The structured annuity settlement industry is not immune to nefarious characters. In almost every industry, you will unfortunately find examples of bad actors – churches steal from parishioners, car manufacturers cut safety features to save on costs, food manufacturers use deceptive advertising to push unhealthy products – and when you’re looking to sell your annuity or structured settlement, you have to keep your eyes open.
There is a saying that cautions against letting “one bad apple spoil the bunch,” and this holds true for fraudulent structured annuity settlement companies spoiling the reputation of the industry at large.
You may have seen articles recently, such as this one from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), featuring people who dealt with unscrupulous structured annuity settlement companies and were left destitute after squandering their payments. When reading stories such as this, it is important to keep in mind three important facts:
1. Customers left destitute or worse off after selling their structured annuities are the exception, not the rule;
2. Structured annuity settlement companies that take advantage of vulnerable customers for their own benefit are also the exception, not the rule;
3. There are reputable structured annuity settlement companies operating in the best interests of their customers and changing lives for the better.
In the article from the WSJ, examples are provided of two settlement sellers whose lives were decidedly made worse after selling their payments. The first, Terrence Taylor, was receiving a multimillion dollar structured settlement. He had an income stream that would sustain him for life, but decided he wanted a lump sum now, even though he had no immediate need or use for the funds. The factoring deals for Mr. Taylor’s settlement, executed primarily by 123 Lump Sum LLC, not only required that Mr. Taylor not appear in court to explain to a judge why he needed a lump sum payment, but also neglected to include any information on his past spending habits. Unfortunately, according to the article, Mr. Taylor squandered “lavish sums of money on women and gambling,” leaving him destitute and dependent on his parents for financial sustenance. The second example, Michael Lafontant, unfolds much the same way, except this time, Mr. Lafontant’s home state of New York actually refused to sign off on the transaction, effectively making it impossible for him to sell his structured settlement.
A salesmen from Imperial Holdings Inc. then suggested a shady deal whereby Mr. Lafontant sign fake documents, falsely representing him as a resident of Florida in order to take advantage of the lax structured annuity settlement laws in that state. It worked. But unfortunately, not towards the betterment of Mr. Lafontant’s circumstances. Within a short period of time he had spent the funds on expensive assets, including a Maserati, and ended up selling most of them at a loss.
At first glance, it may appear as though the structured annuity settlement industry is to blame for the misfortunes of people such as Mr. Taylor and Mr. Lafontant. The truth is, it is not the industry itself that is at fault, but deceitful companies operating within it that seek to take advantage of vulnerable customers by pressuring them into deals that are not in their best interest.
How to Evaluate Structured Annuity Settlement Companies
How can you tell the well-meaning companies from the crooks? Well, if you’re anything like Mr. Taylor or Mr. Lafontant, you can probably tell when the company refuses to buy your structured settlement. A reputable settlement company will never encourage you to sell your settlement unless you have a pressing or urgent need for a lump sum that could drastically improve your circumstances or life.
At SellYourStructuredSettlement.com, we counsel our customers and help them sell their structured annuity settlements only if it is in their best interest. Our customers come out better in the long run because we do our due diligence and only transact if doing so will ameliorate the life of the seller. Take Andrea, she sold her structured annuity settlement and built a not-for-profit to help burn victims reclaim normal lives; or Victor who used his lump sum to put himself through college and substantially increased his income-earning ability; or Lillian who was able to pay off crippling medical bills after she unexpectedly fell ill. The reason Andrea, Victor and Lillian all have happy endings while Mr. Taylor and Mr. Lafontant do not is simple: they chose to deal with a reputable structured annuity settlement firm.
When it comes to selling structured settlements, structured annuity settlements, or lottery winnings, know that your story can – and will – have a happy ending. By choosing to work with SellYourStructuredSettlement.com, you can rest assured that whatever decision you make will improve your long-term circumstances. If you’re ready to change your life for the better, call 800-543-6513 or request a quote today and get the advice you need from a reputable firm with your best interests in mind.