Monday, April 16, 2012

Call Now for Free Money - A Representative Sample

I was riding my bicycle in Ventura County, CA, the other day (those of you who know me know that I'm a complete kook when it comes to riding my bicycle - there is nothing I can think of that is a better use of my time!) when these signs posted along the roads that front agricultural fields caught my eye.

My spanish isn't too good but fortunately I have the assistance of Google Translate. So if I get the translation incorrect please don't castigate me publicly.

Here's what this sign says based on my Google translation skills:
"Call for free medical!
"Legal Central International
"Free consultation!
"You'll receive $4,000 monthly disability"

Then of course the phone number. 

I want $4,000 a month! And free medical!!

So I called the phone number (on a Sunday though) and got a recording, mostly in Spanish, but there was an English follow up recording, "Welcome to Legal Central. If you have a case with us press one, if not please stay on the line." Something was apparently wrong with the phone system because then it hung up, but I got an call back from 619-309-4461. I was away from the phone and no message was left. Likely an automated call back system.

I did some Internet snooping.

According to Corporation Wiki, "Centro Legal Internacional, Inc. has a location in Chula Vista, CA. Active officers include Carlos Arguello. Centro Legal Internacional, Inc. filed its Articles of Incorporation on Saturday, January 01, 2005 in the state of California and is currently active. Tania Arguello serves as the registered agent for this organization.The company's line of business includes Legal Services Office."

Associated businesses include Arguello Enterprises Incorporated, United California Medical Dynamics, Inc. and High Voltage Advertising LLC. None of these entities have web sites.

I checked the California State Bar website for attorneys with the name "Arguello" - there were eight with one listing that seemed close: Arguello, Carlos Active 157162 San Diego December 1991.

I don't know if this is the same guy - the listing shows current employment with the Office of the US Attorneys office in San Diego on Front Street.

I'm not saying that anything illegal is going on here. And perhaps this is a valid service that helps mono-lingual hispanic workers access benefits that they may not otherwise avail themselves in the event of an injury.

But if that is the case, then why the seeming promise of $4,000 monthly disability? Why the claim of free medical? What's the catch??

I don't know ... this all just seems to be wrong and representative of a part of what ills workers' compensation: promises of free medical care, free income, free legal advise...

Some have opined in the past in LinkedIn responses to my blog posts that attorneys are a big problem in workers' compensation. I have defended attorneys as a necessary part of the dispute resolution process inherent in work comp.

I can't defend this practice though.


  1. This may also violate our(lawyer's) rules on advertising. In Missouri and Illinois, lawyers are prohibited from gauranteeing a result. I know California is probably a little more flexible, but it would appear to be a violation. I would report this to the California bar and have them investigate.

  2. Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your posts. convert money