Category: ‘Bankruptcy Law’

Federal Judge Sides with Debtor Finds Law Firm’s Debt Collection Notice “Misleading”

November 16, 2017 Posted by kingcade

U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied the Law Offices of Frederic I. Weinberg & Associates’ motion for summary judgment and granted plaintiff Ronn Homer’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the law firm in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in its validation notices.

“We conclude that the validation notice in this case violates the FDCPA because it misleads and deceives the debtor about how and when to dispute the debt,” Savage wrote in his opinion on November 9, 2017. “The notice leads the debtor to believe that he may dispute the debt orally when only a written notice of dispute is effective. It also requires the debtor to act to dispute the debt in less time than the FDCPA provides.”

The crux of the case was in the meaning of a sentence in the debt collection notice: “Unless we hear from you within 30 days after receipt of this letter that you dispute the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, this office will assume the debt is valid,” said Savage.

The plaintiff alleged that the notice creates confusion about how to dispute the debt and the timeframe in which to do so. He argued that the letter misleads the debtor into believing that the law firm must receive the notice of dispute within 30 days rather than that the debtor must send the notice within that timeframe.

In the end, the debtor prevailed and the judge concluded, “The letter here is misleading.  It creates the impression that the debtor can dispute the debt by calling the debt collector. The phrase ‘[u]nless we hear from you’ imparts the understanding that the debtor can dispute the validity of the debt orally. Contrary to Weinberg’s characterization, ‘hears from you’ is not a colloquial phrase that a reasonable debtor, let alone a least sophisticated debtor, would construe to mean that a dispute must be in writing,” Savage said.

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If you have any questions on this topic or 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Most Student Loan Fraud Claims Involve For-Profits, according to recent study

November 15, 2017 Posted by kingcade

An analysis of Education Department data reveals that students who attended for-profit colleges filed more than 98 percent of the requests for student loan forgiveness alleging fraud by their schools.  Century Foundation found nearly 100,000 loan forgiveness claims (known as borrower defense to repayment) have been received over the past two decades, which paints a troubling picture of the state of for-profit higher education in the United States.

The study found “a disproportionate concentration of predatory behavior among for-profit colleges” that raises “serious concerns about the federal government’s current approach to providing relief to students who have been defrauded and misled.”

For-profit colleges expanded rapidly over the past two decades, with enrollment rising from around 230,000 in the early 1990s to a record 2 million in 2010. These for-profit schools recruited aggressively, targeting more “non-traditional” students, usually older people who had jobs and could only study part time.

They also heavily targeted women, people of color and veterans. But after graduating, many students struggled to find jobs they were promised or had difficulty transferring credits to other schools.  This lead to a massive increase in student loan defaults.  A 2010 government study found that all of the 15 for-profit colleges evaluated by undercover agents made deceptive statements to prospective students and four of them encouraged fraudulent practices.

The report comes as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faces criticism for not moving forward with two Obama-era regulations that would have added protections for student borrowers.  The rules, known as borrower defense to repayment, were developed after a series of high-profile collapses of for-profit chains such as Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute left thousands of students with worthless degrees and mountains of student loan debt.  The regulations were scheduled to take effect on June 30.

However, the review of tens of thousands of claims has stalled and the AP reported last month that the department is considering abandoning the practice of full loan cancellation in favor of partial forgiveness.  Student advocates are pointing to the Trump administration’s ties to the for-profit industry and accuse DeVos of putting industry over students.

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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 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

What you need to Know about Student Loan Interest

November 14, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Most college students are unaware how loan interest or capitalization works, according to a recent study.  Opting to delay payments after college or graduate school can determine how much you pay over the lifetime of your student loans.

When the interest on a student loan capitalizes, the accrued interest is added to the principal balance, which is the original amount borrowed.  For that reason, the interest charges increase because it is now based on the new higher principal.

Here are 5 examples of when capitalization occurs with federal student loans:

  1. Not making interest payments during school and during the grace period. For undergraduate and graduate unsubsidized Stafford loans, interest begins to accrue immediately after the loan is dispersed.  Subsidized loans are the best option for students, where the federal government pays the interest while the borrower is in school.
  2. Switching from an income-driven repayment plan. It is important borrowers know that just because they are enrolled in an income-driven repayment, Income-Based Repayment Plan or Pay As You Earn (PAYE), this may not be covering all of the interest accruing on the loan. While some income-driven plans stop capitalizing interest after 10 percent of the original loan balance has been paid, there are consequences from switching out of these plans. For example, unpaid accrued interest will capitalize when a borrower no longer qualifies for a financial hardship, fails to provide proper documentation for the plan’s annual enrollment or exits the plan.
  3. Forbearance or deferment. A borrower needs to be careful when selecting these options and know the consequences. Interest is still accumulating on student loans even though the loans are in forbearance or deferment.  This loan interest can accumulate quickly.
  4. Consolidation of federal loans. Consolidating multiple loans into one direct loan, means you are creating an entirely new loan.  It is important to consolidate right after graduating as a measure to reduce the capitalization interest that comes with federal loan consolidation.  Waiting longer to do so typically increases the principal balance.
  5. Defaulting on a student loan. Interest that was outstanding at the time of default will be capitalized.  The principal amount will not only become larger, but the entire balance will be due and payable immediately.

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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 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Appellate Court Rules Miami-Dade Judge Erred in Denying Foreclosure

November 13, 2017 Posted by kingcade

“The trial court was not authorized to deny foreclosure merely because it believed the borrower signed a ‘bad bargain,’ ” wrote Third DCA Judge Richard Suarez, with Chief Judge Leslie Rothenberg and Judge Vance Salter concurring. “ We thus reverse the entry of involuntary dismissal and remand for entry of final judgment of foreclosure.”

The appellate panel ruled the court improperly excluded evidence and based judgment partially on a defense the homeowner’s counsel did not raise.  The homeowner, Alfredo Brito was making his monthly mortgage payments as usual when in June 2008 his payment was rejected by his loan servicer.  From then on no more payments were made.

Two years later, the loan servicer advised Brito he was in default and demanded $60,000 as a remedy. Lender Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. then brought a foreclosure proceeding.  Brito’s original loan servicer was absorbed by Ocwen Loan Servicing in 2012.  Miami-Dade Circuit Senior Judge Judith Kreeger excluded the demand letter and the payoff printout when she should have admitted them, the appellate court ruled.

“Brito was elderly, suffered from dementia and paid religiously and was forced into foreclosure because of the predatory financial product,” said his attorney.  “Under the circumstances, it’s appropriate to require Ocwen to comply with the rules of evidence and Florida Supreme Court precedent. No court is authorized to grant the equitable relief of foreclosure if there is unclean hands or insufficient evidence of standing to foreclose merely because the borrower defaulted on their mortgage,” he continued.

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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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Increase in Personal Bankruptcy Filings among LuLaRoe Consultants Spark Speculation

November 10, 2017 Posted by kingcade

A number of women who currently or formerly sold clothing through LuLaRoe have seen income from their “small businesses” decline dramatically in recent months, forcing some of the women to file for bankruptcy.

The personal bankruptcy filings- from January 2016 to October 2017- came up during a search of court records because the women or couples filing said they were “doing business” as Lularoe or LuLa Roe.”  At least 24 have been identified, but it is estimated the number is much higher.

Experts noticed on average that the families reported a “quick downward fall” in income from their business from around 2015 to when they filed.  For example, one woman, a single mom in California reported she made $61,330 in 2016 from “operating a business,” which is presumed to be her LuLaRoe business since it is the only one she says she owns.

But from January to July 2017, she had only made $10,547.42 from her business, less than half she had made midway through the year before. She reported her average net income in 2017 from her business was $184.39 a month.

She was spending just as much in some months, if not more, on “operating expenses” for her business as she was making, according to the filing.  For example, in May 2017 she earned $1,796.12, but spent $2,666.13 to keep her business afloat.

She lists $28,991 in assets and $8,000 worth of “inventory.”  Her $85,253.43 in debts include thousands of dollars on multiple credit cards and almost $1,000 owed to her Paypal merchant account.  She filed for bankruptcy in July of 2017.

Some of the other women identified, listed unpaid unsecured business loans, which shows a “clearer tie to the LuLaRoe” business.”

The co-founders of LuLaRoe appeared on CBS This Morning to speak out against the recent allegations the company is facing about merchandise quality and refund policy complaints.  A $1 billion lawsuit was filed on October 23 by two former consultants on behalf of all LuLaRoe consultants alleging the company is operating a pyramid scheme.

If you have any questions on this topic or 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/lularoe-clothing-retailer-founders-speak-out-against-pyramid-scheme-accusations/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemcneal/lularoe-bankruptcy?utm_term=.bjkXAJ1kn#.vva5gXLwK