Widespread Deceptive Practices May Reduce Payouts in N.F.L. Concussion Settlement

The federal Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and the New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, have sued a New Jersey-based financial company, RD Legal Funding L.L.C., accusing it of deceiving retired N.F.L. players and “luring them into costly advances on settlement payouts with lies about the terms of the deals.”

In July, Brody gave Seeger permission to compel the lenders and law firms to turn over information about how they sought to sign up players. In all, Seeger pursued documents and information from 36 people or companies, though some firms did not cooperate.

Seeger and a partner, TerriAnne Benedetto, detailed a litany of questionable practices, including charging players thousands of dollars in fees for loans with 50 percent interest rates; lenders paying fees to brokers for referrals; and former players being paid fees to convince those who qualify for the settlement to sign agreements with lawyers and lenders, some of whom promised to introduce the ex-players to doctors who could help them get larger amounts in the settlement.

Benedetto provided several examples, including a player who received $10,000 from a lender but will have to pay back $17,310 from his settlement payout in one year. Another received $312,000 from a lender but will have to pay back $568,000 once he receives his settlement.

Benedetto also mentioned Joe Pisarcik, a former quarterback for the Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles who once led the N.F.L. Alumni Association and had access to a database of retired players. Pisarcik received $200,000 from two law firms that wanted to use his name to help sign up former players.

She said Pisarcik was also offered bonuses of up to $75,000 for every 25 players with diagnoses covered under the settlement that he referred to the law firms.

Benedetto said that Pisarcik provided emails that showed that he tried to stop the lawyers from sending a deliberately misleading pitch letter with his name on it to former players. The law firms represented 92 former players before they retained Pisarcik, then signed up an additional 241 clients after he became a consultant to the firms.

Benedetto said that some lenders had refused requests for documents.

To date, 1,200 claims from former players or their representatives have been filed, out of about 20,000 players who are eligible to file claims.

More than $130 million in claims have been approved so far, mostly for players who had previously…

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