La company targeting veterans shut down for 'unfair and deceptive trade practices'
BATON ROUGE – Attorney General Jeff Landry announced Friday (Jan. 8), that a permanent injunction has been obtained against Louisiana-based company VetAttend Professional Services, LLC and its owners, John Sutton and Marc Quiroz, prohibiting them from committing unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Landry issued a statement regarding the matter, saying, “As a proud veteran and the State's chief legal officer, I will continue doing all that I can to protect our military community from being exploited.”
“Our veterans earned their benefits by putting their lives on the line for our freedoms; the least we can do is fight to defend them from unscrupulous schemes that violate our consumer protection laws.”
VetAttend operated a VA benefit consulting and management business without accreditation from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), as well as a home care business without a license from the State of Louisiana. VetAttend misrepresented to veterans, their spouses, and their family members that they were experts qualified to assist veterans with preparing and submitting their claims for benefits to the VA. In exchange for submitting veterans’ claims to the VA “free of charge” - VetAttend required veterans to sign three-year contracts to use VetAttend’s home care services, giving all or a portion of the veterans’ benefits to VetAttend.
Upon request by Attorney General Landry, a consent judgment filed in the 22nd Judicial District Court was signed in December. Under the terms of the judgment, VetAttend is prohibited from operating any business related to preparing and submitting claims for veterans’ benefits without accreditation from the VA; operating any business that provides home care services without a license from the State of Louisiana; and accessing veterans’ benefits or charging fees that are contingent on veterans’ receipts of benefits. Additionally, the order requires VetAttend to cancel all related contracts and payment authorizations currently in place.
Officials are encouraging consumers who engaged VetAttend for assistance with their VA claims for benefits to contact a VA accredited agent, VA recognized veteran service organization representative, or an accredited attorney for information about their benefit claims and their options for utilizing their benefits.
Information on accredited agents, veteran service organizations (VSOs), and attorneys can be found at www.va.gov/ogc/accreditation.asp. Consumers are also encouraged to contact the VA at 1-800-827-1000 to cancel any authorizations on file that may allow the VA to disclose their information to VetAttend and to update their mailing address to ensure they receive their funds and correspondences directly.
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