Archive for: ‘January 2016’

Florida’s First-Time Buyers Program is finding its way to Previous Owners

January 22, 2016 Posted by kingcade

When Florida received its portion of the Hardest Hit Fund, the goal was to help first time home buyers fund their down payments. However, it is now being used to assist those who have previously owned a home.

Unfortunately, thousands who are behind on their current mortgages in Florida are still waiting for assistance from the program. After five years, only 24,000 of the 116,000 who applied for assistance from the Hardest Hit Fund have received aid. There is reportedly $1 billion in unspent funds that has to be used by December 2017 or it must be returned to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Florida’s Housing Finance Corp. is in charge of the state’s program and says the purpose of the down payment assistance portion is to bolster the real estate market in areas hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis.

One Spring Hill resident said he has been waiting for assistance from the program since August so that his home of 30 years does not go into foreclosure. “You give the guy down the block money to buy a house and then this one has to go into foreclosure. It makes no sense,” he said.

Troubled Asset Relief Program’s (TARP) Christy Romero said, “Florida has not done a good job of getting this money out to homeowners and rather than do a better job on existing programs, they create other programs to spend on someone else.”

Click here to read more on this story.

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

How Victims of School Fraud Can Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness

January 21, 2016 Posted by kingcade

This past year, thousands of student loan borrowers have discovered that they can apply to have their student loan debt forgiven. The forgiveness program was enacted in 1994 is called the “borrower defense” or “defense to repayment.” The program is intended to assist students’ whose schools violated a state law during the recruiting process.  However, the vague nature of the program has forced the Education Department to begin drafting new rules that will clarify what is required to prove fraud.

How To Apply

Anyone who has borrowed from the government’s Direct Loan program for any institution is eligible to apply for the forgiveness program. If you wish to apply for the program, visit: https://borrowerdischarge.ed.gov and fill out the online application. Although it states that the application is for Corinthian College borrowers, any eligible student from any college can apply.

The U.S. Education Department has hired a “special master” to review the applications and make recommendations to the agency. Two reports have been issued since and can be found at:

https://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/report-special-master-borrower-defense-1.pdf

https://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/report-special-master-borrower-defense-2.pdf

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, 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://blogs.wsj.com/briefly/2016/01/20/student-debt-forgiveness-for-victims-of-school-fraud-at-a-glance/

Thousands Appeal to have their Student Loans Forgiven

January 20, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Student loan borrowers are appealing to the government to have their student loans forgiven under an obscure federal forgiveness program. Since 1994 the program has only been used successfully three out of five times. The law forgives borrowers’ debt who prove their schools used illegal tactics to recruit them, such as lying about their graduates’ earnings.

The forgiveness program was used successfully in a case last year where the U.S. Education Department agreed to cancel nearly $28 million in debt for 1,300 former students of Corinthian College. The college was also forced to pay $550 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and later liquidated in bankruptcy.

The Education Department is unsure what to expect due to the law’s vague explanation of what evidence is needed to prove a school has committed fraud. However, the 7,500 borrowers who applied to have their $164 million in student loan debt expunged believe the forgiveness program will be their lifeline.

The Education Department’s undersecretary, Ted Mitchell said, “The law is clear about giving students redress when they’ve been defrauded.” He went on to say this goes for forgiveness on current loans as well as potential reimbursement of repaid loans.

Education Department officials said the agency failed to draft rules for the law due to a lack in urgency to do so since they had only received five applications since 1994. The recent surge in applications reflects the growing savvy of student activists who discovered it last year.

The majority of the borrowers who have applied for the forgiveness program have attended for-profit colleges such as Corinthian College. Others have attended Art Institutes owned by Education Management Corp. and ITT Technical Institutes owned by ITT Educational Services Inc. The federal government has investigated all three of these institutions in recent years for illegal recruiting tactics.

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, 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.wsj.com/articles/thousands-apply-to-u-s-to-forgive-their-student-loans-saying-schools-defrauded-them-1453285800

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/10/28/government-watchdog-wins-530-million-lawsuit-against-for-profit-corinthian-colleges-too-bad-it-will-never-see-a-dime/

 

 

Student Loan Relief Scammers Using Social Media to Target Borrowers

January 19, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Scammers are now targeting struggling borrowers on social media websites such as Facebook to offer student loan debt relief.  Higher education and consumer protection officials say that if you see advertisements on social media sites they are likely a scam.  These scammers are circulating personalized ads using school information that is posted on user profile pages.

These companies are not affiliated with any of the student loan servicers and are scamming borrowers with fee-based assistance they can get for free through the federal government’s financial aid office.

Student loan debt in the United States has reached nearly $1 trillion making it the second largest consumer debt market. Approximately eight million federal and private student loan holders are in default and millions more are struggling to make their minimum payments each month.

Moira Vahey, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said, “Companies offering these type services do not have the ability to negotiate with creditors in order to obtain a special deal under the federal student loan program.”

Companies such as College Education Services (CES) in Florida are telling borrowers they can have their student loans consolidated and lower their monthly payments. CES requires debtors to pay upfront fees and sign over power of attorney to the company. After failing to deliver results, there have been multiple complaints filed with the Florida Attorney General against this company.

Some debt relief companies promise to save borrowers thousands of dollars, charging them upfront fees and then enrolling them in a repayment plan that is available and free to anyone with a federal student loan.

The CFPB offers the following warning tips to borrowers when it comes to these so-called student loan debt relief companies:

  • The promise of immediate loan forgiveness or debt cancellation;
  • Demands for a power of attorney;
  • Requests for federal student aid PIN numbers;
  • Charging large upfront fees.

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, 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.winknews.com/2015/11/12/warning-student-loan-scams-hitting-swfl/

http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/20160118/ads-offering-student-loan-relief-scamming-borrowers

Bankruptcy Code & Debt Collection Laws Clash in Court, Again

January 18, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Another court has found that when a creditor files a claim in bankruptcy that the creditor knows is barred by the statute limitations, it is not a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  The FDCPA typically protects consumers from fraudulent attempts to collect a debt.  However, the Bankruptcy Code explicitly allows creditors to file time-barred claims, creating a possible conflict in federal laws. Under Section 502 of the Bankruptcy Code, any filed claim is deemed allowed if no one objects.

As a result, the courts in Florida and other parts of the country are split on whether or not filing a stale claim violates the FDCPA in bankruptcy. For example, in 2014 there was a controversial case involving a creditor filing a proof of claim in bankruptcy after the statute of limitations to collect had expired. In this case, courts were split on whether or not it violated the FDCPA to file a stale claim in bankruptcy, especially within the Eleventh Circuit. This issue has given rise to a circuit split and could potentially reach the Supreme Court.

In the most recent ruling, Ana Castellanos filed a complaint alleging violations of the FDCPA, including “(1) making a false representation of the legal status of a debt; (2) using a false representation and deceptive means to collect a debt; and (3) using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt.” The district court in this case noted that, “the Bankruptcy Code provides the debtor a means to object to impermissible proofs of claim, such as those that are time-barred.”

The court ultimately ruled that even though the FDCPA and the Bankruptcy Code guidelines are conflicting, the FDCPA must yield to the Bankruptcy Code. In Florida, FDCPA claims can proceed while in other parts of the country they cannot. This strong federal law protects consumers against certain unfair collection practices, including:

  • Calling you repeatedly to annoy or harass you.
  • Trying to collect more than you owe.
  • Failing to send a written notice of the debt.
  • Threatening violence.
  • Threatening dire consequences (i.e. – lawsuits, criminal prosecution, wage garnishment, jail time, permanently ruining your credit, etc.)
  • Using profanity and abusive language.
  • Calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Revealing debt to third parties (i.e. – family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc.).
  • Contacting you at your work, after you have requested them to stop.
  • Failing to verify disputed debts.
  • Ignoring cease communication requests.

Click here to read more on this story.

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