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Law and Order: Mortgage Victims Unit (Starring Fred Thompson)

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posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 12:53 PM
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motherjones.com


For six years, former presidential hopeful Fred Thompson played Arthur Branch, the gruff, straight-shooting district attorney in the television series Law and Order. Thompson's character had an unflinching commitment to the letter of the law. The same can't be said for a firm that Thompson has been pitching for lately in TV ads: a mortgage company that's landed in hot water in a half-dozen states for allegedly preying on elderly Americans and, in some cases, violating state law.

This spring, Thompson, a jowly ex-GOP senator from Tennessee, signed on to serve as the national spokesman for American Advisors Group (AAG). In an ad for the company, Thompson stands in front of a charming white house with an American flag flying out front and sings the praises of a lesser-known mortgage product called a reverse mortgage: "Join hundreds of thousands of other Americans who have used a reverse mortgage as a safe, effective financial tool," he implores viewers.

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In my experience I can say my widowed mother looked into a reverse mortgage when she was in need of money. Fortunately, my brothers went with her when the mortgage company representative "pitched" the scheme to her, a scheme in which she would receive a very small monthly payment in exchange for giving the entire house to the bank upon her death. My brothers pointed out that she would be getting very little in exchange for her much more valuable property. This may work out ok for those elderly people who have no heirs to leave their houses to, but it is still a colossal scam. In most cases they would be better off to just sell their houses.

There should be some sort of agreement made by nationally recognized actors who play honorable and admirable characters to not use the fame of themselves and their tv shows to sell products to the public, particularly products that are harmful to the viewers.

I know Andy Griffith (some of you are probably too young to remember the Andy Griffith Show, a long-running program which featured Andy as the venerable sheriff of Mayberry) used his fame and his name recognition to campaign for a candidate for governor in our state. The candidate did win the election, and I actually voted for her, but I do see an attempt to connect the much-loved tv show to a particular candidate in a way that I do not wholly agree with.




[edit on 7-7-2010 by Sestias]




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