March 14, 2017
By Barasch McGarry
Background: I blew the whistle to the New York Attorney General on a lender trying to scam disabled former NYPD Officer Elmer Santiago out a huge portion of the federal compensation award he was awaiting.
Officer Santiago was forced to retire due to severe lung disease caused by toxic exposure at the site. Left destitute, he lived out of his Jeep while his family stayed on a friend’s couch.
Our firm Barasch McGarry, secured an award for Mr. Santiago through the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). However, VCF rules required that he wait 18 months for payment. So, Santiago leveraged his award letter to obtain a loan from RD Legal, a lending company he found on-line. On his own, he took out a $355,000 loan at what he thought was a 19% interest rate. He bought a modest home in Florida, where the climate allowed him to breathe easier. When Officer Santiago finally received his award payment and sought to repay the loan, RD Legal told him that he owed them $500,000 above the original loan!
When Officer Santiago informed me of this money-grab, it set off alarm bells. I called the NYS Attorney General. The AG’s office investigated RD Legal and discovered that it had charged many other union members outrageous interest rates. The AG and the federal government sued the company for fraud. That’s when RD Legal sued me.
I will happily take whatever they throw at me if it means standing up for victims like Officer Santiago.
Our firm helps union members, and local residents/office workers diagnosed with any of 68 cancers/diseases caused by exposure to the WTC toxic dust. Please help spread the word that the deadline to file for compensation has been extended. $7.3 billion has been made available to people who got sick after hearing the EPA say “the air is safe.” More than $2 billion has already been awarded.
We help the 9/11 community apply for compensation. For more information, please call 646-893-4556 or visit www.wtclawyers.com.