When should you consider bankruptcy?

July 29, 2014 Posted by kingcade

Many consumers struggling to pay off credit card debt or medical bills wonder when the right time is to file for bankruptcy- or if bankruptcy is even the best option for them. It makes little sense to continue struggling against a mound of debt you are not even making a dent in with monthly payments– or maybe you are no longer able to afford those payments. A good rule thumb is, if it would take you five years or more to repay what you owe, you should consider filing for bankruptcy. Why five years? Because that is how long you would be required to make payments under a Chapter 13 repayment plan.

However, most consumers qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is typically faster (takes approximately three to four months, as opposed to five years) and erases all of your credit card debt and medical bills. If lower interest rates would help you pay off the debt within five years,  consider scheduling an appointment with a credit counselor associated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (www.nfcc.org). These nonprofits can set you up with debt management plans that may offer you lower rates on your credit card debt.

Many people feel an obligation to pay what they owe, even if in reality they will never be able to pay off the debt. Bankruptcy laws allow individuals to gain a fresh start, so they can take care of themselves and their families. If you are behind on your mortgage payments, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can allow you to stay in your home and catch up on your payments or negotiate with your lender. This is all thanks to the automatic stay which immediately goes into effect and prohibits your mortgage lender from foreclosing on your home.

If you are in a 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.latimes.com/business/la-fi-montalk-20140706-column.html

Former Bank of America Mortgage Employee Facing Prison Time for Taking Bribes

July 24, 2014 Posted by kingcade

A former Bank of America mortgage employee has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for pocketing $1.2 million in payoffs to approve the sale of distressed properties for far less than their actual value.

Kevin Lauricella, 29, who has been cooperating with investigators, pled guilty to accepting bribes and falsifying bank records. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II in Los Angeles this week and was ordered to repay Bank of America $5.7 million in losses and to forfeit a Thousand Oaks home acquired through payouts from the criminal scheme.

Lauricella worked for a Bank of America division that handled delinquent home loans in 2010 and early 2011. During this time, lenders were overwhelmed by defaults on underwater mortgages, creating opportunities for insiders to exploit flaws in bank systems.

The crimes involved short sales. Lauricella collected bribes from so-called “flippers” who bought homes with the intent of quickly reselling them, Katzenstein admitted. He then issued approvals for short sales that were beyond his authority to approve, with sales prices far below the fair market value.

Lauricella made false entries in Bank of America’s computer system to make it appear that higher-ups had approved the short sales, Katzenstein said. When he pleaded guilty, Lauricella admitted approving fraudulent short sales for at least nine properties.

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.latimes.com/la-fi-mortgage-bribe-sentencing-20140721-story.html

Florida Leads Nation in Foreclosures…Again

July 21, 2014 Posted by kingcade

A recent report released by RealtyTrac revealed Florida’s foreclosure rate was the nation’s highest for the first half of 2014. According to the report, 1 in 74 Florida homes had a foreclosure filing in the first six months of the year and more than 121,000 properties had a foreclosure filing- the most of any state. This number was down 22 percent from a year earlier.

Miami had the nation’s highest metro area foreclosure rate, with 1 in 61 homes in foreclosure for the first half of the year. Orlando, Port St. Lucie, the Space Coast and Tampa followed, having the top five foreclosure rates by metro areas.

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.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Florida-Leads-Nation-in-Foreclosures-So-Far-This-Year-267912031.html

Consumer Warning: Beware of Companies Offering Student Loan Debt Relief

July 15, 2014 Posted by kingcade

With student loan debt exceeding $1 trillion, a record number of graduates facing a tough job market are struggling to afford their monthly payments. For the debt settlement industry, these consumers are an irresistible target and represent of gold mine of potential new customers. Federal and state regulators have spotted new instances of abuse as these companies are shifting away from their traditional targets- credit cards and mortgage debt- and focusing in on student loans.

Illinois is expected to become the first state to bring legal action against debt settlement companies in connection with their student loan practices, contending in two separate lawsuits that Broadsword Student Advantage and First American Tax Defense tricked vulnerable borrowers into paying for help that never arrived.

In the lawsuit, the Illinois attorney general contends that these two companies lured unsuspecting borrowers into paying hundreds of dollars upfront, misled customers about those fees and in some instances pretended to be affiliated with federal relief programs. Even more egregious, the companies sometimes charged customers for debt relief assistance they could have received free from the Education Department.

The abundance of these student loan debt relief companies reflects a growing crisis- students taking on more debt than they can ever afford to repay. Of the $1.2 trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt in the United States, an estimated seven million Americans have already defaulted on a total of $100 billion, with tens of thousands more borrowers defaulting each month, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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 www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/companies-that-offer-help-with-student-loans-often-predatory-officials-say/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Beware of Filing Bankruptcy Pro Se

July 10, 2014 Posted by kingcade

The Internet has given average consumers the ability to Google everything from how to change a flat tire to how to replace a kitchen sink. However, there are certain tasks that should be left to the professionals. Filing for bankruptcy is one of them.

Bankruptcy laws significantly changed in 2005, making it more difficult to file. There are also crucial steps in the bankruptcy process, including appearing before a bankruptcy trustee and a meeting of creditors. These two steps can be intimidating for individuals not familiar with the process. Not to mention the complex legal forms involved with filing bankruptcy. A single mistake or oversight on one of these forms can cause you to lose your property and assets or your case to be dismissed.

Consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney will help you fully understand your legal options and avoid these pitfalls. The court in the 1973 case of The Florida Bar v. American Legal & Business Forms, Inc. ruled that non-attorneys selling package forms or “kits” for performing legal services as the unauthorized practice of law if any instructions or advice on their preparation is included.

The recent case, In re Falck reveals how some predatory individuals have taken advantage of consumers who are struggling to manage their debt and stay in their homes. The defendants solicited debtors through the mail pitching their mortgage foreclosure defense scheme. They charged debtors monthly payments, along with illegal and excessive fees, and then later claimed the debtor never paid. These individuals were not licensed attorneys in Florida or in any other state and did not file the proper disclosures. The court noted there were hundreds of debtors victimized by this mortgage foreclosure protection scheme.

If you are in a 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.miamibankruptcy.com/Articles/Beware-do-it-yourself-bankruptcy-kits-in-Florida.shtml

Credit Repair Company GUILTY of Deceiving Consumers and Lying to Credit Bureaus

July 8, 2014 Posted by kingcade

RMCN Credit Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest credit repair companies, has been ordered to pay $2.35 million in civil penalties after it violated federal law by deceiving consumers and lying to credit bureaus. The company reportedly would charge consumers up-front fees- as much as $2,000 before rendering services. The court order bars the defendants, Doug and Julie Parker, the owners of the company, from similar conduct in the future. The company is also required to submit reports to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for a decade to ensure that it is incompliance with the terms of the order.

According to the FTC, the company “continued to send deceptive dispute letters to credit bureaus even after the company received detailed billing histories or signed contracts from creditors proving the credit reports were accurate. RMCN also falsely told consumers that federal law allowed it to dispute accurate credit report information and credit bureaus must either prove it or remove it.”

If you are in a 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://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com/2014/06/credit-repair-company-settles-with-feds.html/

Mortgage Default Rates Hit Lowest Level since May 2006

July 3, 2014 Posted by kingcade

Mortgage default rates hit their lowest level last month compared to bank cards and auto loans. These are some of the lowest levels seen since May 2006. Mortgage default rates continue their downward trend from 1.30% in October 2013 to .92% in May 2014.

In addition, consumer credit default rates decreased for the seventh consecutive month. According to the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices, consumer credit decreased to the lowest default rate since May 2006, falling from 1.01 from 1.11 in April and 1.42 in May 2013.

Miami maintains the highest default rate of 1.74% while Dallas maintains the lowest rate of 0.77%. Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and New York remain below default rates seen a year ago.

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.creditandcollectionnews.com/viewer.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.housingwire.com%2Farticles%2F30340-mortgage-default-rates-continue-to-trend-down

$8.25 Million Bonus Not Enough for Ex-Goldman Trader

July 2, 2014 Posted by kingcade

Deeb Salem, an ex-Goldman Sachs mortgage trader is asking for more from the company he claims did him wrong. According to a transcript from the arbitration hearing, Salem told his mother three years ago that he expected $13 million for his “heroic efforts” to bring in $7 billion for the bank that year. The bonus he thought was owed to him was slightly down from the $15 million he received in 2009 and more than the $9 million bonus Goldman chief, Lloyd Blankfein took home that same year.

Salem claimed a Goldman credit trading executive said he was a “steal” at $15 million at a cocktail party. The reason for the reduced bonus was Salem’s “extremely poor judgment” in detailing his skillful manipulation of the market leading up to the housing crisis in a 2007 employee self-evaluation. In the evaluation, he described Goldman’s plan to “short squeeze” the mortgage market- what the Senate panel later viewed as “intentional market manipulation.”

Salem now wants Goldman to pay him $16 million. He is appealing to the New York State Supreme Court after being turned down by an industry arbitrator. The case is scheduled for September.

Click here to read more on this story.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/06/20/ex-goldman-trader-furious-over-paltry-8-25-million-bonus/?tid=hp_mm

If you are in a 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.

Debt Collectors Using Social Media to Track down Consumers

July 1, 2014 Posted by kingcade

After dodging collection calls for more than 10 years, a Brighton Heights man said his experience with a third-party collection agency went from annoying to cyber stalking. He said his student loan debt ballooned from around $80,000 to $270,000 following years without payment. In 2012, he hired an attorney and an accountant to help him set up a payment plan. He believed the worst was behind him.

This was until a picture taken at Regent Square restaurant Square Café with PBS personality Rick Sebak was posted on Facebook and shared with more than 5,000 people. Within days, a person who was looking for him contacted the Square Café and left a number that traced back to the collection agency, Windham Professionals, Inc.

The laws outlined in the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act of 1977 apply to collection attempts made through digital media (i.e. – text messaging and social media). Full and honest disclosure of identity and the intent to collect a debt is mandatory for collection agencies.

The act prohibits the following:
• Contacting third parties without prior consent from the debtor or a court unless they are seeking location information for the debtor;
• It bans disclosing debt obligations to third parties;
• Contacting debtors BEFORE 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.;
• Directly contacting consumers who have attorneys handling the debt (i.e. – bankruptcy attorney);
• Making false or misleading statements;
• Using obscene or profane language;
• Using threats of violence to collect.

Debt collectors who violate these provisions can face fines of up to $1,000 per violation- money that goes directly to the debtor.
If the debt collector in fact researched Square Café by becoming friends with the Brighton Heights man on Facebook under false pretenses or by connecting with the debtor’s friends under false pretenses and without prior consent, the company is in violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau clarified debt collection rules, including proposed guidance to financial institutions warning that the debt collection act also applies to digital forms of communication, including text messaging and social media.

It is important that consumers check their credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com to ensure the debt being reported is what is being collected and to know their rights.

A 2014 report says last year the commission received 204,464 debt collection complaints, up from 202,616 in 2012. Thirty-eight percent involved collectors misrepresenting the type of debt, amount or status; 19.7 percent were failure to identify as a debt collector and 16.6 percent involved repeated calls to third parties.

If you are in a 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 http://www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:
http://www.post-gazette.com/business/technology/2014/06/20/Debt-collectors-turn-to-social-media-to-track-down-delinquents/stories/201406170010

Debt Collectors Paying the Price for Every Time They Call

June 30, 2014 Posted by kingcade

Thanks to a new ruling, consumers who have requested debt collectors not call their cell phones are entitled to collect damages of up to $1,500 per call. In the recent 11th Circuit case, Osorio v. State Farm Bank, the court reinforced restrictions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act that prohibits debt collectors from using automated dialing systems (i.e. – “robocalls”) to contact consumers on their cell phones without their permission.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act has been federal law since 1991. However, this ruling is significant because in the past, courts have been divided as to whether consumers who have given their cell phone number to a creditor or collector can revoke that privilege, and if so, whether they can do so verbally. In this case, the court ruled in favor of consumers, giving them permission to revoke their consent verbally.

For consumers who are receiving calls for the wrong person, for debts they believe are not owed or for debts that are too old, this ruling proves extremely helpful. However, it important to remember that ignoring collection calls is not a good strategy. Keep accurate records of the collection calls and consider speaking with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can guide you in the right direction and determine whether you qualify for bankruptcy protection.

If you are in a 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://blog.credit.com/2014/06/judge-debt-collectors-could-be-fined-1500-every-time-they-call-85374/