Posts Tagged: ‘Chapter 7’

FTC and 11 States Announce “Operation Game of Loans” Targeting Deceptive Student Loan Debt Relief Scams

October 16, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 11 states have announced a first of its kind federal-state law enforcement initiative that targets deceptive student loan debt relief scams. The nationwide crackdown includes 36 actions by the FTC and state attorneys general against scammers who allegedly took more than $95 million in illegal upfront fees from struggling student loan borrowers over the years.

It is alleged in these actions that the defendants charged consumers illegal upfront fees, falsely promised to help reduce or forgive student loan debt and pretended to be affiliated with the government or loan servicers, a violation of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and the FTC Act.

Operation Game of Loans also includes law enforcement actions by Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and the District of Columbia.  Here is a recent case filed in Florida:

Student Debt Doctor (SDD): In an action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the FTC charged that Fort Lauderdale-based SDD and its owner, Gary Brent White, Jr., collected at least $7 million from consumers struggling to pay student loan debt. According to the complaint, the defendants charged illegal upfront fees of $750 or more. Using social media, e-mail, and telemarketing, SDD promoted its services across the United States, in English and Spanish. SDD falsely promised loan forgiveness often in as little as five years or less, and told consumers not to communicate with their loan servicers. The defendants also fabricated income, unemployment status, and family size information on relief applications in order to qualify borrowers for eliminated or reduced monthly payments. The court entered a temporary restraining order (TROon October 3, 2017.

Click here to learn more about the five new cases filed against 30 defendants as part of Operation Game of Loans.

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, 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Medical Debt the leading cause of Homelessness in South Florida

October 10, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Even with Obamacare still intact, a number of Floridians remain without health insurance.  Census surveys say that Florida has one of the highest uninsured populations in the nation, and of the top 25 metro areas, Miami ranks at the bottom three for healthcare coverage.

Medical debt now tops the list of reasons people become homeless in South Florida, according to a recent study. Drug addiction and mental health issues round out the top three.

The recent statistics come from addictions.com, where survey takers conducted in-person interviews with homeless people in South Florida this past July.  Interviewees overwhelmingly attributed hospital bills they could not pay or an addiction they could not overcome to the fact they were living on the streets.

Broward County’s homeless population has grown 6 percent since last year.  Of those surveyed, 42 percent said they had suffered a head injury and 33 percent said they had been beaten at one point while homeless.

In a number of states, the homeless have been helped by the expansion of Medicaid, and were able to receive healthcare for the first time in years.  Not the case in Florida, where state leaders denied the expansion of the program to cover 650,000 low-income residents.

Click here to read more on this story

Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. 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 McMaken, 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 Settlement vs. Filing for Bankruptcy: The Pros and Cons

October 3, 2017 Posted by kingcade

If you are having trouble affording your monthly expenses and are in over your head in debt, you may consider reaching out to a debt settlement company to alleviate some of the burden.  The commercials are appealing enough, touting promises of getting your debt negotiated with the lender for a fraction of what you owe.

Here’s how a debt settlement works and some of the risks involved:

The process starts by explaining your financial situation to the debt settlement company. You provide the names of the creditors and the amount you owe. The debt settlement company then gives you an estimate for reducing your debt along with a new lower monthly payment. As advised by the settlement company, you stop paying your creditors and instead send payments directly to the company.

The debt settlement company puts your monthly payments into a savings account. Once the account has grown to a certain amount, the debt settlement company calls your creditors and begins negotiating a settlement.  If the creditor agrees to a settlement amount, the settlement company pays the creditor and assesses a fee for the settlement.

Creditors typically do not settle debts until they are a few months past due, which means if you have not already done so you must stop paying on your accounts and allow them to become past due.  During this time, late payments will be reported to credit bureaus, your credit score will drop and you will begin receiving collection calls.  Late payments will remain on your credit reports for up to seven years and during this time you will have difficulty qualifying for new credit.

Debt settlement companies typically tackle the smallest debts, first which means your larger debts will continue to accumulate interest and additional fees. Add all that interest you are accumulating to the fees and you do not really end up saving much.  If you are unable to meet the terms of the debt settlement, ignore the debt or try and repay the debt and ultimately fail you run the risk of being sued.

Many consumers who have researched debt settlement options should also consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which erases credit card balances, medical bills, personal loans and other unsecured debts in three to four months.  Filing for bankruptcy will impact your credit score more than a debt settlement, but it legally erases the debts and prevents creditors from filing a lawsuit against you.

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, 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.thebalance.com/the-dangers-of-debt-settlement-960622

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-montalk-20171001-story.html

Motion Denied After Creditor Attempts to Reopen Miami Bankruptcy Case and Seize Home

September 26, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Managing Shareholder, Timothy S. Kingcade and associate Kristina Gonzalez of the Miami-based bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken, P.A. achieved a recent victory for their clients after a creditor, Bank of New York Mellon (“BONY”), attempted to re-open their 2009 bankruptcy case and compel the surrender of their Miami home.

“With this ruling, I am pleased to announce that my clients will be able to keep their home.  BONY made the decision to abandon its foreclosure efforts and enter into modification negotiations with my clients. It was seven years after my clients received their bankruptcy discharge, five years after the initial foreclosure was dismissed and only after those modification efforts proved unsuccessful that they filed the second foreclosure, based on new post-bankruptcy discharge defaults,” Timothy S. Kingcade said.

BONY waited more than a year after the second foreclosure was filed to seek to reopen the bankruptcy case, and only filed the motion when the bankruptcy debtor filed an action in District Court against the creditor’s loan servicer, Specialized Loan Servicing, for violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

In a consumer win for bankruptcy clients, the Honorable Laurel M. Isicoff ruled that there was “no purpose” in re-opening the bankruptcy case because the debtors’ decision to surrender the property was not binding in the subsequent foreclosure action.

Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade practices exclusively in the field of bankruptcy law, handling Chapter 7 and 13 filings and foreclosure defense cases for the Southern District of Florida.  As an experienced CPA and proven bankruptcy attorney, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of their rights under the bankruptcy laws to restart, rebuild and recover.

Miami-based Kingcade Garcia McMaken, P.A. was established by managing partner and bankruptcy attorney, Timothy S. Kingcade in 1996. The firm represents clients throughout the State of Florida in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and foreclosure defense cases. The firm is committed to providing personalized service to each and every client, clearly explaining the options according to the unique circumstances of his or her life. The office environment and the service provided are centered on a culture of superior client care for the financially disenfranchised. All partners and associates at Kingcade Garcia McMaken P.A. specialize in consumer bankruptcy and foreclosure and have dedicated their practices to this area of the law. Additionally, all attorneys and staff members at the firm are bilingual speaking Spanish.

Related Resources:

http://www.flsb.uscourts.gov/Opinions/LMI/09-30656Kurzban.pdf

Tips to Reduce Your Medical Debt

September 6, 2017 Posted by kingcade

When dealing with an unexpected medical bill, such as a trip to the emergency room or overnight hospital stay, one approach many consumers are taking is to negotiate the debt.  This trend is likely to continue.  According to a recent study, 20 percent of those 65 and older struggle to pay medical bills, and 30 percent of working adults with health insurance struggle with the same.  Almost half of Americans surveyed said they had trouble paying an unexpected medical bill of more than $500.

Whether your medical debt is the result of a high-deductible, out-of-network charge or procedure not covered by insurance, these tips will help reduce your medical debt.

  1. Be proactive. For a planned operation, make sure your insurance company covers the cost and the doctors and medical professionals working on you are ALL in-network.  Get a confirmation from your doctor  in writing or through email correspondence.  This will help you later if you learn an out-of-network provider was used.
  2. Research. Whether you are negotiating in advance or after you receive a bill, websites such as Fair Health and Healthcare Bluebook can help you determine what insurers pay in your area.
  3. Confirm the bill is correct. Ask your insurer if a portion of the bill will be covered or all of it.  Then call the provider that sent you the bill.  There may be some back and forth with this, so it is important to be patient- and persistent.
  4. Offer to pay cash. If you are able to pay most of the bill, offer to do so.  Medical advocates say they can often get a 15 to 20 percent “prompt pay” discount this way.
  5. Let them know if you cannot pay. If you are on a fixed income or struggling financially, letting the provider know you are not able to pay will give them a reason to offer you a discount or be placed on a reasonable payment plan.   If you cannot pay, tell them why you cannot pay.  Some states require hospitals provide free or reduced care to consumers within certain income limits.  Florida is one of these states.

Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. 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:

https://www.consumerreports.org/medical-billing/six-smart-steps-for-lowering-medical-bills/