Pension Advance Investigation

It’s financial risky and potentially dangerous to take an advance on your pension. ConsumerMojo’s story Pension Advance Plans Take a Big Bite really explains exactly how  pension advance plans operate, who is victimized e and what some states are doing to curb the practice.

 In New York State. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s team launched one of the largest investigations. Cuomo said he asked the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to investigate pension advances because, “These companies are literally harvesting the hard-earned pensions of seniors, military veterans and other hard-working New Yorkers.  Using deceptive practices to cheat people out of their pensions by enrolling them in backdoor high-interest loans will not be tolerated in our state.”

How it works

To get a pension advance you must agree to give up a portion of your weekly or monthly pension in return for a lump sum upfront. The interest rate can be more than 100 percent and that can chop off a good portion of your pension.

Targeting veterans

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, said, “These pension advances appear to be nothing more than payday loans in sheep’s clothing. Pension harvesting schemes that hit financially strapped retirees with sky-high interest rates and hidden fees are simply unacceptable. It’s especially disturbing that military veterans – who earned their pensions defending our country – are apparently being targeted through these abusive products.”

 

Lawsky’s agency sent subpoenas to the following companies: 

1. LumpSum Pension Advance
2. Pension Funding LLC
3. Pensions Annuities & Settlements LLC
4. Pension Income LLC 
5. Cash Flow Investment Partners
6. DFR Pension Funding
7. Veterans Benefit Leverage
8. Voyager Financial Group LLC (Pension4Case/Cash Out My Pension/Buy Your Pension)
9. First American Finance Corporation
10. Investing Forward (Termbrokers LLC)

The message here is to beware and stay away from pension advance schemes.

watchmore Key Steps for Planning for Retirement: more information about protecting yourself and your assets.

 

Published by

Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.

78 thoughts on “Pension Advance Investigation”

  1. Case 2:13-cv-00671-ABC-R (Lawrence Vicari vs. VFG)

    Barbara,

    I found this case document on Google but cannot find the outcome of the case. It looks like L. Vicari not only took VFG to court for his benefit but for all investors and pensioners that were involved with VFG. Are you able to find the outcome of this case and what does it mean to many people posting here that are involved with VFG?
    Thank you your continued help.

    1. I will check. While Tim Smith is right that the transfer of these pension payments is basically illegal, the issue of a contract between two parties still may be enforced in some courts. So you need to proceed carefully. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been referring people to mediation. So there seems to be legal redress for the people who lend the money against the pension. But I will follow up and post here.

  2. Hi Barbara I too am in a mess wit VFG in 2011 I signed an agreement to give them all of my police pension (4500 month for 72 months) I am no in my 60th month and I am broke and homeless living in my car working where I can I am going to have to file bankruptcy due to my excessive debt. I
    am from CT but now I move around I am thinking of stopping by payments and having my pension reverted back to me do you have any suggestions? Any help you can provide would be great
    dennisforsale@gmail.com
    Thank You

  3. Hello my name is Thomas and I am a retired disabled veteran, I got caught up in the trap of getting one of these Pension Advances due to losing my job and needing money to help my daughter through college. I applied with Pension Annuities and Settlements, formerly known as Future Income Payments LLC. They threatened me if I did not pay the over $800 a month payment that was needed, initially they wanted an insurance policy but they dropped that requirement after I couldn’t pay the monthly payments on that. I have had my truck repossessed due to not being able to make those payments due to the high payment of this advance. Where can I go to submit a complaint against this company and who can I contact in order to get from under this highly illegal debt. They even had a lawyer contact me and threaten me if I didn’t pay and I had to start paying through that particular lawyers office instead of them.
    I started this advance when I was living in California. I now live in ohio but I’m thinking since it was taken out in California I should make my complaint there. Please contact me with any information that you might have at: graytc718@gmail.com

    Thank you very much!

    1. I responded directly to Thomas. But anyone wondering about getting out of a pension advance loan might take a look this post: http://www.consumermojo.com/when-you-stop-paying-off-a-pension-advance/ and how one person in California got out of it.

      If you want to file a complaint, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/#other-loan is one place to go. Attorney generals in Arkansas, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts and New York have taken legal action, or are investigating some of the pension advance companies. Check out our posts to keep up with what is happening.

  4. Hey folks disabled veteran from Gerogia here I have been paying VFG since 2012 and want to stop my payments what can I expect to happen? And should I lawyer up before I do this. Please email any information you have that would benefit me….thank you benjaminthomison@gmail.com

    1. Hi Barbara,
      I live in Ohio and signed a contract with VFG. Do you know what my options are as far as stopping payments?

        1. Thank you for the information Barbara. I have tried to contact VFG multiple times to let them know that I will be changing the way my VA disability will be sent to them. Currently they require me to have my entire VA disability sent to them and by the 5th of the month I receive the remainder of my disability. Here it is the 7th and I still haven’t received my portion. I am changing the direct deposit to my credit union and sending them what I owe each month. As I stated, I have not had any luck in reaching them by phone, email, mail as I am trying to let them know of the change. Is there any recourse to changing the direct deposit? They simply don’t return any of my attempts to contact them. Thank you for all of your help.

  5. I too USArmy VET fell for the VFG scam in 2012 I stopped paying after 18 months and re/directed in 2014 and last week received law suit from buyer. Even worse I think VFG took the buyer for even more money. As the sales agreement they have is totally different from mine over $10k. I have hired a lawyer. I feel stupid for ever getting involved. But they made it sound legit. It’s a scam

    1. My husband is a disabled veteran. He took out a loan to pay off tons of medical bill I received from a job related accident that my workers comp refused to pay. We were so behind in our bills from the lost of my income and we didn’t want to lose our house. The buyer did give VFG more than twice the money we received from them. He is now suing us for the money he lost. We called the court when they filed bankruptcy and the court told us to stop making payments to VFG that it was illegal.

    2. Update. These contracts all equate to illegal contracts not enforceable, as VA payments under law are not transferable reassignable assets. The buyers of the va benefits made bad investment decisions. In my case after stopping payments after 18 months, a year later I was sued. I settled out of court for a % of the unpaid balance from what I initially received. I’m just glad to be done with it. Had I not stopped paying, I would have paid over $36k for what I received was only $14k. I had paid back $7k and settled for $5k.

  6. Anyone know anything with the state of PA. My husband a disabled vet did a loan with vfg in 2012 and we are thinking of switching back our direct deposit to our own, not vfg. We are worried about the repercussions of doing this… Not sure what Pennsylvania’s stand is on this. Any help or info would be great. We were thinking of just sending 100 a month to show we are making an effort, but cant afford the 1500 a month they take.

      1. What are my options (if any) for getting out of this bad (and illegal, if I’m understanding everything I’ve read so far) deal? I am a retired Air Force veteran living in Virginia.

        Thank you in advance for your assistance.

      2. I am in a situation with VFG where I have paid back the amount borrowed. I sold a VA disability pension in 2012 for a 10 year term. If I stopped payment now would buyer be less motivated to take legal action since they got the original investment back? Given the question as to if these sales are legal I wonder if it is stupid to keep paying since the buyer has gotten their money back in payments? I am in New Jersey.

        1. John, it’s a very dicey situation. Individual buyers do sue. Some do not win in court because judges rule that the deals are illegal. But a judge in another state could uphold the contract. Let’s talk via email.

  7. I to got taken by Voyager Financial Group back in July 2012! I’m a retired Air Force disabled veteran and had been paying on these so called pension buy outs up until May of 2015! I still had a few years to go before they were paid in full; however, I have paid the principal amount back that I had received from each investor. Now I’m getting calls from HF Holdings telling me I’m taking advantage of the elderly and going to pay double if I don’t pay what I owe them! I calmly explained to them that it was against the law to assign a military pension to a third party and that his client is part of a class action law suit against Voyager Financial Group in California! So far That was a week ago and I haven’t heard from them! I filed a complaint against VFG with my state (Indiana) and they refused to pursue an investigation against VFG at this time. I even sent them all the paperwork from the web from all the other states that have filed suites against VFG. Does anyone know of if a veteran has been sued for stopping payment and loss the case? I think more needs to be done to communicate to the veterans that this is against the law and that these contracts are not enforceable!

  8. Guys I just found out about this and I too am a victim. I sold part of my VA Comp with VFG back in 2012. Is there any way out of this? Please let me know you can email me at rm2082@gmail.com thanks.

    1. Rick

      I was a victim as well and I just quit paying them. They threatened me at first then they finally gave up and went away. I believe they know that what they did is fraudulent and illegal and they will try to get you to comply. it has been over a year since I was threatened by HF Holdings. The funny thing is that they did not threaten me with the full amount owed just 2 months of payments. They have quit bothering me know and I would suggest you take the same course just cancel your allotment and quit paying.

      1. Thanks Jason yes I just switched back my direct deposit from Ebenefits. Thank God for that website, by any chance you have an email as I would like to get more information regading your situation so I can prepare on what to expect. Thanks

  9. My brother did one of these “loans” with Pension Income LLC in November, 2012. He had no idea it was potentially illegal. He’s not a veteran, but a disabled and retired government employee who lives in Virginia. I’m not sure if the federal law applies here, but I think a case could definitely be made that PI was/is operating outside the scope of the law. My brother changed his direct deposit which will occur tomorrow. I expect he will get bombarded with phone calls and emails immediately. Any advice? He’s willing to fight this, but doesn’t know what type of attorney to contact. Also, he declared bankruptcy in May, 2013 but didn’t include them as a creditor. Should the bankruptcy case be reopened? So many questions…

  10. Have these people actually sued anyone, at least recently? I’ve been scouring the Internet and coming up with zilch. Also, the “Law Office of Paul P Young” is a collection agency. Breaking almost every collection rule in the book, at that.

      1. Hannah I am having problems with the company pensions LLC as I live in Ar. I got a loan in April 2013 on the tenth they took the payment out in just nineteen days not just the first or second month but three months in a row they did this bank threatened to close my account because of that now the young law office call me every day I don’t know what to do either.

  11. I have the same situation. I live in Alabama and they just called to threaten to take me to court if I don’t pay $6.200.00 by the end of the month. What should I do?

  12. This company hooked my husband, and myself, as I blindly signed the spousal agreement and went on about my day. They have apparently turned my case to the “Law Office of Paul P Young”, who’s agents are merciless. I am disabled due to Multiple Sclerosis and have terrible anxiety that I am treated for, and they wreak havoc on me (yet they never call my husband). Friday, I received a call the “Field Investigation Center” inquiring if I had “been served” yet. !! No??!!?? After the call, I naturally lost my mind but then called back to have them send me documentation of the signature they claimed to have saying the summons had been signed for. I made several attempts but didn’t get a person; my message merely stated who I was and who I was trying to reach. She called me back and said she had made a mistake reading the paperwork, that we had been APPROVED to be served as of 2/10 so I could look at the call as a heads-up as being served any time now between then and 30 days from then, and an opportunity to schedule payments prior. As sketchy as all of this sounds as I type it, needless to say its definitely caused me all kinds of panic. I just read over every word of the contract, and I’m pretty much paralyzed with fear. I’ve instructed my husband to called them first thing in the morning; but after reading this I’m not sure what to do. I live in Alabama.

  13. My fellow Veterans. These companies will attack when your at your lowest point needing money for one thing or another. I’ve used Voyager Financial and Lump Sum Advance out of Irvine and went through Veterans Benefits Leverage in Orange County, CA. Like always once you mess up you always find out the details afterwards. Stay away from these crooks and find another way to deal with your situations. The government needs to step in and prevent this type of criminal act.

    Good Luck to all. Remember….the contracts are not enforceable. An Orange County judge in California has already ruled against companies like these in favor of the Veterans. It’s all on Google!

    1. Hello,

      I am dealing with this company as well. I took a loan out with them when I was in desprate need for cash last year. Since then I have had a child and missed 2 payments. They seem to be very aggressive. What should I do?

    2. USMC, I to am a USMC DAV who made the horrible mistake of dealing with VFG in 2012. At that time, there was no derogatory information concerning them I could find on the internet. They never paid my Insurance policy in full as it stated in my contract so I sent them several emails wanting the 2/3’s they withheld from me. When they stopped returning my emails I began researching them again and that is when I found out that the deals were illegal according to fed law. I had no intention of not honoring my end of the deal until I found out I was breaking federal law and so I stopped my payments. VFG hassled me a bit, but now I’m being threatened with a law suit by the investor. Not sure where to go with this now other than getting an attorney which is going to cost me money…. What did you about the investor coming after you?

    1. Veterans Benefits are not assignable under Federal Law. I had a contract review from Voyager Financial and the attorney said it was unenforceable. Change your deposit back to your account and there is nothing they can do to you. Google Voyager Financial New Mexico and take a look at what is going on.
      Hope this helps.

          1. Hi Barb

            I am very familiar with PAS and US Pension Funding .. They are being investigated in the state I live in now for several things . I have paperwork with both companies.

        1. Mark .. be very careful .. they will take a government pension even though its ILLEGAL ………… I am very familiar with them ………………

              1. Hi my name is Dottie and I took out pension loan with Future Income Payments LLC and they lied to me on several things. I have not paid anything to them but they are threatening to sue my husband and I. I live in Texas what action can I take? I really need help on this.

                Thank you in advance for any help you can give me

        2. Mark. Take notice to the above comment by me, USMC. I also had dealings with Lump Sum Pension in Irvine. They tried to send me a 1099 for the amount at the end of the tax year. They lied about their LOAN. That’s what I called it. Stop the payment and they will bug you for a while and even have an attorney call you. BUT….there is nothing they can do. I filed BK and included them as a creditor. They can not enforce their contract. I’m to a disabled Veteran.

    1. Cash Flow Investment Partners and Pensions, Annuities and Settlements are the same address they charge over 100 percent. They also charge a monthly management fee along with sending you a tax form from Georgia.

        1. They operate under many names call center is in South America and they are about yo be cited for multiple things Mark it’s illegal for them to take your VA benefits.

Comments are closed.