Sunday, November 24, 2019

Avoid Bankruptcy Scammers

It seems that whenever folks are desperate for help there is always a potential for unscrupulous entities swooping in. For example, in a recent case in Detroit, MI a petition preparer was sentenced to four (4) years in prison for violating various bankruptcy court orders.
In 2012, a Maryland individual who posed as an attorney and filed numerous cases was shutdown by the the Maryland bankruptcy court and ordered to pay hundreds of thousands in fines. This individual had apparently even decorated his office with law books to create an air of legitimacy.
How to Avoid Scammers

Another Bank Settles with Fannie and Freddie

Credit Suisse to pay $234 million to Fannie Mae and $651 million to Freddie Mac

Federal Housing Finance Agency has recovered more than $10.1 billion from banks over the sale of toxic mortgage backed securities.

Settlements have also being reached with Wells Fargo & Co, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup Inc, Deutsche Bank AG, and Morgan Stanley. So basically most major banks were involved here. Outstanding lawsuit include the behemoth that is Bank of America Corp

Motion for Relief from Stay


In an ideal world, mail from creditors and debt collectors should stop after your chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed. Sometimes, creditors and debt collectors are slow to stop the collection letters but usually this can be dealt with in a simple phone call.

For secured creditors such as car lenders and mortgage lenders the communication is more intense and ongoing. These lenders want to know whether you intend to keep or surrender the car or home. Secondly, they want to make sure the property is in a safe situation including things such as ensuring the insurance is up to date.

Protect your Tax Refund in Bankruptcy

One universal fear whenever folks are thinking of filing bankruptcy is whether they are going to lose their valued possessions. For most folks they are worried about losing their home, car or tax refunds.

Most folks are relieved to know that just because you file for bankruptcy does not mean you lose everything. The law has a way to protect some of your property. This is accomplished through the of exemptions. Exemptions are laws that keep certain property out of bankruptcy and reach of your creditors. The exemptions vary by state and therefore you have to ensure you understand what state’s exemptions you can use.

GM Recall – Reference Guide

As you may know from media reports, General Motors has issued some of the largest recalls in the country. The first recall deal with a condition with the ignition switch that may cause the keys to unintentionally move or switch to the “accessory” or “off” position, turning off the engine and most of the electrical components of the vehicle.

Citi Settles with Investors

Citigroup has agreed to pay $1.13 billion to settle claims by investors who demanded that it buy back billions in residential mortgage-backed securities. The bank reached an agreement with institutional investors who purchased over $59 billion in home-loans-backed securities from 2005 to 2008. For the full story go to Dealbook.

Goes to show the power of clout and sophistication in the mortage game. Institutional investors have the skills and money to go after Citi and bring them to the table. The average homeowner however is lucky enough to have access to a pro bono or volunteer group offering mortgage assistance because he or she cannot afford to retain a lawyer while keeping the lights on. The foreclosure crisis is not a hot as it was couple of years ago, but hundreds if not thousand of homeowners across Maryland continue to face the threat of default and eventually foreclosure. Loan modifications are slow to come and when they do the terms are often untenable, setting the homeowner for further default just a couple of months down the road.

Stecklow – Debtor Doesn’t Have to Re-Open No Asset Case to Include Unscheduled Creditors

Debtors filed motion to reopen Chapter 7 case. The Bankruptcy Court, Paul Mannes, Chief Judge, held that debtors would not be allowed to reopen “no asset” Chapter 7 case to add previously unscheduled and unnoticed creditors to schedule of creditors holding unsecured nonpriority claims.


http://www.mdb.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/images/opinions/In%20re%20Stecklow.pdf


90 Day Wage Garnishment in Chapter 7

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A. (USA), *
f/k/a NationsBank, N.A. *
*
Appellant, *
*
v. * Civil JFM-99-3678
*
KENNETH W. STINE, *
*
Appellee. *
*
*****
OPINION
This bankruptcy appeal presents the question of whether a Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtor,
exercising the avoidance power conferred upon him by 11 U.S.C. § 522(h), may recover wages
garnished by a judgment creditor within the ninety-day preference period. The bankruptcy court,
answering this question in the affirmative, held that the debtor, Kenneth W. Stine, was entitled to
recover $1,064.05 that NationsBank had obtained from him pursuant to wage attachments. I find that
Stine may avoid the garnishments as preferential transfers but that he must count the $1,064.05 against
the $6,000 limit on exemptions imposed by Maryland law upon bankruptcy debtors. Since the
bankruptcy court did not address the latter point, I will remand the case for the entry of an appropriate
order.

Understanding Debts in Bankruptcy

For a Baltimore and Maryland individuals and couples looking into bankruptcy, the way to understand your debts is to ask yourself the following two questions:
Can I wipe the debt off(discharge)?

Do I want to save the property tied to a debt?

Maryland Foreclosure Lawyer

Common Terms

The fear of losing one’s home can be a terrifying reality. Knowing your options in such circumstances is a must, and acting quickly is important to potentially save your home or, at least, get out of the mortgage with as much dignity and money as possible.
For Baltimore and Maryland individuals and couples facing foreclosure, the way to understanding is by reading the information below.
This is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.  For advice, please contact Joseph K. Githuku, LLC online or by telephone at 410-849-9529.

 I just received an Order to Docket Foreclosure. What should I do?

You have no need to fear moving at this point in the process. You have much longer in your home than you might expect. In Maryland, a bank must go through a judicial process before it can repossess a borrower’s home. During this process, the borrower remains the record title owner to the property. This means that you still have time to obtain a loan modification, perform a sale or short sale of the home, or save the house via a strategically-filed bankruptcy. It also means that you remain responsible for any homeowner or condo association assessments.
When you receive the order to docket foreclosure, the most important thing you can do is to follow up immediately.  You have 30 days from receipt of summons to respond to the complaint.  It is wise to consult with a qualified foreclosure attorney as soon as possible to determine the best course of action for your particular case and to begin that process.

How long do I have in my home?

It depends upon your specific circumstances. The sooner you seek help, the more options are available to you and the more time you have to act. The 2009 changes to foreclosure law gives you certain rights and protections including mediation that have strict deadlines. It also means the foreclosure process takes a little bit longer than in the past.

From Meeting of Creditors to Discharge

MEETING OF CREDITORS

Typically 30-45 days after the case is filed,  a meeting of creditors is held. Debtor must attend the meeting of creditors and testify as to his or her case under oath. The trustee, U.S. trustee,  and creditors have the right to question the debtor about the facts of the case.  11 U.S.C. § 343. The trustee will normally seek to verify and clarify the information provided in a debtor’s petition. Most trustee’s also have a set of interrogatories or questions that the debtor must complete before or on the day of the meeting of creditors to go along with the answers put on the record. For most debtors, the meeting lasts about ten (10) minutes.
If the trustee is satisfied in the debtor’s responses and find that there are no assets available to pay off creditors, then he or she will conclude the meeting. Otherwise, a meeting will be held open or even debtors may be required to return for further examination and submission of requested documents. Most trustees, in my experience, will take detailed written explanations and documentation to resolve issues before calling for a second meeting of creditors.
In Maryland, meetings of creditors are held in the U.S. District Court House in Baltimore, in Greenbelt, at 6305 Ivy Lane (not the Courthouse building), Hagerstown and Salisbury.

Maryland DUI Lawyer

If you are charged and convicted for DUI in Maryland, you face serious consequences. Hiring a knowledgeable DUI lawyer as soon as possible is advisable to ensure your opportunity to minimize the fall out or dismiss the charges altogether.
The penalties you are likely to face include license suspension and maybe time in jail for repeat offenders or those with extenuating circumstances such as injuries to a third party. It goes without saying that if your are charged with DUI or DWI, you should immediately go to work preparing your defense.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Baltimore Bankruptcy Lawyer – Chapter 13

(Reorganization)

As for those individuals living in the Baltimore area who exceed the income requirements of a chapter 7, you may eligible to file chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also referred to as re-organization and it involves consolidation of your debts into one single payment plan that is either a 3 or 5 year plan, to help you pay back part of the debt.
A Baltimore area individual filing this type of bankruptcy can save a home from foreclosure by paying back missed mortgage payments over the course of the reorganization plan. Once you have made all payments required under the plan and the money has been paid to your creditors, you will receive a discharge. It is possible that some of your debts may be eliminated without paying anything on them.
You may also be able to pay less than what you owe on your property because the law allows you to pay only the fair market value. For example, you own a vehicle for which you paid $25,000.00 and you owe $15, 000.00 on it. However, the vehicle is now only worth $10, 000.00. Chapter 13 allows you to reduce your balance to what the vehicle is worth and any amount above the $10K is treated as unsecured debt, which means you only pay a small percentage of it back. This process is known as ‘cram down’.

Statute of Limitations for Collecting Debt

Statue of Limitations

Statutes of limitations tell the parties the drop dead date of when a certain type of action can be filed with the court. The idea being that parties ought to live without the never ending threat of litigation. Therefore, if you have a claim you must act before the statute of limitations expire or stand to lose the right to prosecute the claim.
Collection of debt has a statute of limitations just like bring a personal injury action does. Therefore, a creditor has to file a law suit within the time frame or lose the right to do. In Maryland, the statute of limitations requires that a law suit be filed within:
  1. 3 years for written contracts,
  2. 3 years also applies to credit card. To determine, the 3 years you need to look at the date of the last activity on the account or the date the account was written off as a bad debt.
  3. Breach of contract under any sale of goods and services under the UCC: 4 years after the cause of action, even if the aggrieved party is unaware of the breach.
  4. Promissory notes or instruments under seal, bonds, judgments, recognizance, contracts under seal, or other specialties: 12 years.

New FHA Guidelines Soften the Impact of Economic Related Credit Issues

New FHA Guidelines Soften the Impact of Economic Related Credit Issues
The Federal Housing Agency (FHA) issued new guidelines as a response to the wave of recession driven bankruptcies, late payments, loan modifications and short-sales. The new guidelines allow borrower who can show that they have recovered from an economic hit to qualify for FHA backed loans. Some of the important aspects of the new guidelines are listed here.
FHA allows borrowers who allege that their credit problems were the result of loss of income or employment  to apply for FHA loans as long as they can show that:
  • the bad credit such as late payments, bankruptcies and short sales were the result of a Loss of Employment or a significant loss of Household Income beyond the borrower’s control;
  •  the borrower has recovered from the loss of income or employment; and,
  • the borrower has taken housing counseling within 6 months of application.

Maryland Bankruptcy Exemptions

Maryland Bankruptcy Exemptions are as Follows:

Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Section 11-504. Article – Courts and Judicial Proceedings


§ 11-504.
(a)      (1)      In this section, the following terms have the meanings indicated.

(2)      “Value” means fair market value as of the date upon which the execution or other judicial process becomes effective against the property of the debtor, or the date of filing the petition under the federal Bankruptcy Code.

Litigation


Fighting for You In and Out of Court
1. Small Business Litigation
I can help defend you and your business against malicious attacks. In addition, if you have a claim, I can aggressively protect your rights.

Glossary of Bankruptcy Terms

341 Meeting
A meeting of creditors at which the debtor is questioned under oath by creditors, a trustee, examiner, or the United States trustee about his/her financial affairs

Adversary Proceeding
A lawsuit arising in or related to a bankruptcy case that is commenced by filing a complaint with the bankruptcy court.

Assume
An agreement to continue performing duties under a contract or lease.

Automatic Stay
An injunction that automatically stops lawsuits, foreclosure, garnishments and all collection activity against the debtor the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed.

FDCPA Lawyer

Consumer Rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act regulates the debt collection industry. Specifically, it targets third-party debt collectors working with consumers. Commercial debts or creditors collecting their own debts are not subject to the FDCPA. Among other things, the Act forbids debt collectors from employing harassing, oppressive, or abusive practices; making misleading or deceptive representations; and using unfair or unconscionable means to collect debts.

Mandatory Validation Notices

Under the Act, debt collectors must send consumers “validation notices” containing certain information about their alleged debts and consumers’ rights. Id. § 1692g(a).  Debt collectors are required to send this notice within
five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt,” unless the required information was “contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt.” Id. § 1692g(a). Most debt collectors will send the notice in the first written communication.
The notice must disclose:
  1. “the amount of the debt” and
  2. “the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed,” and
  3. must advise the consumer of her rights to dispute the debt and to request “the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.” Id.

Documents Needed to Review Your Case

Documents Required to Review Your Bankruptcy Case

As your Maryland bankruptcy lawyer, I need the following documents and information to determine whether or not I can help you with your bankruptcy case. It may take some time  to get everything together but it is critical that you get everything so that I can properly asses your situation. The following documents are required:
  1. Six (6) months proof of income – Pay stubs or Profit and Loss Statements
  2. 3 Credit Reports
  3. 3 of the most recent tax returns
  4. Photo ID and Social Security Card – A valid form of photographic identification and Social Security Card or W2 is required to hold your meeting of creditors.
  5. 4 most recent bank statements
  6. Mortgage Payoff Statement
  7. Car payoff statement
  8. Deed
  9. Deed of Trust
  10. Titles to Vehicles
  11. Appraisals
  12. Zillow.com for real estate property
    Kelly Blue Book or NADA for vehicles
  13. Our completed questionnaire – Intake Doc

Avoid Bankruptcy Scammers

It seems that whenever folks are desperate for help there is always a potential for unscrupulous entities swooping in. For example, in a ...