AG Gansler Charges Company, Owner For Bilking Veterans
Business illegally sold services to veterans seeking help with benefits claims
Many victims live in Montgomery, Prince George's counties, Northern Va.
Baltimore, MD (February 10, 2014) -Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has charged James E. Mack and his company, Benefits U Earned, LLC, with violating the Maryland Consumer Protection Act by illegally offering to assist veterans with claims for veterans' benefits and charging veterans for services that lawfully should be provided for free.
"The very least we can do to give thanks to those who have served their country is ensure they are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous vendors," said Attorney General Gansler. "These services are provided free of charge to military servicemembers and should be performed by qualified and trustworthy businesses and individuals.
Federal law requires that persons who assist veterans in preparing, presenting and prosecuting claims for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA") be accredited by the VA. Federal law also prohibits charging fees for assistance with filing claims. The Division alleges that Mack and his company were not accredited by the VA to provide the services that they offered and sold to veterans and that they illegally charged veterans as much as $1,500 for those services. The Division is seeking injunctive relief, civil penalties and costs, and restitution of the unlawful fees that Mack and Benefits U Earned, LLC charged consumers.
A hearing on the Statement of Charges is scheduled for March 25 at the Office of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road, Hunt Valley, MD 21031. Consumers with complaints against Mack or Benefits U Earned, LLC, may call the Consumer Protection Division at 410-576-6569; write to 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202; or file a complaint online at http://www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/complaint.htm.
Attorney General Gansler urges veterans and their families to visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' website for more information about assistance with applying for benefits, including how to find accredited agents, attorneys, and veterans service organizations in their area.