02 May

The Fraud of PrePaid Legal, Explained By a Former US Attorney

PrePaid Legal boasts their “legal services plan.” The truth is that very few legal services are ever provided under the plan. If you have a criminal case, contrary to what you’ve been told, the plan is useless. You are told that you have something like 60 to 300 hours of “free” legal services.

The truth is that those hours are for trial only. All the legal maneuvering up until then? You get 2.5 hours. That’s next to nothing. You will need hours of services before the trial that you will pay dearly for.

16 thoughts on “The Fraud of PrePaid Legal, Explained By a Former US Attorney

  1. Gotta love those PPD investors. The stock is up on the release of the report. Although for people who follow MLM, this company’s misrepresentations are nothing new. I remember first hearing about PPD back when Escala blew up (ah, the good old days …).

  2. Wow. I have a friend who used to use and sell Prepaid legal. He really enjoyed its benefits and the security that it brought him. I don’t know if he ever new about it the 2.5 hour pretrial hour cap. Interesting in deed.

  3. The interview with the lawyer is interesting in that he was behind a class action suite where he stood to make a large percentage of that 9 million dollars. Money is only bad when it’s the other guy who is making it.

    As a PPL member I have received dozens of hours of FREE service from my provider attorney. My husband closed a partnership and opened another, attending multiple meetings with the lawyers and his out of pocket cost was a mere $600. 85% of the usage of our 1.6 million clients is in the area of our plan that is free with the membership including consultation, research, letters written on behalf of the client, contracts reviewed and wills done for the member and the member’s spouse. The lawyers have gone to court for me at no cost to me, they have saved me hundreds of dollars on real estate closings and they would, if it was necessary, answer an emergency call for me in the middle of the night. It is wonderful peace of mind and I am proud to say that I have not only used the service but have shared it with hundreds of others who have equally glowing remarks to make. Do I earn money for doing that work – yes! And as a former college professor I will proudly tell you that it would have taken 40 years working just as hard to earn what Pre-Paid Legal has paid me in 10 years. Not only does Mr. Stonecipher want to make access to the legal system affordable for every citizen, he also wants to give us all an opportunity to earn as much money as we are willing to work for.

    It isn’t just class action lawyers who get to earn in the millions – we do as well. Get educated about the service before jumping to conclusions based on biased and very inadequate information. Find out why the former attorney general from the state of Mississippi as well as three other attorney generals, the former president of the American Bar Association, the current president of the US Chamber of Commerce, and many others believe that this is the ONLY way that Americans can truly have EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW.

  4. Lorna – I’ve done hours of research about PrePaid Legal, so I am very educated about the company and the bogus product they sell. Are you suggesting that because the attorney is part of a lawsuit, he is wrong? That because he is making a living providing legal services, his conclusions are flawed? I’ll suggest to you that rather, he has found a fraud, and has decided to pursue that fraud in his professional capacity. I, too, make a living off finding fraud. It’s called a career and a job, and the way of the world is that people like me get paid to provide their expertise.

  5. I was an attorney for over 30 years before I retired to market Pre-Paid Legal plans. The reason I went to law school was so I could hang out my shingle and represent the person walking down the street. Even back then I realized the inequities of the legal system- the top 10% could afford a lawyer, the bottom 10% had access to legal aid or the public defender, but the 80% of us regular people had very limited access to the legal system without spending an arm and a leg.

    I was very happy to find Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. because I felt that the prepaid legal plans it offered went a long way to easing the legal burden on the 80%. Of course, none of the plans are perfect just like medical plans or insurance plans do not cover everything. However, for what most of us in the 80% deal with on a daily basis as legal issues, the PPL plans are excellent.

    Personally, when dealing with the Court representation portion of the plan, I am very careful to explain the difference between actual court time and pre-court time. That is why I always recommend the $25 plan because it includes 17.5 hours of pre-trial services (not 2.5 as you misstated- that is for the $16.00 plan). In my 30+ years of experience as an attorney, with the exception of major cases, a large portion of cases that end up in trial could have easily been settled within 17.5 hours of pre-trial time.

    You mention that you get “very little services”. In reality, you get an incredible amount of services, but as I said, you do not get everything. No legal plan can provide you with full coverage and this is a “life events plan”, to cover the things that come up all the time in every day life, not one time events such as a DUI, or divorce, and the plans are not representated as covering such issues. (In fact, if you ever came to a business overview presentation, those services are always specifically mentioned as being excluded). But even if you need a lawyer for such things as a criminal charge or divorce, you get those services for a 25% discount. If you were going to pay for an attorney anyway, wouldn’t you rather pay 25% less than you would normally have to pay?

    I love marketing the plans and have many happy customers. Although it is not my main focus, I do have a small team of people who work the business part-time, and everyone of them love what they are doing as well. But they and I recognize that this is a business and must be treated as such. I believe that it will take at least 5 years to have built a solid foundation where I will be living very comfortably from a combination of my commissions and team overrides.

    Most of the people who complain about PPL are people who went into the business portion of it thinking they were going to make a million dollars in a short time and with very little work. By putting very little down, and very little into making the business work, no wonder they thought the product was bad and failed to look into the mirror at their own actions. I would hazard a guess that, if you interviewed the people providing the majority of the bad press about the business, that the time they spent in the business would be relatively limited.

    Imagine if they, instead of paying $99.00 to get their own PPL business, had invested in a McDonald’s franchise at a million plus dollars. Do you think that they would have quit after a few months saying it doesn’t work? No, they would have been in there day after day, working their buns off for years to become successful. Building a business with PPL is no different. Just because it costs less to get in does not make the business any less worth while. I personally would rather offer someone affordable access to the law than a greasy hamburger any day!

    It is interesting that Brad Piggot is an former Mississippi US Attorney and is one of the attorney’s bringing suit (as a private attorney) against PPL. On the other side, a strong support of PPL is Michael Moore, the former Mississippi Attorney General, also the person who won the largest jury verdict in the world against the tobacco company. Therefore, you are going to find supporters and detractors of any large business. I happen to like the fact that Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, is also a strong supporter of PPL along with the President of the US Chamber of Commerce and the former President of the American Bar Association. You would think that the President of the ABA would be able to smell a rat if PPL was as bad as you portray it.

    I realize that this comment will not change your mind since you have spent “hours of research” and are therefore “educated about the company and the bogus product they sell”. Rather, I offer it as someone who has worked in the legal system for over 30 years, and been involved with PPL as a company for a couple of years and so know a bit about the company and the legal system.

  6. Candace – Robert Kiyosaki is a joke. Seriously. You shouldn’t quote him as feather in the cap of PPL. But you left a law career for a pyramid scheme. That really tells me all I need to know. Happy recruiting!

  7. Look people, I’ll sum it all up nicely for everyone: PPL is absolutely a scam and a company that preys on the desperate, weak-minded among us in order to recruit new “associates”. I don’t know what enrages me more, the nonsensical, ineffectual, worthless service they hawk or the sick, Jim Jones-like cultish methods they use to recruit suckers to plunk down their hard-earned cash to market something that most people will never buy. I hope and pray that more people will use their God-given common sense and open their eyes to this joke of a company and the con artists they employ to swindle working people’s hard-earned cash. Please people, do some research on this illegal pyramid scam and the mentally ill desperate fools who participate in it.

  8. In California as in other states, PPL markets the expanded plan for $26. That plan includes 17.5 hours instead of the 2.5 hours of pre-trial hours in the standard plan.

  9. Tracy,
    It is obvious that you are determined to find PPL and other legitimate companies so called “frauds” and will continue to preach your flawed opinion as fact. It leads me to believe that somewhere some person or company must have screwed you over pretty badly. One usually finds your level of vitriol in an ex smoker. You refuse to take the words of both an attorney with 30 years of practice experience and a professor who makes more from PPL per year, than you ever will from your poorly written leaflet on fraud. You Madam, are the worst type of fraud. You are unwilling to be intellectually honest with your readers and simply spout vitriolic, misinformed half-truths that you’re so called “hours of research” have uncovered. If it were as you say, those who have spent their lifetimes creating impeccable reputations would not sacrifice those reputations on something that is so easily found by so-called experts as yourself, to be anything other that what they profess to be. Enjoy your J.O.B.! The other crabs will always need to be pulled back into the box. Have a wonderful day and smile! Oh yes, I believe there is an ideology for dealing with those such as yourself, No matter how hard you try, you just can’t fix stupid! Enjoy

  10. Hi Rick – Thanks for your insightful comments. You seem offended by the fact that I investigate and write about fraud? You may have noticed (or not?) that the title of this blog is “Fraud Files,” which is descriptive of the content here.

    I’ve never said that someone in PPL can’t make money. I’m not sure what you think it proves by pointing out that someone in the company does make a lot of money.

    I’d be happy to take a look at any “half-truths” you say I’ve printed about Pre-Paid Legal. Let’s take a look at them! I certainly don’t want to print anything but the truth here. All you have to do is follow these simple ground rules:

    1. Point out exactly what I’ve said. Exact quote required.
    2. Link to the page where I said it, and tell us approximately where the quote is on the page.
    3. State what the “truth” is about my statement.
    4. Link to actual proof of that “truth.”

    Follow these simple rules, and we’ll have an interesting conversation about the facts.

  11. Tracy,

    I’ll say this, the information that has been presented throughout the conversation is liable but lets take a look at history. Lets look at major corporations such as Microsoft, Apple, McDonalds or anything else, when they began don’t you think there was someone like you, or someone like Len Clements in the background,who uses his “credibility” to make an impact on people?

    Lets look at lawsuits today, how many times has Microsoft been sued? How about Apple, or Sony? Does a litigation make a company a scam? If so lets go ahead a try to wipe out the accredited Microsoft now and see how well that goes…

    One thing everyone needs to understand is there will always be someone out there that wants to fight, wants to prove something to be a scam, says it doesn’t work or it’s a pyramid.

    By the way for those of you who have a JOB, PPL isn’t your employer!

    If you didn’t catch on let me explain, the definition of a pyramid scheme as most know is a system that is put in place that positions one individual at the top who makes all the money and the money dwindles as you get deeper.
    Look at it conceptually, 9 times out of ten your not the CEO, your not on the Board of Directors, and your most likely not a little ant who works in the corporate headquarters.. So where the hell are you?

    Oh, your at the bottom waking up every morning to walk into your job and work for pennies, while everything you do makes the CEO’s paycheck, and guess what he went golfing for the day and never saw an office or a suit.

    So now lets decipher a pyramid in terms of the amount of money made and how far you can get…

    Your JOB = CEO + Board Of Directors + Employees(or runts that take up less than 5% of the CEO’s earnings)

    PPL = CEO + Associates( who some have surpassed the CEO’s income)

    Hmmm… hard to classify that as a pyramid, let me know when any of you either become CEO of the company you work for or surpass your CEO’s income. I’ll be surprised if you live to see it, maybe you’ll have a dream. I’m sure that’s the closest you’ll get.

    Another point to be made, the US Government has implemented law that will not allow a “pyramid” company keep ground for over 30 years, amazingly enough PPL has been established for 36 years and counting.

    The pyramidal statements have been address but there’s one thing I find very faulty in your “fraud” investigation considering you (with your hours of research) and Len Clements have stated PPL only offers 2.5 pre-trail hours. A couple of points…

    1. 2.5 pre-trail hours are offered to people who choose the standard family plan ($16/month).

    2. This is only for the first year, this number increases year after year.

    What has failed to be mentioned on your part and Len Clements part is the Expanded plan which offers 17.5 pre-trail hours in the first year and increases year after year up to 5 years. By disregarding this factor it automatically kills your claim.

    This would be equivalent to you saying Microsoft Vista is a scam because it doesn’t of data loss prevention. But yet failing to explain that you are speaking of Vista Home Basic, and that feature is available in Vista Ultimate.

    Again your claims make you seem like a “fraud” expert but to be honest your a poser, your the nat by the fruit bowl that just wont go away. That’s fine I like people like you, it’s people like you that keep American people enslaved in the mindsets that Americans have been programed to have for over 60 years. There’s a small few that break away, obviously your not one of them.

    There’s one difference between slaves today and slaves in the 1800’s…

    In the 1800’s slaves were given shelter and some food.

    Today slaves are given small amounts of money and have been renamed as employees.
    By the way good luck getting your retirement(401K), those days are over. Let me know how greeting people at Wal-Mart feels in 40 years. Great Career choice right?

    Again there will always be people who want to shoot a cause down, find flaws and deny it. Insurance went through it, and all major corporations went through it. If you choose to sit back and not open your eyes to new opportunities and stay enslaved that’s your choice. But you are part of the group that in 20 years will be poor. The middle class will be outlawed in years to come. You have a choice so make one, but don’t look back and regret it. Life is too short not to take advantage of what sits in front of you.

    He said she said will only take you so far, stop worrying about what others are doing a take charge of your life, make your own decisions on your instinct and prosper!

  12. I think one simply has to question…. where is the money coming from? How are you really making your money in PPL? It seems like the company is pushing a very aggressive sales tactic in recruiting more associates rather than actually selling the product of legal services.

    So.. those top millionaires, where does their money come from? Is most of it from actually selling the product of legal services? Or are they simply taking a cut of the next associate’s membership fee?

    Let’s make it simple:

    $150 to sign up, $36 a month to continue using the product of legal services.

    However, recruit a new associate and you get a $30 cut from that person’s $150. If they recruit people under them, you get a cut from that $150 as well, but maybe not as much. You also get a cut of the people under them and it all trickles back up to you. That’s why the name of the game is to find as many people as you can sucker into believing that they can have their own business for a mere $150!

    But what is that business? The business is not actually selling the product of legal services at $36 a month, but at recruiting other associates at $150. So that tells me that your “financial freedom” or success within PPL has been based on selling empty hopes and dreams to each of those people who made $150.

    Here’s a basic question. For each millionaire in PPL, how many people in their downline even made $5000? What’s the percentage of people who even made back their initial $150 investment? Are you telling me that ALL of these people were gung-ho and willing to start their own business but were then just too lazy to follow the formula? But what is that formula? The formula is to convince your friends and family that they can achieve the same success by giving you and the company $150 and telling each of their friends and family to give $150 as well.

    I mean, if the product of legal services were really that great, it should be able to sell itself, right? Instead, Pre-Paid legal services uses this “pyramid scheme” to make their money by selling memberships.

    Just because they’re on the NYSE doesn’t mean that they’re incapable of fraud. I could tell you about a few of the financial giants who were bailed out by taxpayers and just used that money to continue and line their own pockets. Does anyone remember, “too big to fail?” Yeah, those crooks are also on the NYSE and many people continue to bank with the big Four.

    If you have been successful in the Pre-Paid Legal associate program, let me simply ask you how many people of your downline have not been able to recoup their initial investment? Do you really think they gave you $150 without thinking they’d become rich or at least be able to make something back? Doesn’t that mean that you’ve become successful and made your money through the broken hopes and dreams of others?

    (yes, please remember that PPL also charges for *training* sessions and this should be included in the total cost, not to mention time and travel expenses. Here is a company which is making the “entrepreneur” carry the costs of marketing in addition to finding their own sales leads.)

  13. Your comments betray the immediate bias you have against the company. Attacking the reputation of sources and the reputation of the poster seems to be your only way of fighting back. You missed your calling in life; it wasn’t fraud finding, it was a celebrity columnists.
    -Suck it

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