Deanna Nelson is the Assistant Attorney General in charge (AAGIC) of a two-person regional office in Watertown, N.Y. The office is located close to the 10th Mountain (Light Infantry) Division at Fort Drum. In addition to her numerous duties as the AAGIC of the Watertown office - representing state agencies, overseeing charitable organizations, affirmative litigation and other matters - Deanna has taken it upon herself to fight for young military personnel who are away from home for the first time and all too often fall victim to a bewildering array of sophisticated, private equity funded consumer scams. This fight has led to several nationally recognized settlements on behalf of servicemembers and their families.
The effort to protect military personnel from consumer frauds continues. On March 22, AG Schneiderman, joined by members of the NY AG Consumer Protection Division, announced yet another settlement in what is obviously a nationwide scam. Freedom Stores Inc., a chain of electronics and furniture stores catering to military personnel, agreed to settle claims for illegal debt collection practices against servicemembers in New York. In 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, along with North Carolina and Virginia, reached a settlement with Freedom Stores for the same abusive practices.
The fact is that protecting our dedicated servicemembers requires a large-scale, coordinated effort between federal and state law enforcement officials. Let's hope that the CFPB can continue to work with AG's all over the country to protect our military personnel from consumer fraud.
- Press Release, New York Attorney General's Office, A.G. Schneiderman Announces $540K Settlement With Retailer For Defrauding Over 250 Soldiers In NYS (March 22, 2017).
- See, Charley Hannagan, NY Attorney General: Store that cheated soldiers agrees to wipe out their debts, Syracuse.com (March 22, 2017).
- See, Press Release, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB and States Take Action Against Freedom Stores for Illegal Debt Collection Practices Against Servicemembers (Dec. 18, 2014).