A company accused of using misleading tactics to get consumers to take cash in exchange for settlements that would have given them regular payments over time will pay more than $450,000 in restitution as part of an agreement announced Monday by the Maryland attorney general’s office.
The company, Annuity Sold, and its multiple affiliates sent what the office called deceptive mailings to consumers who they believed had structured settlements for lead paint poisoning or other injuries. Companies that buy all or part of such settlements offer a sum of cash upfront, but that often is less than the total amount the consumer would have gotten over the course of the agreement.
The sales tactics included a letter supposedly sent “on behalf of Honorable Judge Larry C. David,” a non-existent person, according to the attorney general’s office, and another offering free Ravens tickets.
“We respectfully disagree with the allegations,” said Alex Brown, an attorney representing Annuity Sold. The company decided to resolve the case to avoid the cost and uncertainty of litigation, he said.
The office’s Consumer Protection Division knows of at least 10 Maryland residents who entered into agreements with Annuity Sold or an affiliate to convert part of their structured settlement into cash, said spokeswoman Christine Tobar.
The settlement calls for the companies to pay those consumers the difference between the amount they received and the discounted present value of the annuity payments, which the office estimates is between $450,000 and $500,000, she said. The companies also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $400,000 — $250,000 of which will be waived if they comply with the settlement agreement — and $25,000 for costs, and they are prohibited from doing business in Maryland for seven years, the office said.