Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Chief Justice Charles Canady addresses the issue of public access to Florida foreclosure proceedings- which has been in jeopardy as a result of the heavy volume of foreclosure cases

In a recent memorandum sent to chief judges of Florida’s twenty judicial circuits, Chief Justice Charles Canady addressed the important issue of public access to Florida’s foreclosure proceedings. The memorandum set forth that the chief judges ensure that the judges they supervise and the staff who report to those judges, as well as bailiffs and employees of the clerks of court, are not violating the rights of Floridians by improperly closing judicial proceedings to the public.
This comes after a letter was received from the Florida Press Association and other organizations. The letter alleged that in some instances, members of the public and/or press either were advised that they could not attend mortgage foreclosure proceedings or were prevented from attending such proceedings. Under Florida law, the public has a right to observe the workings of the judicial system. The reports, which have documented these incidents around the State of Florida, addressed the barriers, which have left members of the public and press subject to the discretion of individual foreclosure judges to admit or exclude them from attending the judicial proceedings.
The heavy volume of foreclosure cases has led to difficulties finding judges and courtrooms to hear the cases. As a result, some cases are being held in chambers for lack of an available traditional courtroom. Bottom line is- the proceedings must be open, even if they are held temporarily in a smaller and less formal physical setting than usual. While ordinary and uniform security procedures are still necessary, the unavailability of a traditional courtroom cannot justify a deprivation of the rights established under Florida law and the U.S. Constitution. 
If you have any questions on this topic please feel free to contact bankruptcy and foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at

Credit, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Consumers Avoid Credit Card Spending This Holiday Season

As many consumers remain unemployed and are filing for bankruptcy at record rates, finding the extra cash for holiday shopping could prove difficult.
As we mentioned previously, fewer consumers will be turning to credit cards to purchase their holiday gifts this year. Financial experts say this trend will result in less spending overall, as consumers tend to spend less when they use cash than they would if they use credit. The good news is that many retailers are attempting to offset this revenue by offering sales and promotions.  However, how will the move away from spending affect our fragile economy? Without a doubt, the decreased spending will slow economic recovery. Still, while these responsible financial habits may thwart economic recovery in the short-term, economists say the “spend less, save more” mentality will benefit the economy in the long run. For example, consumers who save often have more money to spend in retirement. This can be a good situation for both the consumer and the economy.
Still, the financial security of the future seems quite far off for some struggling families. Many will become overwhelmed with the costs associated with the holidays, including food, decorations, gifts and travel. A director of an organization which provides debt and foreclosure counseling urges these individuals to be honest about their situations. She recommends telling family and friends there is a budget for the holidays, saying most people understand the holiday season is not about money and material possessions.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune “Retailers brace for shopping shift away from credit cards,” Lesley Mitchell, 20 November 2010

Timothy Kingcade Posts

Tips for Dealing with Debt Collectors from Consumer Ally

As a consumer, it is important to know your rights if you are receiving harassing calls from collection agencies. Even if you do owe money, you still have rights. Thanks to federal laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act consumers are protected from unscrupulous means of debt collection.
Below are some tips for dealing with debt collection calls and understanding the rules:
1.) Debt collection calls have limits. Collectors cannot call you before 8 AM or after 9 PM, or at your work.
2.) Do not ignore a debt collector, even if you do not believe you are responsible for the debt. The Federal Trade Commission advises that you send a letter by certified mail with a return receipt. After that, they cannot contact you again except under very specific circumstances, such as filing a lawsuit against you.
3.) Debt collectors cannot discuss your debt with just anyone. They can contact others about your debt, but only to find ways to contact you. They may not discuss your debt with anyone but the person who owes the money, their spouse or their lawyer.
4.) Notification must be in writing. After you have been called by a collector, they are required to notify you within 5 days in writing with a statement of what you owe and a means to object if you dispute the debt.
5.) Abusive debt collection practices are prohibited. Debt collectors are forbidden from harassment or abuse, including threats, obscenities and repeated phone calls.
6.) Debt collectors must identify themselves. Debt collectors are forbidden from misrepresenting who they are what you owe and that owing money is a crime.
7.) Interest rates capped. Collectors cannot charge interest above what is permitted by state law.
8.) Garnishment is restricted. Garnishment is allowed only if you are sued and lose and the court orders that action.
9.) As a consumer, you can sue. You can sue a debt collector for violating the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act for both damages suffered by their acts and for simply violating the rules. You can recover actual damages and up to $1,000, plus court costs and attorney fees if you win, even if you didn’t suffer a specific loss due to the collection activity.
To read more on this story you can visit…
If you have any questions on this topic please feel free to contact bankruptcy attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at

Florida Bar, Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Foreclosure Firms Face Action from the Florida Bar

This month, the Florida Bar investigated 43 reports of foreclosure fraud involving 32 lawyers. The investigation prompted the Florida Bar to add a new category solely for foreclosure fraud complaints. To find new cases, the head of the Florida Bar is asking judges around the state to report lawyers who break the rules, pointing specifically to news coverage of claims about foreclosure suits. Judges have been asked to send in copies of any orders they write that mention misconduct, in foreclosures or anywhere else.
Florida Attorney General, Bill McCollum’s office opened investigations of three high volume South Florida foreclosure firms which included: the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson, the Law Offices of David J. Stern, and Florida Default Law Group. It’s reported that fraud arguments are still rare in foreclosures, but recently Florida is seeing more defense lawyers trying them. It’s argued that for some, the goal is just to delay a foreclosure, not resolve the debt. Bad documentation isn’t evidence of fraud as much as a sign that law firms are trying to handle a lot of work fast and cheap.
To read more on this story, visit
 If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure, please feel free to contact foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at

Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Foreclosure Filings Fall Sharply as Lenders Continue to Sort through Faulty Foreclosure Documents

A recent article in the Miami Herald revealed the number of bank repossessions in South Florida fell sharply this past month according to a study conducted by real estate research firm, RealtyTrac.
With just under 20,000 foreclosures across South Florida, the region had the seventh highest foreclosure rate in the nation. One out of every 122 homes in South Florida was in some stage of foreclosure in October, the report found. After increasing steadily for months, bank repossessions fell 19.7 percent in Miami-Dade County in October compared to the previous month, dropping to 1,740. Monroe County had 98 foreclosures in October, down 38 percent for the month and down 47 percent from last October.
To read more on the story, please visit:
If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure, please feel free to contact foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at

Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts


To financially distressed homeowners, the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Plan – HAMP – can sound like a dream come true. The promise of a significantly reduced mortgage, accompanied by considerably lower monthly mortgage payments, raises homeowner hopes. However, recent reports show the program delivering on its promise for only a third of participating homeowners.
An analysis from Amherst Securities reveals HAMP’s success rate: just 32 percent of trial mortgage modifications begun will be converted to permanent modifications without defaults.
In other words, two-thirds of homeowners who enter the program either don’t get a permanent modification or they default on their modified loan.
Problems With the Program:
The Financial Times reports that one problem with HAMP is that it doesn’t reduce debt-to-income (DTI) ratios enough. Of the permanent HAMP modifications, the borrower’s DTI (including factors such as mortgages, credit card payments, taxes, insurance, car loans, etc.) dropped from 80 percent to 65 percent. Generally, anything above a 50 percent DTI level is considered unsustainable. (The government requires anyone applying for HAMP with a DTI at 55 percent or above to get credit counseling.)
Another HAMP problem: the principal reduction portion of the plan is voluntary and few lenders are willing to voluntarily reduce principals on houses. The Financial Times speculates that unless this portion of the program is at some point made mandatory – at least for especially distressed homeowners and mortgages – it appears unlikely to do much to stave off a second dip in the housing market and perhaps a second recession as well.
Mortgage Modification can Hurt Credit
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that mortgage modifications link to the complex credit reporting system, causing long-term financial damage to homeowners. The credit code used when the three-month HAMP trial modification begins signifies to the credit industry that a borrower is making reduced payments, even if the homeowner isn’t delinquent when beginning the HAMP process.
Many financial professionals tell clients that bankruptcy can be a safer route to fiscal stability than a mortgage modification; The Wall Street Journal points out that some consumers will even see a rise in their credit scores after declaring bankruptcy.
Protecting Assets in Bankruptcy
Consumers saddled with large credit card debts or medical debt often find that Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides a way out from under the debt. Florida bankruptcy law provides exemptions for a number of assets, enabling many borrowers deeply in debt to protect the following:
Their home
401k savings
Pension plans
Social Security benefits
Workers’ compensation
Supplemental Security Income
Prepaid school tuition
To learn more about whether a mortgage modification is right for you or if bankruptcy might be the better solution, contact a Miami bankruptcy attorney for an assessment of your bankruptcy eligibility.


Renters Threatened as a Result of the Foreclosure Crisis

Not even renters are safe when it comes to the recent foreclosure crisis. At the start of the recession, reports of tenants being blindsided by foreclosure notices were not unusual. The problem prompted President Obama to sign the federal “Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act” in 2009, which requires tenants receive a 90-day notice if they are being evicted due to foreclosure, and that most existing leases for renters be honored up to the end of their term.
However, experts say even with this law in place, “Individual landlords- people who own one, two, or three properties is where there lies more risk for renters.” This problem is made even worse when foreclosure is coupled with Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection for the landlord. This gives a property owner pretty much a get-out-of-jail-free card, which can impact a tenant’s lease term and agreement. The “shadow market” which are houses, which would be on the market if their owners felt they could sell the properties, leave some renters wondering if they’ll ever get back their security deposits, advanced rent payments and other out-of-pocket expenses.
To read more on this story, please visit:
If you have any questions on this topic, please feel free to contact foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at


New Trend in Foreclosure Filings

Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona remain the states with the highest rates of foreclosure, accounting for 19 of the top 20 metropolitan areas, according to RealtyTrac Inc. But the latest data show that many of the metro areas in those states saw a decline in the number of households receiving foreclosure-related filings, while many cities in other states saw a substantial increase in foreclosure filings.
This trend is the latest sign that the nation’s foreclosure crisis is worsening as homeowners facing high unemployment, slow job growth and uncertainty about home prices continue to fall behind on their mortgage payments. Eleven out of the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas saw foreclosure activity increase in the third quarter compared to the same period last year.
The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area registered the sharpest annual increase – 71 percent. One in every 129 households received a foreclosure filing. The Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metropolitan area posted the second-highest annual jump, a 35 percent increase. One in every 84 households received a foreclosure notice.
Rounding out the rest of the top 10 metro areas with the highest foreclosure rate were Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; Modesto, Calif.; Stockton, Calif.; Merced, Calif.; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.; Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.; Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.; Bakersfield, Calif.; and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.
To read more about this story, please visit:
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, P.A. website at


Improper Documentation for Foreclosure Proceedings

As a consequence of the fallout that marked the frenzy of the subprime mortgage era, banks and mortgage servicers are finding themselves accused of fraud in trying to foreclose on properties while using falsified documentation. In a number of cases in Florida and other states where the foreclosure process must proceed through the courts, they are being charged with presenting forged documents of assignment.
Millions of loans were processed very quickly during the heyday of interest-only and other questionable loan practices, and some mortgages were sold hundreds or even thousands of times with incomplete information or documentation so that it became impossible to determine when or to whom the mortgage was sold.
Consequently, mortgage servicers have been trying to recreate loan documents by supplying phony stamps used by financial companies to simulate proof of assignments and by randomly changing the identity of a mortgage holder when it could not verify its ownership.
When consumers in Florida, Maryland and other states began challenging the foreclosures in court, the forgeries were uncovered. Banks have been undoubtedly under pressure to provide evidence of ownership of these loans in which incomplete documents were filed.
Many lenders and banks used a service from Docx, the nation’s largest lien release processor and a subsidiary of Lender Processing Services, to provide document and assignment services for banks and mortgage lenders. With no evidence of ownership or assignment of many of these loans, Docx is accused of scrambling to fabricate documents of assignment to satisfy the requirements for foreclosure in court. The company is presently under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors.
In February 2010, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a lender now has to verify that it had all the proper documents before a foreclosure can proceed. Failure to do so can subject the lender or bank to charges of perjury. In a number of cases, judges have invalidated the foreclosures and returned the properties to the borrowers. In other cases, judges are holding hearings to determine if the lenders have attempted to perpetrate a fraud on the court by presenting fabricated documents.
Under fire, a number of large lenders, such as JP Chase Morgan, Bank of America and GMAC, recently suspended foreclosure proceedings in certain states, pending review of their files to find potential errors. Proceedings were only halted in certain states because not every jurisdiction has a law requiring that foreclosure proceedings to go through court; foreclosures continue to be processed in the states without judicial foreclosure laws.
Because the use of fraudulent documents of assignment is on the rise, it is important to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney if you are served foreclosure papers. Even if your mortgage documents are not falsified, you may still have options to save your home.


Banks and other Financial Firms under Federal Investigation for using Fraudulent Court Documents to Foreclose on People’s Homes

A recent story in the Washington Post reports that a federal investigation is underway to determine whether banks and other financial firms broke U.S. law when using fraudulent court documents to foreclose on people’s homes. The criminal investigation is focused on whether companies misled federal housing agencies, and whether the firms committed wire or mail fraud in filing false paperwork.
The Obama administration is seeking to send the message that it will hold banks accountable for illegal foreclosures. The investigation will likely be a lengthy one and target banks, independent mortgage servicers, law firms and other companies involved in the foreclosure process.
Beyond the investigation, federal agencies could take regulatory steps to address misdeeds. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Ginnie Mae, which packages and sells FHA-backed mortgages, could require banks to change their practices and impose financial penalties if firms choose to violate the rules.
Some major banks (i.e. – Bank of America) are preparing to submit new paperwork and resume the process of seizing homes in Florida and other states which require a judge’s approval.
To read more on this story, please visit:
If you have any questions on this topic feel free to contact foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at