ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN SUES VETERANS’ ASSOCATION FOR LURING VETS AND THEIR FAMILIES INTO PENSION BENEFITS SCAM
Madigan Alleges Association Misrepresented Financial Eligibility Requirements for VA Pension Program and Benefits
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against the Association for Wartime Veterans (AAWV) and Atlantis Marketing Solutions Inc., (AMS), as well as AAWV’s owner and president and the company’s regional director for steering veterans and their families into costly insurance products they did not need.
Pension benefits scams prey on veterans by targeting the financial assistance offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans (VA), which provides pension benefits to financially disadvantaged wartime veterans over age 65 and their survivors.
Madigan’s lawsuit, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, alleges that since 2009 AAWV and AMS, both located in Shelby Township, Michigan, sent “professional members” across Illinois to make pitches to veterans and widows at assisted living facilities about applying to the VA for various pension program benefits. In addition to not being accredited by the VA as required by federal law, the so-called professional members were actually salespeople peddling annuities and other insurance products. Madigan alleges AAWV’s actual purpose was to generate leads to funnel to AMS or related organizations in order to sell annuities.
“Unfortunately, too many veterans and their widows are the targets of scammers who make false promises but big profits promising to provide financial security to veterans’ families,” Madigan said. “I will continue to stop these despicable scammers from taking advantage of people who have sacrificed to serve our country.”
Madigan’s complaint alleges that AAWV and AMS have violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act by:
Madigan encourages Illinois veterans and their families to be mindful of the following warning signs of a scam:
AAWV and AMS have attracted the attention of other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the VA, Minnesota’s Commisioner of Commerce, and Hillsborough County, Florida. Generally, such conduct has also received scrutiny from the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging and the Government Accountability Office.
Madigan’s lawsuit seeks to ban AAWV from using deceptive or unfair tactics to advertise, market and sell its products to Illinois consumers. It also seeks to rescind all contracts between AAVW and Illinois consumers, asks for full restitution to all impacted consumers and seeks a civil penalty of $50,000. If the court finds AAWV and AMS acted with the intent to defraud, it can require the companies to pay a civil penalty of $50,000 per violation, as well as an additional civil penalty of $10,000 for each violation against a person 65 years of age or older.
For more information about the pension benefits scam or to learn more about Madigan’s Military and Veterans’ Rights Bureau, please visit her website or contact her Military and Veterans’ Rights Hotline at 1-800-382-3000.
Veterans can also gather more information from the following resources:
Chicago Bureau Chief Grant Swinger and Assistant Attorney General Andrew Dougherty are handling the case for Madigan’s Military & Veterans’ Rights Bureau.