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How Civil Recovery Was Born


by,

Frank Luciano – President of CDA

Prosecution, civil penalties, or alternative justice programs…no perfect choice for the retailer for combatting the shoplifting problem. Each option is beneficial in allowing the retailer to recover some losses, affect some recidivism and deter some theft.

Prosecution was once the best alternative as a deterrent, but in today’s world, the court systems are overburdened and the retailer is fortunate if they can get police response on petty crimes. If the wrongdoer receives a criminal sentence, they go into a system that does little or nothing for recidivism. The first offender may get a community service judgement and if completed within the proportioned time limit, may have their record expunged. We all know the prison system is in need of reform, and if the court does order restitution, the likelihood of it being paid is not guaranteed since many courts do not pursue or follow up on missed payments, or defaulted accounts, etc.

What are the best avenues to take for petty theft and larceny-related crimes? There is probably a mix, but what is that mix? Retailers are in the business to make money. As much as we take it personally when someone steals from us, at the end of the day, it’s not up to the loss prevention team to affect punishment. It’s up to the loss prevention team to protect the assets of the company, which means protecting profits. Successful loss prevention professionals follow this mantra and strive to strike the right balance that deters and responds to theft in a way that does not expose the retailer to negative publicity, legal issues and expense. However, just like a police force, it is beneficial to create a sense of community within their retail markets by utilizing alternative justice and civil recovery programs as these show compassion and at the same time, good business sense.

Even though there are limitations within these programs such as, the identification of “first” offender through alternative programs can only be identified if they have not been successfully prosecuted or they have not been apprehended by the same retailer. Due to privacy laws, minors are not vetted completely and may make it through the program due to the inability to identify their prior offenses. Al Capone was arrested 11 times before the courts were able to prosecute him. Al would have been eligible for alternative justice programs as a “first offender” had those programs been available in the early 1900’s. This may be a slight exaggeration but for those of us who have been in the business of apprehending shoplifters, the shoplifter will undoubtedly say, “But, it’s my first time”. We silently reply in our minds, “…yeah, first time for getting caught!”. That being said, there is definitely a benefit to provide a well thought out program with parameters that will qualify some first offenders and rule out others. Certainly, we don’t want first offenders who are working with ORC operators to be offered such a program but without certain parameters, they will. Figuring out those parameters is key, but very tricky. While these programs seem to work well for those who can afford to pay the program fee, it may deter others who could benefit as well, simply because they can’t afford it and are not sure whether there is payment flexibility.

Studies are unclear as to whether any of these programs are more effective than the other as it relates to recidivism, mostly due to other variables that have to do with loss prevention programs and criteria set to direct shoplifters into each program. These statistics vary and data is not equally measured but the answer lies somewhere between these programs and having a solid “Loss Prevention or Asset Protection” program.

Developing great customer service among the sales staff, increasing employee awareness, enforcing defensive merchandise placement strategies creating metrics to identify areas of opportunities, and then applying technology such as cameras, alarms, E.A.S, etc., to bring those areas of concern back into line, are undoubtedly the first steps. Hiring the “best of the best” in this field to collaborate on ideas and best practices while addressing overt behavior such as internal theft, shoplifting, fraud, and other crimes while understanding and defining the legal acumens that today’s loss prevention staff have to deal with day to day, are the second step. All of these efforts have one thing in common. They all add expense and do not directly promote sales. As a result, LP budgets face constant flux and challenge. While none of this information is necessarily new, it presents the opportunity to review the necessity of a good civil recovery program to be able to help fund loss prevention efforts and represent the retailer’s brand in the best possible way.

Civil Recovery was originally implemented by California and local governments to allow libraries to recover monetary penalty from delinquent borrowers of books. When retailers discovered theses statutes, they began lobbying for similar statutes to be written to address theft. Today, most states have a civil recovery statute for the theft of merchandise. Several states have taken it a step further to include cash theft for dishonest employees. Although these statutes don’t change often, when they do, it is usually to define statute amounts that are “reasonable” along with guidelines designed to create a due diligence by the retailer and their civil recovery solution provider to follow through with pursuing defaulted cases in civil court or small claims court. Utilizing these programs properly and creating consequences for the thief, may ultimately be the final and perhaps best step toward affecting recidivism and hopefully recovering enough funds to help supplement loss prevention programs as truly intended. When these funds are not applied for this expressed purpose, we are shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot! Creating risk adverse practices, improved client communication, and holding your service providers in these categories accountable are just another key to a comprehensive loss prevention program.

CDA Globe

Ethics Matter: Maintaining a Positive Moral Compass


by,

Frank Luciano – President of CDA

Maintaining a positive moral compass in the current business world requires one to understand their position in the sea of rough waves and calm oceans. Knowing how the business world works is one step in navigating your company in the right direction, the ethical direction.

Today, services and products are presented to the decision-maker in a sizzling fashion, absent the steak. For example, if a company makes the impression that their service or product is innovative or a game-changing, but it already existed, then the truth will come out eventually.
Many people in business today compromise their morals for the sake of the bottom line. After spending the past 27 years in the same arena I can honestly say I have seen businesses and ideas come and go. The ones with a future will never make a promise they can’t keep or portray something as truth when they know it isn’t. In other words, honesty, the ethical choice, matters.

When a business identifies a need, and builds excitement surrounding their solution, the business should be truthful in explaining the readiness and timeliness of the solution, instead of putting it out there to disappoint clients for the sake of early profits. If the product or service is going to supply a solution, have the conviction to build it and “they will come.” If you are not an innovator and only an imitator have the strength to make it better or less expensive; not just say you can perform simply to keep a competitor at bay. Having the power to maintain integrity reflects on the bottom line when it matters because clients will stay with you or come back to you. The ethical choice is never the wrong choice because longevity should be the ultimate goal.

Those with tenure in the industry will tell you the only way to build lasting relationships is to be truthful, above the temptation to be unethical. This is of course if one is looking for a career, and not just a job.

CDA Globe

The Art of Listening

by,

Frank Luciano – President of CDA

There are a plethora of books, publications and commentary about what skills and attributes are necessary to be an impactful leader in business, as well as in life. However, where those may focus on what to say, how to act, or ways to create change, a primary feature of a great leader is the willingness and ability to listen. Not just biding time during a conversation, thinking about what you want to say and pretending to listen until you get a chance to speak, but focusing on what is actually being said and what it might mean to that person.
When I first started out at Civil Demand Associates I brought with me this unique skill set which I continue to use today. Knowing ones product/ service is only a portion of this art. Knowing the needs of your client is probably more important and in order to determine needs one needs to ask pertinent questions and listen attentively. Once the answer is heard a solution can be either developed or provided.

As a solution provider it is our job to try and develop products and services based on the vision provided by our clients. Not by reaction but by a combination of experience, vision and a overall ability to see the need for an entire industry. From there development should be tested by early adaptors who have the same vision.
Delivery promises should not be over stated. Never say you can deliver when you can’t. It would be better to build it first because you will usually only get one shot to come up with a game changer. It is also important not to oversell. Once a decision maker has been persuaded have the sense to stop selling at that point. This could be categorized as knowing when to be silent and move on. All of this is a part of the art of listening.

Civil Demand Associates was founded in 1987 on some of these very principles. Retailers were struggling to send demand letters and tracking payments manually. Fifteen states had civil recovery laws most of which were in the west. CDA was established as a way to outsource this valuable revenue stream as well as a way to help provide a financial deterrent. CDA was the first company to develop software and business logic designed to handle thousands of files, payments and reporting.

In the years to follow clients brought other types of theft cases for collection. Dishonest employee restitution collections, court ordered restitution and vendor fraud to mention a few. All these have added to CDA’s offering so that a well-rounded service with no initial investment is now available on a contingency basis.
In 2010 CDA brought forth a new concept to combat major organized retail crime by using federal civil RICO statutes to seize assets of those at the top of these illegal enterprises.
As you can see it all comes down to listening to the needs of the industry and developing means to help loss prevention practitioners bring back lost profits to the bottom line.

CDA Globe

Expanded Executive Team Fosters CDA Growth Through Client Service Offerings

Lauren Pedro to Lead Civil Demand Associate, Inc. New York Office

New York, NY (February 3, 2016) Civil Demand Associates, Inc. is proud to announce the hiring of seasoned veteran, Lauren Pedro to lead the organization’s New York office as the firm’s east coast Marketing and Inside Sales Manager.

Ms. Pedro comes to CDA with close to a decade of retail loss prevention experience and has been integral in auditing retail clients for operational compliance, developing recommendations, and authoring policies and procedures within the consulting department she managed. In her previous role as a Sr. Client Services Manager, Ms. Pedro mastered numerous business units and worked closely with clients to customize, advise, and adapt customized solutions to create better efficiencies.  “Communication is the key; and, my goal is to always communicate early and often.”

Ms. Pedro will join CDA’s leadership in the further development of programs and solutions to reach new clients, bringing the company’s dedicated focus and stellar reputation in civil recovery practices and collection services to a wider audience. CDA, a pioneer in its industry, was formed in 1987 to help retailers effectively and affordably recover loss from theft while helping to deter shoplifting and employee dishonesty. The company has continued to pave the way and achieve numerous milestones in the industry. CDA was the first to specialize in retail theft cases, accept electronic transmission, offer online case management, offer automated court restitution collections and demand point.

“BP Fisher Law Group, LLP acquired CDA based on its strong reputation in the civil recovery industry,” said Matthew Browndorf, founder and chairman of Plutos Sama, parent company of BP Fisher Law Group, LLP and its subsidiary CDA. “Our ability to strengthen Civil Demand Associates through shared resources and by applying our legal and compliance expertise poises this company for tremendous growth.”

As a subsidiary of BP Law Group, LLP, CDA will now have the network and power to fulfill its industry demands. In addition to an extended team of attorneys and legal professionals, CDA will have access to a call center and a more cost-effective ability to achieve compliance standards critical the loss prevention industry.
About Civil Demand Associates, Inc.: Formed in 1987, Civil Demand Associates is the nation’s oldest, most established civil recovery firm. As a pioneer and first in the field of civil demand and restitution, the company has achieved numerous industry milestones. CDA was the first to specialize in retail theft cases, accept electronic transmission, offer online case management, offer automated court restitution collections and demand point. In addition, they are the first to offer civil collections on vendor fraud and employee procurement, collections on external cases, court ordered restitution, promissory note collection(s) on dishonest employee cases, and automated the letter generation process. In February 2015, CDA became part of Irvine, Calif.-based BP Fisher Law Group, LLP as a wholly owned subsidiary. For more information, visit civildemand.com or first-legal.com. To learn more about CDA’s parent company Plutos Sama, LLC and to see its corporate portfolio, visit plutossama.com.

CDA Globe

BP Law Group Network Continues to Grow with Purchase of East Coast Fisher Law Group, PLLC

IRVINE, Calif. – June 24, 2015 – Plutos Sama, LLC announced today that it has completed the acquisition of The Fisher Law Group, PLLC, a default law firm practicing in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Plutos Sama is a vertically integrated holding company, providing its clients with the legal resources needed to develop across a variety of sectors, asset classes and regions around the globe. Included among its holdings are BP Law Group, LLP, a creditors’ rights law firm with a network of offices throughout the country, and Wilson & Associates, PLLC, a foreclosure law firm primarily serving Arkansas and Tennessee. The acquisition further solidifies Plutos Sama’s representation in more than 18 states and jurisdictions with a focus on performing and nonperforming loans.

“The addition of The Fisher Law Group to the Plutos Sama portfolio will result in an increase of projected revenue from $54 million to $64 million on a consolidated basis, and positions our company for further growth in the distressed asset market,” said Plutos Sama’s founder and chairman Matthew Browndorf.  “The acquisition of The Fisher Law Group will augment the comprehensive legal service offerings to our clients on a national scale. Plutos Sama’s success is derived from a strategic model which delivers new revenue streams based on the company’s entrepreneurial leadership, vertically integrated portfolio companies and shared resources among its portfolio of companies.”

During the next quarter, Plutos Sama plans to merge The Fisher Law Group into BP Law Group, LLP under the name BP Fisher Law Group, LLP. The combined entity will conduct or manage residential foreclosure and bankruptcy matters in 18 states and the District of Columbia.

New Leadership Team to Tap into Expansive Expertise of Fisher Law Group

Jeffrey Fisher, founder of The Fisher Law Group, will remain with the firm and serve as the executive vice president of business development of the combined entities.  The Fisher Law Group, founded in 1998, by Fisher is an “AV” rated law firm and concentrates its practice in representing banks and mortgage loan servicers respecting foreclosure and related default services.

“When I met Matt, I was immediately impressed with his vision and drive,” said Fisher. “I am happy to allow him to grow our firm to the next level following my years of stewardship. We have identified core competencies that are complementary which will make the whole greater than the sum of the parts for the future BP Fisher Law, LLP.”

Martin Goldberg, who has been with The Fisher Law Group for eighteen years, will serve as lead attorney of the Maryland office. He will manage and oversee the operations of FLG, working closely with the operations team in Irvine, Calif.  The law firm’s subsidiary title company, FLG Title LLC, will be included in this transaction at such time as appropriate licenses are issued and agency contracts are executed.

CDA Globe

Civil Demand Associates, Inc. Announces Janice McCort Vice President of Business Development

IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE) – Civil Demand Associates, Inc. (CDA), today announced the appointment of Janice McCort as vice president of business development. McCort brings decades of experience in retail loss prevention to the nation’s oldest, most established civil recovery firm. The announcement comes on the heels of CDA’s recent acquisition by Irvine, California-based BP Law Group, LLP in February 2015. By expanding CDA’s executive leadership and, now with access to BP Law Group’s extensive network and resources, CDA will expand its reach in the retail sector and enhance solutions and services for its clients.

A seasoned loss prevention professional, McCort brings a respected background in civil recovery and retail executive management to the company. She has held high-level positions within multiple May Department Store divisions including: Hecht’s, O’Neil’s, May-Ohio, May-CA and Robinson’s-May. Most recently, she served as a loss prevention and risk management consultant for specialty retailers and independent retail contractors. Prior to that, McCort spent five years heading up business development for a civil recovery firm.

“Civil Demand Associates is honored to bring Janice McCort on board,” said Frank Luciano, CDA’s president and chief executive officer. “With more than 30 years of experience in loss prevention, Janice’s proven knowledge and demonstrated ability to foster client-partners closely aligns with CDA’s vision of expanding its reach and offering of superior services to an even broader segment of retailers in need of support and expertise in civil recovery matters.”

Expanded Executive Team Fosters CDA Growth, Client Service Offerings

McCort will join CDA’s leadership in the further development of programs and solutions to reach new clients, bringing the company’s dedicated focus and stellar reputation in civil recovery practices and collection services to a wider audience. CDA, a pioneer in its industry, was formed in 1987 to help retailers effectively and affordably recover loss from theft while helping to deter shoplifting and employee dishonesty. The company has continued to pave the way and achieve numerous milestones in the industry. CDA was the first to specialize in retail theft cases, accept electronic transmission, offer online case management, offer automated court restitution collections and demand point.

“BP Law Group, LLP acquired CDA based on its strong reputation in the civil recovery industry,” said Matthew Browndorf, founder and chairman of Plutos Sama, parent company of BP Law Group, LLP and its subsidiary CDA. “Our ability to strengthen Civil Demand Associates through shared resources, applying our legal and compliance expertise poises this company for tremendous growth.”

As a subsidiary of BP Law Group, LLP, CDA will now have the network and power to fulfill its industry demands. In addition to an extended team of attorneys and legal professionals, CDA will have access to a call center and a more cost-effective ability to achieve compliance standards critical the loss prevention industry.

About Civil Demand Associates, Inc.: Formed in 1987, Civil Demand Associates is the nation’s oldest, most established civil recovery firm. As a pioneer and first in the field of civil demand and restitution, the company has achieved numerous industry milestones. CDA was the first to specialize in retail theft cases, accept electronic transmission, offer online case management, offer automated court restitution collections and demand point. In addition, they are the first to offer civil collections on vendor fraud and employee procurement, collections on external cases, court ordered restitution, promissory note collection(s) on dishonest employee cases, and automated the letter generation process. In February 2015, CDA became part of Irvine, Calif.-based BP Law Group, LLP as a wholly owned subsidiary. For more information, visit www.civildemand.net or www.bplawgroup.com. To learn more about CDA’s parent company Plutos Sama, LLC and to see its corporate portfolio, visit: http://www.plutossama.com/.

CDA Globe

BP Law Group Acquires Civil Demand Associates, Inc.

Civil Demand Associates, Inc., the oldest established civil recovery firm, is acquired by BP Law Group, LLP to foster growth in loss mitigation.

(Irvine, California – February 12, 2015)  On February 10, 2015, BP Law Group, LLP acquired Civil Demand Associates, Inc. (“CDA”), founded in 1987, the oldest, established civil recovery company. CDA, a pioneer in its industry, was formed to service the retail loss prevention community’s growing concerns about deterring shoplifting and employee dishonesty.

Over the past 26 years CDA has grown to establish itself as the premier loss prevention recovery agency, providing excellence in the fields of Civil Demand & Restitution. CDA’s mission is to provide outstanding service to its clients in civil recovery; ensure their service is responsive, accurate, and ethical; to enable the industry partnerships to assist clients in managing their loss prevention and recovery programs; foster a great working environment, create technologies that make their services more efficient and accessible; and most of all, to put clients first. CDA’s philosophy is to anticipate their clients’ needs in the retail loss prevention community and to prepare to facilitate change and to effectively communicate any changes or updates in civil collection laws and challenges.

CDA was attained in an acquisition with BP Law Group, LLP. BP Law Group, LLP, founded in 2012 with its flagship office in Irvine, California, is an integral part of its parent company, Pluto Sama, LLC.  BP Law Group, LLP is a nationwide law firm dedicated to the liquidation of asset backed loans, nonperforming commercial and residential loans, mortgages and deeds of trust, and other real estate finance instruments. BP Law Group, LLP clients are owners of large portfolios of distressed commercial and residential real estate, who sought a one-stop solution to liquidate and monetize their portfolios. One of BP Law Group, LLP’s largest clients is its affiliate asset management company, Distressed Capital Management, LLC. BP Law Group, LLP shares the U.S. domestic Pluto Sama office network with 20 offices in the United States and is able to collect debt in over 46 U.S. States. BP Law Group, LLP holds a state-of-the-art 33 seat call center to institute and maintain loss litigation strategies with commercial and residential property owners and will use this call center to support CDA activities.

CDA, as a pioneer and first in its field, has paved the way for many milestones in its industry. CDA has been the first to specialize in retail theft cases,  accept electronic transmission,   offer online case management,  offer automated court restitution collections and  “on the spot demand.” In addition, they are the first to offer civil collections on vendor fraud and employee procurement,    collections on external cases,   court ordered restitution, promissory note collection(s) on dishonest employee cases, and   automated the letter generation process.

Matthew Browndorf, Chairman of Pluto Sama, LLC, communicated, “The compliance standard required from companies like CDA is impossible to achieve without allowing for economies of scale. The CDA/BP Law Group merger will result in clients feeling confident in our compliance standard by allowing to spread compliance costs across several companies.”

The new CDA will continue to operate as before with Frank Luciano at the helm, CDA’s current President/Chief Executive Officer, in CDA’s new location in Irvine, California. CDA, now a part of BP Law Group, LLP’s network can use BP Law Group, LLP’s resources to foster aggressive growth and expansion in its industry. CDA fit exactly in line with what BP Law Group, LLP is doing and together with BP Law Group, LLP, CDA can grow expediently.

Prior to this merger CDA had the knowledge and client demand. Now, with the merger and acquisition of CDA with BP Law Group, LLP, CDA will have the network and power to fulfill its industry demands. CDA, now a wholly owned subsidiary of BP Law Group, LLP, will continue to serve the community with collection services, but the offering will be expanded.

“We are extremely excited about our new partnership with BP Law. Because of their dedication to offering better solution to civil collections, together the retail client can expect a wider range of options,” says Frank Luciano, President of the new CDA.

With the added resources of BP Law Group, LLP and its network dedicated to the recovery process CDA clients can expect a higher rate of return while experiencing lower rate charges. For existing CDA clients the new approach will be contained in a video, which if they have not already seen they will soon.

“CDA has a strong reputation in the industry for high quality service, making it an excellent fit with BP Law Group, LLP.  We are confident that the additional resources provided by the team of attorneys and legal professionals within BP Law Group and its network partners will strengthen and enhance CDA as we continue to build one of the leading collection companies” says Daniel Singer, Managing Partner of BP Law Group.

The industry should see real change very soon as things move more toward a focus solely on collections.

For further information about CDA please contact Frank Luciano at 818-787-9979 or by email at frank@civildemand.net.

For further information about BP Law Group, LLP please visit: http://bplawgroup.com/. To learn more about Pluto Sama, LLC and to see Pluto Sama, LLC’s complete portfolio, please visit: http://plutossama.com/.

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LATEST NEWS

  • CDA GlobeHow Civil Recovery Was BornNovember 2, 2016 - 1:19 PM

    by, Frank Luciano – President of CDA   Prosecution, civil penalties, or alternative justice programs…no perfect choice for the retailer for combatting the shoplifting problem. Each option is beneficial in allowing the retailer to recover some losses, affect some recidivism and deter some theft. Prosecution was once the best alternative as a deterrent, but in […]

  • CDA GlobeEthics Matter: Maintaining a Positive Moral CompassNovember 2, 2016 - 1:13 PM

    by, Frank Luciano – President of CDA   Maintaining a positive moral compass in the current business world requires one to understand their position in the sea of rough waves and calm oceans. Knowing how the business world works is one step in navigating your company in the right direction, the ethical direction. Today, services […]

  • CDA GlobeThe Art of ListeningJune 9, 2016 - 3:40 PM
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