According to a recent attention grabbing article in the New York Daily News, the NY State Attorney General has now accused RD Legal Funding, a New Jersey lending company, of scamming 9/11 victims suffering from cancer. See my prior blog post here on press reports and litigation when RD Legal Funding had the audacity to sue a 9/11 victim for one of their outrageously expensive loans. Victims who are waiting for their 911 Victim Compensation Fund award should be treated better!
It is alleged by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that RD Legal Funding scammed 9/11 victims out of millions, by “luring” them into taking out illegal loans with interest rates as high as 250 percent! See a copy of the Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s complaint here. The Attorney General deserves accolades for attempting to protect our 9/11 heroes from this shameful scam.
RD Legal Funding is one of the many companies who loan or advance cash to those waiting for a payout from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The outrageous profits from this lending are then funnelled into RD Capital, a hedge fund currently being investigated by the federal Securities and Exchange Commision. If my theory is correct, this means many 9/11 cancer victims are seeing their awards greatly diminished to line the pockets of hedge fund investors. SAD!
Not only did RD Legal Funding target 9/11 first responders and victims who suffered from cancer, they also preyed on NFL football players with serious and permanent brain injuries from multiple concussions. Some have dementia and early onset Alzheimer’s. SAD!
According to an article in Forbes Magazine, “The NFL Players Association sent a “Fraud Alert” last week, but the fear is that far too many players eligible to receive proceeds from a settlement that could be worth $1 billion and may reach over 20,000 retired players are subject to being deceived into taking an “advance payment.” The company at issue is RD Legal Funding, and authorities are also digging into two related entities as well as RD Legal’s principal identified as Roni Dersovitz.
Huge Interest Rates for Those Who Received Money from RD Legal Funding
It appears RD Legal Funding specifically targeted two groups—9/11 first responders who developed cancer and were waiting on compensation from the 9/11 James Zadroga Act Fund and NFL football players who had suffered serious concussions with permanent brain injuries. The company identified vulnerable victims in these two categories who were awarded a settlement, but were waiting for the money to come through. RD Legal would then offer 9/11 victims awaiting payment from the WTC Fund—who were cancer stricken and often drowning in debt and medical bills—an upfront payment they could ostensibly repay once their settlement money came through. Then, when the settlement did come through and these 9/11 victims attempted to repay the loans, they found themselves paying more than twice the amount lent to them by RD Legal—sometimes only mere months earlier.
As an example, one woman who had been awarded $65,000 by the Zadroga WTC Fund (a 9/11 compensation fund set up by Congress for the benefit of first responders who suffered from medical issues directly related to the toxic dust which settled over the area), found herself owing nearly twice what she was advanced. The woman took out an loan from RD Legal of $18,000 to tide her over while she waited for her Zadroga Fund settlement. When she received that settlement, six months later, RD Legal informed her she now owed $33,000. SAD!
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of NY calls the practices of RD Legal Funding “shameful”. RD Legal, as well as the founder of the Company, Roni Dersovitz are named as defendants in the current lawsuit by the Attorney General. Dersovitz has had prior troubles with the law, as he was not only accused of lying to investors of RD Legal Capital, but was also sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission last year.
The lawsuit against RD Legal Funding claims the company misled 9/11 victims by telling them they would help them get their settlements more quickly. In fact, RD Legal Funding has neither the ability nor permission to help a victim receive their settlement from the James Zadroga Fund more quickly than would normally happen.
The WTC Victim Compensation Fund lawyers at Turley Hansen & Partners agree with the New York State Attorney General that the practices of RD Legal Funding are “shameful” and further victimize vulnerable 9/11 victims currently fighting cancer.
We suggest that no 9/11 first responder or victim applying to the WTC Victim Compensation Fund should use their services until the lawsuit from the New York Attorney General is completed. If you have already taken a loan from RD Legal Funding while you await your 9/11 settlement award money, we suggest you should call the New York State Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-771-7755 or your 9/11 attorney to see if you must repay these outrageous loans.
Turley Hansen & Partners have the resources and experience needed to represent first responders and survivors of 9/11 before the federal 911 WTC Victim Compensation Fund. Call us at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636) if you have any questions.