What’s Fitz-Gerald’s “Big Tobacco Must Pay” Teaser all about?

Can you really "claim a portion of the historic $206 billion tobacco settlement?"

Originally published on May 30, 2017

Keith Fitz-Gerald is out with a new ad for his Money Map Report that promises you can “claim” payments from big tobacco — and, naturally, Gumshoe readers are curious… is there really some way that normal folks like you and I can “collect thousands of dollars a month, tax-free, from Master Settlement Payments?”

Well, sort of. But probably not the way you’re thinking. Let’s look at the details and get you some answers…

As with most ads of this sort, the pitch is that this money is sitting there just waiting to be claimed… all you have to do is get your name on the list!

The money comes from the Master Settlement Agreement that the big tobacco companies signed with all the state Attorneys General about 20 years ago, settling all the lawsuits states had filed to both restrict tobacco advertising and to recoup tobacco-related health care costs.

Here’s a little taste of the ad:

“This Master Settlement Agreement has no end date. Big Tobacco is legally obligated to pay out this cash forever.

“In fact, we estimate they’ve been paying out about $686 million a month…

“And it may surprise you to learn that you could personally claim a tax-free portion of this settlement!

“Every month a check made out for $2,300 could arrive in your mailbox…

“Even if you’ve never smoked…”

There’s a lot of stuff in the ad to fire up anger about the big tobacco companies and their practices, from ridiculous advertising about the health benefits of smoking to suppressed research and aggressive lobbying… all of which sets up a straw man that makes you angry, and makes it easier to believe that there’s some way that makes sense for you to deserve and receive some kind of “free money.” More from the ad:

“Big Tobacco destroyed countless lives.

“Their actions placed an undue burden on our healthcare system…

“And they got away with it for too long….

“The Master Settlement Agreement dictates Big Tobacco distribute cash to 46 states and five U.S. territories forever.

“And thanks to a special clause in this deal, Americans have the chance to claim 100% tax-free income from it….

“This money is even guaranteed and backed by the government.”

And more language about how this is something you “claim” and “receive” … nothing about you ever having to do anything other than make a phone call or fill out a form online in order to “begin receiving” the payments.

“At this very moment, government offices in cities and towns across the country are receiving this cash.

“It’s being held in escrow accounts, waiting to be claimed.

“But what most people don’t realize is that even if you weren’t a direct victim of Big Tobacco’s misdeeds…. you can still get a portion of this settlement cash…

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And I want to help you do just that.”

And now big are these payments? Fitz-Gerald cites several different examples of indiiduals who have been collecting big from tobacco at $3,300, $5