Wednesday, October 14, 2009
According to multiple sources, the Supreme Court of Ohio reprimanded two companies for unauthorized practice of law thisWednesday. The following is a summary of information taken from multiple articles discussing the decision.
- American Family Prepaid Legal Corporation, and Heritage Marketing and Insurance Services, Inc., purportedly targeted thousands of senior citizens in Ohio.
- The Columbus Bar Association accused the companies of operating a "trust mill" between 2003 and 2005.
- The companies persuaded, or pressured, the elderly Ohio citizens to forego a will and instead purchase a living trust from the companies.
- The companies charged approximately $2,000 for their services.
- In exchange for the fee, the companies offered assistance in a number of legal fields.
- The Ohio Supreme Court found that most members received only living trust documents, although the companies did provide some other related estate planning instruments.
- The court found that the companies committed over 3,800 acts of unauthorized practice of law.
- The court imposed almost $6.4 million in fines against the companies and their co-owners, Jeffrey and Stanley Norman.
- Additionally, the companies and the co-owners are forever barred from offering similar services in Ohio.
See AP, $6.4M fine in Ohio for illegal practice of law, Oct. 14, 2009; Martha Neil, Court Fines 2 Cos. $6.4M for Unauthorized Law Practice, Bans Them From State, ABA Journal, Oct. 14, 2009; James Nash, Companies that duped thousands of Ohio senior citizens fined $6.4 million, Columbia Dispatch, Oct. 14, 2009.