Access Funding, a Chevy Chase company, bought out the structured settlements of many of Baltimore’s lead-poisoning victims for pennies on the dollar. Now state Attorney General Brian Frosh is targeting them with a civil suit for fraud.
“The conduct that we lay out in the complaint is disturbing,” Frosh told the Washington Post. If anything, that’s an understatement. Frosh’s complaint describes a company which subjected the largely poor (and potentially impaired) lead-poisoning victims to “a barrage of phone solicitations” to convince them to trade their structured settlements for lump sums, unlawfully enlisted a business partner, Charles E. Smith, as an “independent professional adviser” to the seller, and subsequently lying about the verboten relationship to the court which approved the deals.
Access Funding and Smith of course have denied having any business relationship, but the state’s suit alleges that Access Funding on multiple occasions paid Smith out of the money they received from the settlements they took over.
According to the Post, all told, Access Funding paid $7.5 million for settlements worth a total of $32.6 million.