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Two Consumer Protection Project Students Protect Elderly Client from Fraud


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The elderly are the most common victims of financial frauds and scams. Often, by the time they realize they’ve been fleeced it’s too late to do anything about it.
Not so for a Prince George’s County woman who had the good fortune to have her case taken up by The Columbus School of Law’s Consumer Protection Project.
Third-year law students Talon Hurst and Emily Whelden (above) recently secured a nearly $50,000 judgment on behalf of their elderly client, who had been duped into purchasing and financing a car on behalf of a friend. 
The client was befriended by the defendant, a nurse, who had cared for the client’s terminally ill sister. The defendant nurse ingratiated herself into the client’s life over the course of a year, before tricking her into buying and financing a car for her sole benefit. 
Once the client realized what had happened, the nurse refused to return the car and kept it for more than a year; all while making no payments and racking up dozens of speed and red-light camera tickets. 
Hurst and Weldon worked on the case for several semesters. Their hard work paid off when the case came to a close after a proceeding in the Prince Georges County Circuit Court of Maryland.  
After a proof hearing, the judge awarded the client nearly $25,000 in compensatory damages and nearly $25,000 in punitive damages.
“This case is a perfect example of the dual role of our Consumer Protection Clinic,” said Paul Kurth, director of the Consumer Protection Project at Catholic University’s law school. “It affords our students vital real life experience in case management, and just as important, it provides a legal avenue for redress to people who might otherwise have nowhere else to turn.”
The Consumer Protection Project is continuing to work with the client to enforce the judgment.