Cuomo settles with H&R Block

John O'Brien Jan. 4, 2010, 4:56pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - H&R Block will refund at least $11.4 million to its customers as a result of a settlement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo announced the settlement Monday, resolving his lawsuit that alleged the company steered hundreds of thousands of customers into individual retirement accounts that were virtually guaranteed to lose money because of hidden fees and low interest rates.

H&R Block could pay up to $19.4 million. Eligible customers will be contacted by a court-appointed administrator.

"H&R Block's aggressive peddling of fee-laden retirement accounts that were virtually guaranteed to lose money needlessly cost families across the country millions of their hard-earned dollars," Cuomo said.

"This settlement will provide a measure of relief in these difficult times."

Cuomo said 85 percent of the 600,000 Express IRA accounts opened since 2000 caused customers to pay more in fees than they earned in interest.

Cuomo alleged the company did not adequately disclose its fees or warn that the interest paid would not cover fees in certain instances.

Still pending is a class action case in Missouri federal court. H&R Block is also paying $750,000 in fines, fees and costs to the State of New York.

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