I’m usually calm, well-controlled, and stable. Every once in awhile I hit the RED ZONE. Today happens to be one of those days. My message will boil down to this: THINK, PEOPLE, THINK!
Part of serving as a victim advocate and general fraud information source is the intake process. That’s where I learn what’s new, what’s evolving, and how the past and present will surely affect the future. It’s all those little pieces of incoming information that combine to turn the 1,000 piece puzzle into an actual picture.
Three cases in today’s in-box threw me over the top and into that crimson place. Susan and Sarah. While entirely different in type and circumstances, they indeed share a commonality. Judge for yourself.
Susan: Diagnosed with MS a week before her 40th birthday, and spiraling downward while doctors kept running “one more test,” spent the majority of her time in bed; unable to muster the strength to walk more than ten feet. Although a talented and degreed graphic artist, her fingers were numb, her eyes would not focus and she was wrapped in a blanket wearing a wool hat in an 80-degree room. TV was her companion — along with a first exposure to repetitive mind-numbing ADVERTISING. Within weeks of her diagnosis, she called Bleeder &Feeder to represent her slam dunk SS Disability case.
Sarah: Married to Martin, a widower with one child from his first marriage, led a happy life with him for 20+ years. Martin, a long-term investor, was financially comfortable (as in million$), and he’d assured Sarah and close friends that she had no reason to worry. Without warning, the nightmare of pancreatic cancer took him out in three weeks from diagnosis to death. His will turned out to be two decades old and it left 95% of his estate to his only son. Sarah had only enough “community” money to hire an attorney to see her through the probate process. There aren’t many job openings for 75-year-old princesses.
So what’s the commonality?
Bleeder &Greeder, Susan’s case handler, receives a percentage of her settlement when the case closes. From that day forward, they are effectively out of a job. Why hurry along the settlement? Every day/month/year that B&G can draw out the process is a pay day and they buy more advertising.
Nobody EXPECTS bad things to result from what LOOKS LIKE good intentions. But they do — over and over.
And the Trustee appointed to safeguard Martin’s estate … gets paid only until the case settles. It’s in his interest to take as long as he can. So what if Sarah bleeds? (Martin, while a brilliant investor, never learned the difference between the ultimate costs of probating a will and establishing a family trust.)
Think, people, think. “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.” I realize that this week is more questions than answers, however my space-stingy Editor, Matt Ward, limits me to 500 words.
Next week I’ll try to throw in some answers!
Drop by the Pahrump Valley Times offices, 2160 E. Calvada Blvd., for a copy of Leslie Kim’s latest book “123 Main Street … the Scamming of America.” Only $19.95 while supplies last.