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Attorney general warns against scam

NATCHEZ — Attorney General Jim Hood warns consumers to be aware of those offering help to file claims in the Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation involving the United States 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,” Hood said. “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 Oct. 27, 2011, providing more than $1 billion to settle claims by black farmers the USDA discriminated against between 1981 and 1996 based on race, wrongfully denying them farm loans, loan servicing and other benefits, or giving them loans with unfair terms, Hood said.

The deadline to file a claim for the settlement was May 11, 2012.

Those who feel they may have fallen victim to the scam can call 601-359-4230 or 800-281-4418. Residents can also fill out a complaint at agjimhood.com.