‘Condo Takeover Schemes’ – The New Foreclosure Threat?

October 20, 2014 Posted by kingcade

In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, condo takeover tactics have emerged. Here’s how it works- Real estate investors buy up foreclosed condo units in a building, then take control of the building’s condo association, which allows them to set condo fees at whatever level they choose. By inflating these fees beyond what the occupants can afford many longtime condo owners are at risk of being priced out of their homes.

Condo owners in a Reading, Pennsylvania, subdivision were pushed out of their homes after a real estate development company bought up foreclosed units in the complex and then took control of the association. Using a Pennsylvania law, the investor then dissolved the condo association, allowing it to place the nearly 100 units in the complex for sale. The attorney who represented many of these condo owners told NBC that the developer offered the remaining owners buyouts valued at just one third of their mortgages. Finding that they are suddenly underwater, many of the owners lost their homes.

Housing experts say the practice fits with a broader trend of investors buying foreclosed properties, then hiking up rents and other fees, sometimes evicting longtime residents, usually renters, out of their homes.

Click here to read more on this story.
http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/in-plain-sight/condo-takeover-schemes-can-pose-new-foreclosure-threat-n215316

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:
http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/in-plain-sight/condo-takeover-schemes-can-pose-new-foreclosure-threat-n215316

Financial Planners warn about “prepaying” Student Loan Debt over Retirement Savings

October 14, 2014 Posted by kingcade

National student loan debt has been increasing at a rapid pace over the past two decades. The total now tops $1.2 trillion, surpassing auto and credit card debt. It’s hampered many young people’s ability to purchase a home and even keep current on monthly bills.

However, financial planners are warning borrowers to not be in such a hurry to pay off this debt. In fact, young borrowers could wind up being poorer if they accelerate student loan debt repayment over saving for retirement.

Here’s why: Retirement contributions typically offer tax breaks, company matches and future compounding that are worth far more than the interest saved by accelerated loan repayment. Many young borrowers focus on the now, putting retirement savings on the back burner, which can be a costly mistake.

A $1,000 contribution made at age 25 would typically be worth $20,000 or more at retirement age, while the same contribution would be worth about $10,000 when made at age 35, assuming 8 percent average annual returns. Even if participants do not achieve 8 percent, which is the historical stock market average for periods over 30 years, the math still holds: contributions made earlier return dramatically more.

Thanks to compounding, contributions made when workers are in their 20s can be worth twice as contributions made later. That’s because the money has longer to grow.

A recent TransUnion study of “credit active” consumers — people with at least one credit account or loan — found that 51 percent of those aged 20 to 29 have student loan debt, compared to 31 percent in 2005. Balances have soared as well, the study found. The average balance for a 20-something borrower in 2014 was $25,525, compared to $15,853 in 2007. That’s a 60 percent increase.

An Experian study found an even greater rise in student loan debt when the rest of the population was counted in. The study found that student loan debt had risen 84 percent between 2008 and 2014 and that the average balance for borrowers of all ages was $29,000.

Some good advice… Student loan borrowers should always make the required payments on their federal education loans, since the penalties for default are severe. But do not postpone saving for retirement.  Make sure your employer is matching you on your retirement contributions, since that money is essentially free, before using any extra money to pay down student loan debt.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at http://www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/13/us-column-weston-retirement-idUSKCN0I21CQ20141013

‘Zombie’ homes a growing problem in Florida neighborhoods

October 10, 2014 Posted by kingcade

A bank forecloses on a home, the residents pack up and leave and the city is left to clean up the mess. These abandoned homes in foreclosure limbo, referred to as zombie homes are haunting a number of Florida neighborhoods. These properties are often uninhabitable because they have fallen into such disrepair, and the owners are unwilling to fix them up because with the outstanding mortgage payments, the bank can still come back and foreclose on the property.

By hand-picking which foreclosures they complete and which they ignore, banks are strapping individual borrowers with a permanent, inescapable debt while creating slums in already struggling communities. These vacant homes often attract drug dealers and squatters and bring down the value of surrounding properties.

The financial crisis resulted in many homeowners walking away from their properties when they got their initial foreclosure notice, seeking to avoid being evicted, not realizing that the process could take years.

Zombie foreclosures have become more widespread in recent years throughout the country, but are especially prevalent in Florida, where as of June 2, 48,630 homes in some stage of foreclosure sat vacant, according to RealtyTrac. That accounts for a third of the 141,406 vacant foreclosed properties nationwide!

According to real estate experts, zombie foreclosures come in two forms:

1.) The unintentional “byproduct” of Florida’s judicial foreclosure process, which can take months and result in “properties sitting in limbo;”

2.) Intentional delay by lenders, who file a foreclosure case so they do not lose the option to do so when the statute of limitations runs out. However, these lenders do not move forward because completing the foreclosure would not be financially viable.

Zombie homes can haunt homeowners- and neighborhoods for years, having a negative impact on cities. When homeowners and banks walk away from a property, the city is left with the responsibility of the home.

The Justice Department has taken some responsibility. Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co. each agreed to forgive loans when they decide not to pursue foreclosure and have helped cities pay to demolish the abandoned homes. The agreements, however, contain no specific monetary obligation and instead fall under broad consumer relief payments.

Florida cities like Jacksonville and St. Petersburg have borne the burden. Jacksonville demolished 113 homes that were vacant and unsafe in 2013. In 2014, the city bulldozed another 60 properties. It is estimated that St. Petersburg will demolish 100 houses this year.  Officials have said the city simply does not have the resources to deal with all of the vacant homes.

Click here to read more on this story…
http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/09/15/15519/zombie-homes-haunt-florida-neighborhoods

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:
http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/09/15/15519/zombie-homes-haunt-florida-neighborhoods

Raise your Credit Score… FAST

October 7, 2014 Posted by kingcade

Your credit score can range anywhere from between 300 to 850. And we all know, the higher the number, the better. Your credit score, also referred to as your FICO number is what lenders use to determine how much to lend you and what your interest rate will be when applying for a mortgage, car loan, credit card or student loan. A recent survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling revealed that people are more embarrassed to admit their credit score (30%) than their weight (12%).

Below are some immediate steps you can take to raise your score FAST:

1.) Dispute Errors. Mistakes happen. Order a copy of your credit report for free by going to www.annualcreditreport.com. Analyze the report for accuracy and dispute any errors immediately.

2.) Negotiate. You cannot deny that you stopped paying a credit card bill because you lost your job last year, but you can request that the creditor “erase” that debt or any other credit account that went into collections. Write a letter that offers to pay the remaining balance if the creditor will report the account as, “paid as agreed.” They may even remove it all together. You will never know unless you try.

3.) Check your limits. Make sure your reported credit limits are current. You do not want it to look as if you are maxing out plastic each month. If your card issuer forgot to mention an increased credit limit you are entitled to, request it.

4.) Get a credit card. If you use a credit card wisely (i.e. not charging too much, making payments on time, etc.) this will do good things for your score.

5.) Under-use your cards. Keep in mind, the “credit utilization ratio” is no more than 30% and ideally even less. Credit experts advise that a 10% credit utilization ratio will “maximize your FICO score.”

6.) Raise your credit limit. Request that your creditors increase your limit. However, this only works if you can trust yourself not to increase your spending limit.

7.) DO NOT close any cards. Canceling a credit card will cause your available credit to drop, which will not look good to the bureaus. One way to keep a card active is to use it for a recurring charge, such as an electric or phone bill.

8.) Mix it up. Using a different kind of credit can boost your score. For example, you can take out a small personal loan from a credit union to buy a piece of furniture or appliance. However, ONLY do this if you are 100% sure you can meet the payment schedule.

9.) Pay your bills on time. Your payment history makes up a whopping 35% of your FICO score. If you have a problem paying your bills on time, whether you are a busy working parent or simply absent-minded at times, automate your payments. This is an easy solution to this problem and a much needed time saver.

10.) Pay your bills twice a month. Using too much of your credit limit at any time does not look good. Make one payment just before the statement closing date and the second one right before the due date. The first payment will help you decrease the balance that the credit bureaus will see, the second ensures you will not pay interest or a late fee.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneybuilder/2014/05/02/11-ways-to-raise-your-credit-score-fast/

Judge Slams “Real Housewives of New Jersey” Couple for Not Disclosing all Assets in Bankruptcy

October 2, 2014 Posted by kingcade

Teresa and Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice arrived for sentencing this week at a federal courthouse in Newark facing conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud charges. U.S. District Judge Esther Salas reprimanded the couple for not disclosing all of their assets, including recreational vehicles they own.

The couple pleaded guilty in March and admitted hiding assets from bankruptcy creditors and submitting phony loan applications to receive $5 million in mortgages and construction loans.  Because of the fraud, the couple’s bankruptcy of several years ago was cancelled by the court last month and the Giudices once again owe more than $13 million to creditors.

Joe Giudice was sentenced to 41 months in prison, 2 years of supervised probation and was ordered to pay $414,588 in restitution from District Court Judge Esther Salas.  Lawyers for Teresa remain hopeful that she will be spared a prison sentence and instead be put on probation, noting the couple’s need to care for their four young daughters.

The couple pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and three types of bankruptcy fraud. Joe Giudice, 43, also plead guilty to failing to file a tax return for 2004, though he acknowledged he did not file taxes on income of approximately $1 million from 2004 to 2008.

Regardless of your occupation or status in life, if you attempt to cheat on your taxes or attempt to hide assets from your creditors during bankruptcy, you face real consequences, criminal prosecution and even jail time.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

http://pagesix.com/2014/10/02/judge-slams-teresa-and-joe-giudice-for-not-disclosing-all-assets/

http://deadline.com/2014/10/real-housewives-of-nj-stars-sentenced-prison-joe-teresa-giudice-844551/

Mortgage Relief Scams BUSTED!

October 1, 2014 Posted by kingcade

State and federal law enforcement agencies have brought 41 enforcement actions against scammers who prey on homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments. “Operation Mis-modification,” has targeted a number of mortgage relief scams and charged the perpetrators behind the schemes with deceptive marketing, making false promises and pocketing illegal fees.

So how do these scammers target their victims? Some scammers sift through public foreclosure notices looking for potential targets. There’s no shortage of these. According to one market analyst, almost 700,000 homes were in some stage of foreclosure in April. Others advertise on the Internet, television and even the side of the road with signs stating, “Stop Foreclosure NOW” or “Get a Loan Modification.”

Tactics used to scam struggling borrowers include:

• Pretending to be associated with a government agency or the homeowner’s mortgage lender.
• Guaranteeing loan modifications regardless of the circumstances.
• Claiming to be a non-profit whose purpose is to educate the public about keeping their homes.
• Convincing homeowners to surrender the title to their home with a promise that they can buy it back later.

The FTC has discovered two more sophisticated schemes involving “forensic loan audits” and “mass joinder lawsuits.” In a forensic loan audit, the scammer will examine your loan documents to determine whether the lender made any errors that can be used to stall a foreclosure. In a mass joinder lawsuit, scammers who often pose as attorneys convince homeowners that they should join a lawsuit with others in similar circumstances against their lender. In both the audit and lawsuit scheme, homeowners are required to pay upfront fees and get little or nothing in return.

Below are some tips from the FTC and BBB to avoid being the victim of a mortgage relief scam:

• NEVER pay an upfront fee to get help with a mortgage / loan modification. No matter what someone tells you, it is against the law for companies that provide mortgage relief services to charge you before they give you a written offer from your lender and you have accepted that offer.

• Do not send your mortgage payment to anyone but your lender. Companies that ask you to send your mortgage payments to them while they negotiate on your behalf almost always take the money and disappear. If your lender does not receive your mortgage payments, you could lose your home.

• Do not fall for official sounding names. Most of these organizations try to make themselves sound legitimate by choosing names like the “Federal Debt Commission” or “Federal Assistance Program.” That does not mean they are affiliated with the government.

• A forensic loan audit will not prevent foreclosure. There is no evidence that forensic loan audits will help you get a loan modification or any other foreclosure relief, even if these are conducted by a licensed auditor, mortgage professional or lawyer.

• There are no guarantees. Do not do business with a company that guarantees to get you a loan modification. The law requires that companies tell you that your lender may not agree to change your loan.

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources: http://www.jacksonsun.com/story/money/business/columnists/2014/09/18/mortgage-relief-scams-busted/15844711/

Medical Bills Cause more than 60% of Bankruptcies in U.S.

September 29, 2014 Posted by kingcade

CNN analysts estimate that at least 1.5 million Americans will file for bankruptcy this year, for some it will be the result of overspending, but for 60% medical debt will be the leading cause. Over the past 6 years, the number of bankruptcy filings due to medical debt has almost doubled from 46% to 62%. The majority of those who filed for bankruptcy represent the middle class and those with good education. Many families are unaware that they are just one illness away from financial ruin. Medical bills are causing excessive stress in one out of five American families today.

Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:
http://www.istreetresearch.com/medical-bills-caused-more-than-60-of-bankruptcies-in-the-united-states/2510949/

Jersey Shore Star, ‘The Situation’ Indicted for $8.9M Tax Fraud Conspiracy

September 25, 2014 Posted by kingcade

Former Jersey Shore cast member, Mike Sorrentino (a.k.a. ‘The Situation’) and his brother / business manager, Marc Sorrentino appeared in a New Jersey Federal Court this week to plead not guilty to a fraud indictment claiming they did not pay taxes on $8.9 million of income. Court documents show that both Sorrentino and his brother are being charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and an additional two counts of filing false returns.  His brother faces three.  ‘The Situation’ is also charged with not filing a tax return in 2011, when he earned more than $1.9 million in income.

The document states, “From in or about January 2010 through in or about November 2013, in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, in the District of New Jersey and elsewhere, defendants Marc Sorrentino and Michael Sorrentino, aka ‘The Situation,’ did knowingly and intentionally conspire and agree with each other and others to defraud the United States by impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating, through deceitful and dishonest means, the lawful functions of the IRS, a constituent agency of the United States Department of the Treasury, to ascertain, compute, assess, and collect federal income taxes,”

“According to the indictment, Michael and Marc Sorrentino filed false tax returns that incorrectly reported millions made from promotions and appearances,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statement. “The brothers allegedly also claimed costly clothes and cars as business expenses and funneled company money into personal accounts. The law is absolutely clear: telling the truth to the IRS is not optional.”

The conspiracy and filing false tax returns each carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The count charging ‘The Situation’ for failing to file a tax return carries a maximum potential penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Regardless of your occupation or status in life, if you attempt to cheat on your taxes for personal financial gain- you face real consequences, criminal prosecution and even jail time.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:
https://celebrity.yahoo.com/blogs/celeb-news/mike–the-situation–sorrentino-indicted-for-tax-crimes-181532715.html

http://www.people.com/article/mike-the-situation-sorrentino-tax-evasion

Credit Card Debt or Student Loan Debt: Which to pay off first?

September 23, 2014 Posted by kingcade

It is important to first realize, that all debt is not created equal. Some debt can actually work for you. For example, debt that is tax deductible, such as mortgage and student loan debt falls into the category of “good” debt. On the other hand, debts like credit card debt and car loans fall into the “bad” debt category.

Student loans offer fixed rates and tax deductible interest. You should not be in a rush to pay these off, particularly if you are not already saving adequately for retirement and other emergencies. Federal student loans offer the opportunity to reduce or even suspend payment without damaging your credit scores if you face financial difficulty and have the possibility of forgiveness. Those options are not available for credit card debt.

If your student loan payments exceed 10% of your income when you enter into repayment, the federal government  has a “Pay as you Earn” program, which offers more manageable payments for borrowers, especially those with large amounts of debt.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at http://www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-montalk-20140921-column.html

New Study Reveals Surprising Impact Student Loan Debt has on the Housing Market

September 22, 2014 Posted by kingcade

A new study reveals the impact of student loan debt on home ownership. The impact is 414,000. That is how many home sales will not happen this year as a result of high levels of student loan debt, according to a report from John Burns Consulting, a firm that advises home builders.  This number is the equivalent of about 8% of all home sales, enough to dent the housing industry by $83 billion a year!

The report estimates that the number of borrowers under the age of 40 that owe $250 or more each month in student loans has nearly tripled since 2005, to 5.9 million. And it projects that every $250 in monthly student loan payments decreases home borrowing and purchasing power by $44,000.  With the typical sale price of a home being $200,000, you get $83 billion in lost sales.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has found that young people with student loan debt are now less likely to own a home than people who never attended college, a reversal of the long-standing trend linking higher education to home ownership and higher earnings. Student debt has been a key factor in the lower-than-normal rates, particularly for first-time home buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at http://www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources: http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-student-loan-debt-housing-market-20140922-story.html