JACKSON — Attorney General Jim Hood is warning consumers to be aware of persons or organizations offering help in filing claims in the Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation involving the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“It has been brought to our attention that there are individuals/organizations who are holding meetings statewide and charging a fee to help black farmers file claims and participate in lawsuits when, in fact, the deadline to do so has long since passed,” said Hood. “We are looking into these allegations and what we can do about them, but feel the need to warn consumers to be wary.”
The federal courts gave final approval to the settlement on Oct. 27, 2011, providing over $1 billion to settle claims by African American farmers that the USDA discriminated against them between 1981 and 1996 based on race, wrongfully denying them farm loans, loan servicing, and other benefits, or giving them loans with unfair terms. The deadline to file a claim for the settlement was May 11, 2012, more than one year ago.
“Wherever there is money involved, we find scammers trying to steal it from those who most need it,” said Hood. “What a shame that we have to send out such a warning. You can never be too careful these days.”