack Taylor the " manager" It is believed that Jack Taylor is an alias for Dan Cevallos. Plaintiffs now beleive that Advance Funding has not been in business since October 17, 2018.
It was only after attempting to do a deal with JG WEnwtrth in 2019 that Ms. Diego realized that she had been defrauded.
Plaintiff seeks a Declaration from the Court that:
i. Ms. Diego was at all times relevant to this action, a resident of the State of New York, Bronx County.
ii. Ms. Diego was at all times relevant to this action, domiciled in the State of New York.
iii. The only court with jurisdiction for an action seeking approval for the transfer of Ms. Diego’s structured settlement payment rights was the Supreme Court of the State of New York, in and for the County of Bronx.
iv. Advance Funding violated the provisions of the New York Structured Settlement Protection Act, NY Gen. Oblig. Law § 5-1701 et seq., by seeking and obtaining court orders authorizing the transfer of Ms. Diego’s structured settlement payment rights in Florida courts.
v. Advance Funding violated the provisions of the Florida Structured Settlement Protection Act, Fla. Stat. § 626.99296, by seeking and obtaining court orders authorizing the transfer of Ms. Diego’s structured settlement payment rights in the Broward and Charlotte Circuit courts because Ms. Diego was not domiciled in Florida, nor was her tort action settlement approved by a Florida court.
vi. The Broward Order and the Charlotte Order were procured by fraud and are void.
Plaintiff also seeks the following damages
i Plaintiff’s actual damages in an amount to be proven at trial, but totaling at least$1,000,000.00;
ii. Pre-judgement and post-judgment interest;
iii. Attorneys’ fees as permitted under NY Gen. Oblig. Law § 5-1707 (b) (ii);
iv. Plaintiff’s costs of this action; and
v. Such other and further relief as this Court deems proper.
Are You or Somebody You Know a Victim of Advance Funding? Have you invested in a Deal Originated by Advance Funding?
If you have done business with Eddie Rodriguez or Dan Cevallos of Advance Funding and any of what you read here sounds familiar please reach out to me.
If you are the assignee in any scam labelled "secondary market annuities" to you that were originated by Advance Funding, understand that your investment is potentially at risk as this scheme unravels.
Prior Articles About Advance Funding and Dan Cevallos
May 23, 2020 Orders Vacated in Bronx Structured Settlement Cash Now Scam by Convicted Felon | Bad News For Investors
January 12, 2019 Advance Funding | Lottery and Structured Settlement Factoring Company Beginning to Look Alot More Like A Ponzi Scheme
October 5, 2018 Seniors' Investment in Advance Funding Lottery Payment Nightmare | No Statements in 2 Years | Slow Pay