Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced on Thursday that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a Final Order against Benefits U Earned LLC and its owner James E. Mack, formerly of Accokeek, for allegedly violating the Maryland Consumer Protection Act by illegally charging veterans for assistance with filing for benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Approximately 118 veterans have been found so far in the Consumer Protection Division’s inquiry into the allegations. It is estimated that the veterans are owed at least $73,075.
The Division alleges that payments were taken from veterans but no claims were made to the VA and no services were provided. The Final Order requires Mack and his company to immediately stop offering veterans services and pay a civil penalty of $325,800. They are also ordered to comply with all Maryland Consumer Protection laws and federal laws that regulate businesses offering services to veterans in claiming VA benefits.
Federal law protects veterans and requires that any person or business offering service to be accredited by the VA. Despite being denied this accreditation, Mack allegedly widely advertised the services of Benefits U Earned and also charged fees for services, which is prohibited by the VA.