Senior scam costs firms $6.4 million | The Columbus Dispatch

Full story: Columbus Dispatch

The Ohio Supreme Court imposed an unprecedented $6.4 million fine yesterday against two companies that allegedly swindled thousands of senior citizens in Ohio, but the unrepentant president of the companies said he'd fight the ruling and accused the court of railroading him.
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Insider Comments

Ladera Ranch, CA

#41 Oct 17, 2009
Enzyte Bob wrote:
<quoted text>
Again, the Supreme Court decides who, how and where law will be practiced, just as the liquor department decides who, how and where liquor will be sold, and just as the Dentistry Board decides who, how and where law will practice Dentistry.
Dentistry is actually a great analogy for the sale of a legal plan. Let me explain.

A dental plan (sold by non-dentists) provides access to reduced cost dental care from dentists. Well, similar to a dental plan, a legal plan provides access to reduced cost legal services.

Now Bob, I assume you will agree that the guy who sells you the dental plan is not the dentist, right. The guy is not going to sell you a plan, plop you over on your couch and start pulling your teeth out and filling cavities, right? Of course not. After you buy the plan from the "guy", you go see the "dentist" for all that "dental" work.

Well it's the same with a legal plan. Once you buy the plan from the "guy", you go see the attorney for the "legal" work - thus avoiding the unauthorized practice of law.

American Family sales representatives sold the legal plan, not legal services and advice. Once the plan was sold, the new plan member consulted with a real live plan attorney who decided what, if any, legal work would be done.

This is how a legal plan is regulated to operate. Again, you can verify all this at the website of the American Prepaid Legal Services Association.

If you choose to reply, it would be nice if you provide sources to back up your claims. You are starting to sound exactly like the Columbus Bar Association's wholly unsupported allegations.
Insider Comments

Ladera Ranch, CA

#42 Oct 17, 2009
Petemn wrote:
"Insider Comments" and "Curious" are so right on with their totally unbiased and well informed opinions and on their espousal of the "true facts" in this 7-0 Ohio Supreme Court decision!! Outrageous, I say!
Just because Jeffrey and Stanley and their companies (AFLP and Heritage Marketing) are being sued all over the place (Ohio is just one of several states where they are being or have been sued) doesn't mean that the Normans aren't providing a valuable service for their vulnerable elderly AFLP “members.” I totally agree with “Insider Comments” and “Curious” implications that the only explanation for the 7-0 Supreme Court decision in this Ohio case is that there must be vast conspiracy by greedy blood sucking attorneys and corrupt judges all around the country, all of whom just want to pick on poor little Jeffrey and Stanley Norman.
Selling expensive boilerplate trusts (for $1995 and more) to elderly folks that have been scared (by well trained sales reps with no legal training) into believing in the massively expensive and horribly burdensome "probate monster" seems to be a reasonable, legal, and darn good business plan to me. And, estate planning doesn't necessarily require that there has to be any actual "planning" involved. I think the "one size fits all boilerplate trusts" for all AFLP members, no matter what their individual circumstances, just simplifies things and makes good sense to me. Discussing other less expensive and possibly more appropriate estate planning "options" would just confuse these old people. And besides, every once in a while, that boilerplate trust might just actually fit one of those old folks' actual estate planning goals. Just ask the couple of so called “happy clients”(out of many thousands of AFLP members) that were willing to step forward and defend Stanley and Jeffrey.
Petemn, are you saying a lawyer's use of a boilerplate template is bad? I hope not because just about 100% of the legal work preformed by lawyers is from boilerplate or templates. In fact, many Ohio lawyers purchase boilerplate documents from the Ohio Bar itself!

The deposition testimony of American Family's plan attorney (cited a couple of posts ago) show that the attorneys worked with a variety of different client issues and circumstances, and then tailored (or cutomized) the "boilerplate" to the client's particular needs. Sounds like normal legal work that goes on in this country day-in and day-out by lawyers.
Insider Comments

Ladera Ranch, CA

#43 Oct 17, 2009
Enzyte Bob wrote:
<quoted text>
The purpose of this rule is so that the attorney puts the interest of his client first and not that of his referral source. The attorney in this matter had no client contact and was effectively representing American Family but drafting documents for another party. That is effecively a conflict of interest.
Another interesting point on this topic for you Bob. The CBA and Joyce Edelman alleged that American Family sold the "trusts", prepared them, and then gave them to the attorney just so he could sign off on them. Here's the testimony from the plan attorney again:
"As either Cindy or I are doing the interview process on the phone, as we are reaching decisions, conclusions, making notes, writing things down at the end of that discussion, we'll usually
talk with the client and say, well, it seems to me this is appropriate, or that's appropriate or here are your options, what do you think? And we try to see if we can reach some understanding with the client at that time about how we'll proceed."
Another question to you Bob, what is the plan attorney doing testfying about the consultations he had with American Family's clients (under oath and at risk of losing his license to practice law if he lies)? Joyce Edelman, the Supreme Court and the Columbus Bar Association all claim American Family sold the trust and prepared the documents on their own. If that is true, why the heck would the plan attorney be having consultations with clients? Wouldn't the attorney just skipped that part and waited for a living trust document to show up in his office? Something's not right here. Is evidence being covered up by numerous misrepresentative and wholly unsupported allegations? I think so!!
Insider Comments

Ladera Ranch, CA

#44 Oct 17, 2009
Petemn wrote:
Also, what's wrong with “part two” of the Norman’s business plan?? Selling large annuities with huge long-term surrender charges and high internal management fees to really old folks really rocks as a business strategy. If you are a Heritage Marketing rep that has been assigned to go to a “members” house so you can "help them" sign their trust documents, why not just kill two birds with one stone and further help by convincing that old guy and/or lady member that they should take lots of their hard earned money out of their low interest bank account and put it in your super safe fancy annuity? With hindsight, aren't some of those old people actually lucky? Because, they might have lost money if they had instead taken the money out of the bank and invested in that crazy stock market. That great secure annuity sold to them by that good looking fast talking trust-worthy Heritage Marketing sales rep. actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The sales rep just wanting to make an honest buck (well OK - admittedly it's a huge commission, but that's the American way!) in peddling that annuity. Just because Stanley and Jeffrey benefit big time by these huge commissions doesn't mean that those annuities aren't the greatest thing ever for those old people. I say, if you can get those poor sighted and confused old people to put their initials on the necessary forms, then no one should be able to question the "suitability" of your recommending that they invest a majority of their assets in those great great great super-duper annuities.
Yep, it's very clear that there must be a vast conspiracy of hundreds of blood sucking lawyers and corrupt judges in many states all around the country, all that are against the Normans and their success. Stanley and Jeffrey are just fun loving handsome guys who are only going after the "American Dream" of being really really rich. Driving fancy cars and living in multi-million dollars mansions paid with money honestly earned from poor elderly folks is so cool. I just feel horrible and upset that Jeffrey has to sell his 6 million dollar house to pay his own attorneys (definitely good guys and not blood sucking) who are working really long hours to help him fight against this great injustice.
The facts are that every Ohio senior that purchased an annuity from Heritage Marketing these last 11 years, have not lost a penny. All the annuities where principle guaranteed annuities - they could never go backwards. Heritage Marketing sold thousands of these annuities to Ohio seniors. Heritage Marketing sold almost one billion dollars of annuities in Ohio over the eleven years.

Guess what! Even with the worst ecomony in decades and many people losing half of their life savings, not one Heritage Marketing senior citizen client in Ohio lost anything. Read the "Happy Client" comment earlier. This client states not only have they not lost money like most people know - they've made money.

Because of Heritage Marketing, think of all the seniors that still have thier life savings; think of all their children that will actually inherit the money one day; think of all the grandchildren that will still get their college tuition because their grandma bought an annuity from Heritage Marketing.

I ask you Petemn - how many people in the world have you done wonderful things for. It appears Heritage Marketing and their sound financial recommendation to purchase guaranteed indexed annuities has done wonderful things for 10,000 Ohioans and their family members!

Let see you top that track record of success!!!
Enzyte Bob

Reynoldsburg, OH

#45 Oct 17, 2009
Insider Comments wrote:
<quoted text>
Let's clarify this. When selling a lawfully registered legal plan in the state of Ohio (as American Famiy was for 8 years), consumers are charged a "membership fee", not a legal fee. Therefore, fee splitting does not exist in transactions for membership fees.
You can review these rules on the American Prepaid Legal Services Institute (the ABA's affiliate) that provides regulations for the proper sale of legal plans. By the way, American Family was a long standing members of the association and followed its guidelines. Millions of Prepaid Legal Plans have been sold throughout the country, yet none of them have been accused of fee splitting with attorneys.
Come on, that's only a technicality. You can call a fee whatever you want, but the court looks at underlying substance of ANY transaction. The fact is that you were charging $2,000 and people were expecting to get a trust. That is the practice of law. Period. End of story.
Enzyte Bob

Reynoldsburg, OH

#46 Oct 17, 2009
Insider Comments wrote:
<quoted text>
Another interesting point on this topic for you Bob. The CBA and Joyce Edelman alleged that American Family sold the "trusts", prepared them, and then gave them to the attorney just so he could sign off on them. Here's the testimony from the plan attorney again:
"As either Cindy or I are doing the interview process on the phone, as we are reaching decisions, conclusions, making notes, writing things down at the end of that discussion, we'll usually
talk with the client and say, well, it seems to me this is appropriate, or that's appropriate or here are your options, what do you think? And we try to see if we can reach some understanding with the client at that time about how we'll proceed."
Another question to you Bob, what is the plan attorney doing testfying about the consultations he had with American Family's clients (under oath and at risk of losing his license to practice law if he lies)? Joyce Edelman, the Supreme Court and the Columbus Bar Association all claim American Family sold the trust and prepared the documents on their own. If that is true, why the heck would the plan attorney be having consultations with clients? Wouldn't the attorney just skipped that part and waited for a living trust document to show up in his office? Something's not right here. Is evidence being covered up by numerous misrepresentative and wholly unsupported allegations? I think so!!
You need a license to practice law.

A license is a privilege not a right.

The licensing authority has the right to tell you how, when, with who, and what your fee arrangements are going to be if you want to maintain your license.

There has been a long-standing prohibition against fee-splitting between lawyers and non-licensed parties.

Bottom line is: The Supreme Court has the right to determine how, when, with who you practice, and what your fee arrangements are going to be. They said they don't want non-licensed parties practicing law.

If you want to prepare trusts for people, get a law license.

Period. End of story.
Enzyte Bob

Reynoldsburg, OH

#47 Oct 17, 2009
Supreme Court of Ohio Slip Opinion No.2009-Ohio-5336:

http://rs6.net/tn.jsp...

Unanimous Supreme Court of Ohio Decision in Columbus Bar Assn. v. Am. Family Prepaid Legal Corp.

Dear Columbus Bar Members,

This week, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued
a unanimous decision and took a momentous step in the annals of consumer protection by permanently enjoining and heavily penalizing a massive trust mill operation that preyed upon vulnerable citizens – particularly seniors – in Ohio and other states. The Columbus Bar Association, through its Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, brought the case in 2002 and pursued it through federal and state courts in the intervening years. We are elated that the outcome has vindicated the action and are grateful to the members of the Columbus Bar's Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, Bar Counsel Bruce Campbell and especially Joyce Edelman and Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, LLP for their unwavering efforts over the last seven years. Below is a statement issued by the Columbus Bar yesterday and a link to the Supreme Court of Ohio Slip Opinion.

Press Release
October 14, 2009

The Columbus Bar Association announced today that the Supreme Court of Ohio, in a unanimous decision in Columbus Bar Assn. v. Am. Family Prepaid Legal Corp., Slip Opinion No. 2009-Ohio-5336, took a momentous step to protect Ohio’s citizens from illegal trust mills that prey upon seniors and other vulnerable individuals. American Family Prepaid Legal Corporation (“American Family”) and its various allied entities and associates – after being pursued by the Columbus Bar since 2002 – were found to have practiced law without a license and to have used scare tactics, misinformation and false promises to induce thousands of individuals in Ohio and other states to purchase living trust packages and other estate planning documents at inflated prices. Often these legal documents were not needed or legally appropriate, and did not fulfill the purposes of the people who purchased them. As a result, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a permanent injunction to shut down their operations and penalized them with heavy fines, including a $6,387,990 sanction against American Family and others.

The Columbus Bar Association, through its Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, brought the case against American Family in 2002, and pursued it through federal and state courts in the intervening years.“The Columbus Bar Association is committed to protecting Central Ohio’s citizens from unlawful schemes and enterprises, and we are thrilled that the Ohio Supreme Court has reaffirmed that such schemes are unacceptable and those tempted to profit by taking advantage of consumers through the unauthorized practice of law will be dealt with severely by the Court,” said Columbus Bar Association President Elizabeth Watters.“I want to thank Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, LLP and its team of skilled lawyers – especially Joyce Edelman – who selflessly assisted the Columbus Bar on a pro bono basis. Their hard work and support was reflected in this decision, and they did a masterful job in arguing the case to the Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on the Unauthorized Practice of Law and the Ohio Supreme Court. The case and the decision reflect the very best aspects of the law and the legal profession at work to benefit the public and protect it from the unprincipled and the greedy.”
shaggycsb

AOL

#48 Oct 21, 2009
Check the address of Insider Comments. Ladera, Ca is where the family that owns American Family/Heritage Marketing/Quest Financial lives. This "company" has lawsuits against them in 3 other states as well. Banned from Minnesota, Banned from North Carolina, two suits filed by State Attorney General in Pennsylvania. It's a trend, a pattern and a way of life for this company to mis-represent what they do to their clients.
CHUCKO

United States

#49 Oct 21, 2009
Where is perry Mason when we need him?
Informed In Texas

United States

#50 Oct 29, 2009
Insider Comments wrote:
American Family Denied Due Process
Corruption and Collusion Abound In the State Of Ohio
Tape Recording of Panel Chairman’s Ohio Violations
Unfortunately, this ruling by the Supreme Court is mired in collusion as evidenced by a tape recording of the three Panel Judges in this case against American Family. The three panel judges’ statements from the Board of the Unauthorized Practice of Law denying due process were tape-recorded during a pretrial conference.
The Chairman, James Irvin, was recorded stating,“I made a promise that when I leave this board, this case will be overâ
James Irvin, whom made this promise, was serving a term set to expire at the end of that year. It is clear that the only mechanism at the disposal of this board to conclude the matter as it was pending in front of the Board, by the conclusion of Chairman Irvin’s term, was to grant Summary Judgment, which the board did two months later on December 21st, 2008. This was at the tail end of the Chair’s term and as promised to the other board members by the Chair. In light of these facts, it is clear that Summary Judgment was granted against American Family Prepaid Legal Corporation by a biased judicial body whom clearly had a fixed anticipatory judgment thereby denying him Due Process.
Determination of judgment before a biased judge is fundamentally unfair and denies a litigant due process of law. Judicial bias has been described as,“a hostile feeling or spirit of ill will or undue friendship or favoritism toward one of the litigants or his attorney with the formation of a fixed anticipatory judgment on the part of the judge, as contradistinguished from an open state of mind which will be governed by the law and the facts.” State v Felder, 2006-Ohio-5332,¶ 29 quoting State v LaMar, 2002-Ohio-2128.
It is obvious that the board which granted summary judgment against American Family was clearly tainted by this bias and had formed a fixed anticipatory judgment regarding summary judgment at the time of the pretrial hearing, which took place prior to respondent having an opportunity to respond to Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment.
Further statements from the other panel judges were recorded:
* The board commented on the intelligence of Mr. Norman, stating that he “didn’t come across as being very smart”.
* Board Member Lynn Day admitted to “looking stuff up about them online” during the pretrial conference, which not only displays a lack of professionalism, but clearly evidences that the board was considering evidence outside of that which was properly submitted for their consideration in the matter.
* Panel Member Don Hunt stated that he had,“white knuckles from not speaking out” during the conference, which does not describe a neutral fact finder
* Finally, and most egregious, is the statement of the Board’s Chair, James Irvin, who declared,“I made a promise that when I leave this board, this case will be over” which Board Members Susan Miles and Don Hunt then concurred with. This is a clear indication that the board exhibited bias and had formed a fixed, anticipatory judgment in this case, especially when the proper context surrounding this statement is provided.
I FIND IT VERY INTERESTING THAT INSIDER COMMENTS LIVES IN LA DERA RANCH CALIFORNIA- THIS IS WHERE JEFFREY L NORMAN- PRESIDENT AND CO OWNER OF AMERICAN FAMILY PREPAID LEGAL AND HERITAGE MARKETING AND INSURANCE SERVICES LIVES. COINCIDENCE I THINK NOT. BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO USE YOUR OWN NAME JEFF!
Lawyers make me sick

Inglewood, CA

#51 Nov 2, 2009
The law has nothing to do with reality. Law has nothing to do with people who are satisfied, yet attorneys sell a judge that they are not. Having a bar card is a license to steal, plain and simple... show me an honest attorney and I'll show you a broke attorney. Jeff, if you can afford it, charge the hill brother!
Quest-MichelleNo rmanwife

Inglewood, CA

#52 Nov 2, 2009
Anyone with half a sense can use google to find anything on these clowns. In fact you can tour their house right now by calling a realtor in orange county. If it was your monther and you feel like she was taken advantage of, then do what you got to do. In all the states where Jeff and Stanley Norman are shut down in they operate as Quest and National association of family benefits plan and they are still making a killing, loving life, driving nice cars, raping and pilleging seniors and living in luxuary.
contentlottowinn er

Perris, CA

#53 Feb 4, 2012
weiss handler fan

United States

#54 Sep 8, 2012
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weiss handler fan

United States

#55 Sep 8, 2012
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