Jason S. Miyares
Attorney General of Virginia


For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
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Herring's  Consumer Protection Section has recovered approximately $120 million in debt relief and compensation in cases involving members of the military community ~

RICHMOND – As part of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Mark R. Herring is encouraging Virginia veterans and military families to familiarize themselves with the special consumer protections in state and federal law that may protect them and their families from fraud, scams, predatory lending, and abusive business practices. Veterans and military families are often targeted by scammers and unscrupulous businesses because they have consistent income and can often be called away from home for long periods of time. Attorney General Herringhas made the needs of veterans and military families a priority for his Consumer Protection Section, which has recovered approximately $120 million in debt relief and compensation in cases involving members of the military community.


"Virginia is home to one of the largest veteran and military populations in the country. Veterans, servicemembers, and their families have sacrificed so much for our Commonwealth and our country and they deserve to be protected from bad actors who would try and abuse, exploit or scam them,” said Attorney General Herring. "My team and I will continue to work hard to crack down on shady businesses and scammers who prey on military families and veterans just to line their own pockets.”


As part of his focus on veterans and military families, Attorney General Herring launched the "Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide,” a comprehensive guide to help veterans and military families understand their employment rights, consumer protection resources, educational and tax rights and benefits, voting rights and more. The Guide is available at every Department of Veterans Services Benefits Office, every Virginia Community College System Campus, the military assistance provider at every four year college and university, and online at www.VaMilGuide.com.


Attorney General Herring has taken major action to protect veterans and military servicemembers from exploitation. In 2018, he called on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and then-Acting Director Mick Mulvaney to continue protecting military servicemembers against predatory lenders under the Military Lending Act. The federal Military Lending Act provides consumer credit protections to servicemembers and certain members of their families including:

  • 36% interest rate cap on loans.
  • A limit on fees and a requirement for written and verbal disclosure of all fees associated with the loan.
  • A ban on mandatory arbitration, the waiving of legal rights, and prepayment penalties.


Attorney General Herring secured more than $50 million in debt relief and civil penalties as a result of his lawsuit against Future Income Payments for making illegal, high-interest loans to more than 1,000 Virginia veterans and retirees in violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act


He and his team also won the largest multistate settlement ever led by Virginia against USA Discounters, resulting in approximately $100 million in debt relief and compensation for veterans and military families, including $27.4 million for thousands of Virginia consumers, who were abused by the retailer's lending and debt collection practices. The USA Discounters settlement followed a similar action against Freedom Furniture that secured millions in relief for veterans and military families who were victims of illegal debt collection tactics.


Attorney General Herring encourages veterans and military families to familiarize themselves with the following consumer protections, which are discussed in more detail in "Chapter 2: Protections for You as a Consumer” in the Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide.”


The Service Members Civil Relief Act includes the following key protections:

  • Limits on Interest Rates.
  • Limits on Sale, Foreclosure and Seizure of Mortgaged Real Estate.
  • Restrictions on Repossession.
  • Protection from Immediate Eviction.
  • Termination of Some Contracts due to Relocation.
  • Protection Against Default Judgment.


Virginia law prohibits payday lenders and motor vehicle title lenders from issuing loans to military servicemembers, their spouses, or children.


The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act regulates the conduct of debt collectors including:

  • Limits on contacting people other than the borrower, including a servicemember's chain of command or employer.
  • Limiting collections contact to reasonable hours and locations.


Attorney General Herring has also made it a priority to identify and shut down deceptive charities that use veterans and military families in order to take advantage of kind-hearted Virginians.


Earlier this year, Attorney General Herring secured a settlement with Healing Heroes Network, Inc., a Florida-based deceptive veterans' charity, and its former directors, Stacey Spiegel, Allan Spiegel, and Neal Spiegel, resolving allegations of deceptive sweepstakes mailers and telephone solicitations to help wounded veterans. Under the terms of the settlement, Healing Heroes Network, Inc. and the related organization Hero Giveaways, LLC to permanently cease all charitable solicitations to help wounded veterans, and the Spiegels have agreed to pay $95,000 to be provided to a veterans' charity whose mission matches the representations made by the charity. The Spiegels are banned for five years from overseeing, managing, or soliciting charitable contributions for any nonprofit organization.


Last year, Attorney General Herring shut down Center for American Homeless Veterans, Inc. and Circle of Friends for American Veterans for misusing more than $13 million that was supposed to go towards homeless veterans. The two Virginia-based organizations plus their founder Brian Hampton raised funds across the country through telemarketers ostensibly to provide education and assistance for homeless veterans, but a majority of which actually went towards paying telemarketers and the salaries of the founder and staff. Attorney General Herring secured a settlement that shut down the organization, permanently barred Brian Hampton from soliciting charitable contributions and holding a fiduciary position with any charitable organization, and required the organization to distribute $100,000 to charities that provide real assistance to homeless veterans including Virginia Supportive Housing in Richmond, the Bob Woodruff Family Foundation, and Homes for our Troops.


Additionally, Attorney General Herring led a multistate coalition in shutting down Hearts 2 Heroes, a deceptive organization that misused funds that were supposed to benefit servicemembers and made door-to-door sales of "care packages” ostensibly to be sent to the servicemembers overseas. The shutdown came as part of a settlement with Hearts 2 Heroes that followed a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Herring as part of "Operation Donate with Honor”, a nationwide sweep to crackdown on fraudulent charities that exploit the name of America's veteran community to solicit donations.


Virginians who have a question, concern, or complaint about a consumer matter should contact Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section:


Since 2014, Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $356 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. The Section has also transferred more than $59 million to the Commonwealth's General Fund. Following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016, the OAG's Consumer Protection Section has been even more effective in fighting for the rights of Virginians.


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