The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Wrongly Convicted, Then Ripped Off

Aug 29, 2022

A predatory financial scheme targets some of the most vulnerable people in the country: those who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.

More and more people are proven by legal watchdogs like the Innocence Project to have been sentenced based on false evidence or outright lies by police and prosecutors—around 160 each year nationwide.

After much agitation, many exonerated people are due to receive settlement money from the government that falsely imprisoned them. These settlements have totaled over 2.4 billion dollars in recent decades. But after being released, many have to wait months, even years before they get their money. Meanwhile, people face bills, often debts, and the next to impossible challenge of finding a job and paying for housing, transportation, health care—all the expenses of rebuilding a life after prison.

This is where the lawsuit loan or pre-settlement funding industry swoops in, like sharks smelling blood in the water. Banks, hedge funds, and private investors offer to advance people a portion of their settlement money right away, so they can pay bills and have money to live on. But when the settlement is finally paid, they have to repay the advance, plus interest that quickly adds up. Like with payday loans, a high rate of interest is charged every month. People end up having to pay interest on the interest. Add in all the fees: application fee, delivery fee, origination fee, processing fee, review fee, underwriting fee…. Often these schemes cost more than the worst credit cards. Some people have to pay back as much as the entire settlement, or more, even several times more!

The largely unregulated lawsuit-ending industry used to target people expecting personal injury lawsuit settlements. Now they also swindle innocent people who spent years in prison!

Any excuse to steal more from working class people is golden for the capitalist class. It’s past time to throw capitalism to the sharks!