Posts Tagged: ‘consumer debt’

Pompano Beach “Debt Relief” Companies Scammed Victims out of $70 Million

August 7, 2017 Posted by kingcade

A debt relief scheme headquarted in Pompano Beach has scammed nearly 15,000 people across the country, according the Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

A civil complaint filed in federal court in Fort Lauderdale alleged that telemarketers at several of the companies managed from the Pompano Beach office building offered to pay off personal debts for customers, settle or obtain dismissals for these obligations and loan consolidation- all while improving their credit scores.

The defendants in the case were Jeremy Lee Marcus, who was described by the receiver as the CEO and an owner of the group of companies in the debt relief operation; Craig Davis Smith, the COO and also an owner; and Yisbet Segrea, an executive who ran the office in Panama, plus dozens of corporate defendants. These included 321Loans Inc., Financial Freedom National Inc., Helping America Group, Marine Career Institute Sea Frontiers Inc., Instahelp America Inc. and Breeze Financial Solutions.

Customers were convinced to pay a few hundred to more than a thousand dollars per month to the “so-called” debt-relief companies and their operators who orchestrated the scheme.

After numerous customer complaints, it was discovered that in most cases no payments were ever made towards the customers' debts. Customers ended up becoming victims.  As a result of the scam they incurred even more debt.  Some customers were sued by their old creditors or were forced into bankruptcy.

The scheme used Internet advertising and websites, direct mail and unsolicited phone calls to market itself. The company bought presumably legitimate debt-relief firms and used their clients’ names as well as personal and financial information.

Here is how the scam worked:

  • Companies in the scam used ads on their website and sent out personal letters to the victims’ home addresses. These companies would go so far as to falsely identify themselves as nonprofits, offering low-interest loans so a consumer could combine all debts and make one payment at a lower interest rate;
  • Consumers would have to agree to have their bank accounts debited immediately for their first loan “repayment” or for a processing fee. Then monthly “repayments” were automatically taken from their accounts, ranging from $200 to over $1,000;
  • Few or no payments were ever made to creditors;
  • When consumers were told by original creditors that none of their bills had been paid, dismissed or settled, the scammers strung them along with false explanations, such as more time was needed to validate the consumers’ debts or to confirm payoff amounts. Clients who called to complain were given excuses and treated poorly.  The only contact number available was disconnected.

Click here to read more on the scam.

The following website (www.321loansreceivership.com) has been set up to inform victims and the public about developments in the receivership process.

If you have any questions on this topic or 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.

How a debt avalanche strategy can eliminate your debt

June 28, 2017 Posted by kingcade

One of the smartest and fastest ways to eliminate your debt is a strategy known as a debt avalanche.  To start, you must first take inventory of your debt- meaning you need to write down all outstanding debts- including credit card balances, student loan payments, car payments, etc. and determine the interest rates you are paying on each of the balances.

The debt avalanche strategy begins by ranking each of your debts by interest rate, from highest to lowest.  No matter the size of the loan balance, it will always be less expensive (and faster) to pay off your debts in order from highest to lowest interest rates.

For example, your interest rate on a credit card is probably going to run much higher than the interest rate on your vehicle.  Tackle those debts with the highest interest rates, first and save as much money on interest payments as possible.

Finally, if the debt inventory process reveals an overwhelming or confusing amount of debt, consider meeting with a financial expert who can discuss your options in greater detail.  Sometimes a simple debt consolidation can reduce your payments by thousands, just by reducing the interest amount.  If you fear you might be at risk of personal bankruptcy, it is best to meet with a professional as soon as possible to know exactly where you stand.  Many bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations and have appointments available on the weekend.

Click here to read more on this story.

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, 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.

Delinquencies on Timeshare Rentals Reveal Another Sign of Consumer Debt Weakness

March 10, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Americans are getting more behind on their timeshare rental payments, according to Fitch Ratings. Approximately 3.75 percent of timeshare borrowers were behind on their bills in the fourth quarter, up from 3.37 percent in the same period a year earlier, and the highest level since the end of 2011, according to the report.

According to Fitch, the defaults are evidence that loan companies are becoming less strict when financing to customers. These companies are also writing off more loans. The default rate rose to 0.70 percent in the fourth quarter from 0.61 percent in the same period a year earlier.

Other pockets of weakness include online consumer loans and subprime auto loans, which we have touched on in previous blogs.  These rising delinquencies come as Americans have increased their debt at the fastest pace in three years.

U.S. household debt increased by $226 billion in the last three months of 2016, bringing total consumer debt to $12.58 trillion.  The numbers, which include mortgages, student loans, auto loans and credit card debt, are dangerously close to the $12.68 trillion high-water mark in 2008.

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 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.

 

The Effects Debt Has On Your Emotions

February 24, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The average U.S. household carries debt- more than $132,000 in fact, including mortgages.  Approximately 40 percent of households have credit card debt.  The interest on credit cards alone is costing as much as $1,300 per household per year.

If you are struggling with debt, understanding the common emotions and actions surrounding debt can help you take positive steps moving forward to help improve your financial and mental health.

Powerlessness. If you have a large amount of debt, it can make you feel powerless.  The best way to fight back is to take control.  Get on a budget and stick to it.  Knowing that you are taking control and have a plan in place will help you regain a sense of power.

PTSD-like symptoms. A recent survey found that one in four people who are in debt have symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. That number is even higher for millennials. Among people age 18-34 who are in debt, 36 percent suffer. Symptoms can include denial, avoidance (such as not paying bills), and not being able to sleep.

Fear & Anxiety.  Debt can make us anxious.  Be proactive and set up auto-pays on recurring bills you have.  It will give you one less thing to think about.  Put credit cards away (only temporarily, remember not to close out the accounts).

Retail Cravings. Nearly two-thirds of women and 40 percent of men have spent money to improve their mood, according to research. If you overspend, any euphoria you experience will surely diminish once the bills arrive in the mail.  When you feel yourself wanting to spend, ask yourself what’s really going on. Think of the HALT acronym: Are you hungry, angry, lonely or tired?   Address these feelings head-on without the use of a credit card.

Lowered defenses.  Lowered defenses might be caused by anything from having a couple of glasses of wine to a break-up, to battling a cold. Be smart about your spending.  To resist online impulse buys, delete credit card information stored on your computer and mobile devices.

Celebration. Did you recently receive a bonus or land a big account?  When it comes to the risk of debt, feeling overly happy can be just as dangerous as feeling overly sad, which can oftentimes cause a financial splurge. Put any financial gain toward your debt or into savings.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, 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.wbrc.com/story/34555906/6-ways-debt-can-wreak-havoc-with-your-emotions

FTC Cracks Down on Dishonest Payday Lenders

January 30, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The FTC has been targeting fraudulent payday lending companies, headquartered in Missouri and Kansas, with consumer settlements reaching as high as $1.266 billion. The FTC recently announced charges against Joel Jerome Tucker, and his companies, SQ Capital LLC, JT Holding Inc., and HPD LLC, for selling portfolios made up of phony payday loans.

The loans listed in the portfolios named fake lenders and debtors, including their social security and bank account numbers, and led to collection activities against consumers who had not taken out loans, according to the FTC.

In another case, a settlement was reached between the FTC and payday lenders, Tim Coppinger and Ted Rowland, and their companies.

Under the terms of the agreement, the lenders paid nearly $1 million with the threat of substantially greater judgments (up to $32 million) should they fail to abide by the terms of the settlement agreement. The fraudulent activity included debiting money from the accounts of people who never requested loans, but for whom the payday lender had obtained personal information. They would then charge interest and fees on the unauthorized loans.

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 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