Will Cantor Fitzgerald take advantage of brain damaged NFL players who settled that concussion lawsuit?

Are Wall Street investment banks Cowen & Co., Cantor Fitzgerald, and Jefferies taking advantage of sick retired NFL players who settled that $1 billion concussion lawsuit by offering pennies on the dollar to them...because they need cash now...or by helping others to offer pennies on the dollar to them...because they need cash now...? The NY Post investigates:

At least three major Wall Street investment banks in the last few months have quietly moved, both directly and indirectly, to buy up a small number of claims filed by former players related to the NFL’s nearly $1 billion concussion settlement fund, sources said.

The banks, whose involvement hasn’t been previously reported, have both bought up settlement claims for as low as 50 cents on the dollar, as well as explored financing the purchase of claims made by others, two sources briefed on the deals said.

The three investment banks that had waded into the NFL concussion claims business, according to sources, are Cowen & Co., Cantor Fitzgerald, and Jefferies.

Brokers on the banks’ distressed debt desks are said to be the ones interested in investing in the settlements, according to the sources, who have been briefed on or are involved in the deals.

“It’s unregulated; you can make decent returns,” one source said.

The three banks are the highest-profile companies said to be involved in the concussion settlements.

The others — small, lesser-known entities with names like Crunch Cash, Prime Cash Funding, and MultifundingUSA.com — have gotten heat for their actions.

Cowen has bought an unknown number of claims directly from players, but stopped about six months ago, according to one source.

The claims, which can range up to $1 million or more and bought for as little as 50 cents on the dollar, gives the bank the right to receive the full amount of the settlement whenever it comes through.

The Cowen deals stopped around May, just about the time The Post first reported that scammers had been targeting as much as 10 percent of the more than 20,000 former NFL players who are suffering from brain damage. Jefferies and Cantor Fitzgerald appear to have been exploring lending money to companies looking to buy claims, a source said. Interest rates for the funding could range from 10 to 22 percent, the source said.

“They want to make an investment, and part of the investment is timing. You want to know when the f— you get your money back.” a source said.

Lynda Caravello, a spokeswoman for Cowen, didn’t return multiple e-mails and a phone call seeking comment. Richard Khaleel, a spokesman for Jefferies, said it was “categorically false” that the bank had explored the financing. He later asked that his statement not get printed — adding that The Post was “screwing” him.

A Cantor spokeswoman said “there’s absolutely nobody committing any kind of capital” to profit off the settlements — but didn’t deny that brokers had reached out to facilitate this business.

“If a salesperson’s out there talking or something, you can’t stop somebody from talking, but there has never been anything presented to enable anyone to do this kind of business,” Karen Laureano-Rikardsen, the bank’s spokeswoman, told The Post.

Hey, sometimes you just need cash now. Even at 20%.

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