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New York and federal authorities sued a legal funding company and its founder yesterday, alleging they lured former NFL players with brain injuries and 9/11 heroes struggling with cancer and respiratory illnesses into accepting costly advances on their settlements.

According to the lawsuit, RD Legal Funding contacted the 9/11 first responders and former players before they began receiving their settlement proceeds. Promising to “cut through red tape” and claiming it could get the victims’ money to them faster, RD Legal Funding allegedly then charged interest rates as high as 250 percent and high fees on the advances. As a result, the company collected millions of dollars from the victims, the Associated Press reported.

“The alleged actions by RD Legal — scamming 9/11 heroes and former NFL players struggling with severe injuries — are simply shameful,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

Sadly, many companies lure people awarded settlements into accepting immediate cash advancements. When they receive the settlement proceeds, however, the plaintiffs are left drowning in debt from the staggering interest rates and advanced fees.

Our recent launch of our nonprofit Bairs Foundation aims to serve the needs of families who exhaust during litigation, and whose underlying lawsuits have little to no risk or their case is already settled.

Depending on the outcome of these suits against RD legal funding, perhaps more scrutiny will be placed on the industry standards with a focus on consumer protection.

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