Blogs

1 month 2 days ago

While there is an age requirement to vote, consume alcohol, or drive a car, the Bankruptcy Code does not require an individual to be a certain age to file for bankruptcy. However, even though there is no legal requirement under federal law, state laws make filing for bankruptcy at a young age impractical. In California, […]
The post Is There an Age Requirement for Filing for Bankruptcy in California? appeared first on The Bankruptcy Group, P.C..


1 month 1 week ago

Today marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month! We celebrate this month to recognize the achievements of inspiring Hispanic Americans! Check out these festive local events for the next month in the Dallas – Forth Worth, Texas area.

We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success.

For more information on Hispanic Heritage Month, please check out: https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/
Dallas / Fort Worth Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations
Canto y Grito – Celebrando Nat’l Hispanic Heritage Month
Enjoy performances: Poetry, DJ, Ballet Folklorico, Mariachi- On the cool breeze, starry sky, free parking, food & drink.
-Where: Latino Cultural Center, 2600 Live Oak Street, Dallas, TX, USA
-When: September 15, 2021 (6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.)
-Cost: $5
-For more info: Click here!
DANCE CARDIO: Fiesta Latina with Social Joy
We’re taking one of Dallas’s best dance-fitness classes outside to kick off Latinx Heritage Month! Experience a true outdoor dance cardio party with popular Zumba® instructor and Fitness Ambassador Martha Palacios (@fitwithmartha) in downtown’s Klyde Warren Park.
– Where: Kylde Warren Park
-When: September 15, 2021 ( 7:00 p.m.- 7:45 p.m.)
-Cost: Free (Must register here)
-For more info: Click here!
Latino Heritage Festival – DeSoto
Join us under the covered outdoor Amphitheater at DeSoto Town Center as we enjoy the sounds of local and national Latin recording artists. Bring your lawn chairs and prepare for an evening full of live music, great food, a variety of vendors and fun for the entire family.
-Where: DeSoto Amphitheater, 211 E. Pleasant Run Road
-When: September 18, 2021 (6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. | Gates open at 5:00 p.m.)
-Cost: Free
-For more info: Click here!
Hispanic Heritage Celebration – Grand Prairie
-Where: Grand Prairie Farmer’s Market, 120 W. Main St
-When: Saturday, September 25, 2021 (8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
-Cost: Free
-For more info: Click here!
The post Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations in DFW appeared first on Allmand Law Firm, PLLC.



1 month 1 week ago


The Massachusetts Attorney General recently settled a major consumer fraud case against subprime auto lender Credit Acceptance Corporation.
The case is long and complicated, but the issue that caught my eye is the argument about the true purchase price of a vehicle.
For example, assume a dealer sells a vehicle for $10,000 and the buyer signs an 18% loan spread over 60 months at $253.93 per month.  Then, assume the dealer immediately sells the loan to a subprime lender for $8,000 cash.
What is the true purchase price of the vehicle? Is it $8,000 or is it $10,000.
FORM OVER SUBSTANCE
I would argue the true sales price is $8,000 because that is what the dealer actually received. In fact, I’m quite certain the dealer would report on its tax return that the vehicle was sold for $8,000.  And the financial records subprime lender probably reports that it acquired the loan for $8,000 as well.  So, isn’t that the true sales price?
But all the purchase documents state a purchase price of $10,000.  All the finance charges and disclosure statements say the cost was $10,000 and that the interest rate is only 18%.
If, however, substance rules over form, both the car dealer and the subprime lender have a major problem. The problem is that they are lying about the true sales price of the vehicle and the true interest rate being charged.  If the true sales price is $8,000, then the actual interest rate is actually 29%, not 18%.  And by failing to disclose the true interest rate, the dealer and lender have committed a violation of the Truth in Lending Act disclosure.
CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY ISSUE
Determining the real purchase price of a vehicle also has importance in a chapter 13 case when the vehicle was purchased within 910 days of filing bankruptcy. Under Section 1325(a)(9) of the Bankruptcy Code, a debtor must pay a lender the current balance of the loan, even if the vehicle is worth less than the balance of the loan.
So it makes a BIG difference if the actual loan amount is $8,000 instead of $10,000.  It also makes a big difference if the true interest rate is 29% and not 18%.
The legal consequence of violating Nebraska laws on usury is that a creditor is entitled to no interest at all.  See Nebraska Statute 45-1024. (“If any amount, in excess of the charges permitted, is charged, contracted for, or received, the loan contract shall not on that account be void, but the licensee shall have no right to collect or receive any interest or other charges whatsoever.”)
Interest rates for installment loans in Nebraska are capped at 24% on the fist $1,000 and 21% on balances above 21%.  If Nebraska Courts rule that the true purchase price of a car is $8,000 and not $10,000, that automatically triggers a violation of these interest rate caps.
So, in theory, a debtor could propose to pay off the car loan at $8,000 and offer no interest to the creditor as a penalty for violating Nebraska Statute 45-1024.  That’s a big deal.
WILL THE COURTS BUY THE ARUGUMENT?
Our courts have routinely ruled that we apply the law to the facts at hand and disregard the forms of a transaction. Labels do not control.

  • Lease to Own Transactions:  The most common form over substance transaction we find is where a creditor tries to disguise a purchase in the form of a lease. Several years ago I litigated against a company called Cash In a Flash Inc. that disguised high interest rate title loans in the form of a lease.  The Nebraska bankruptcy court  and Nebraska Department of Banking ruled that the transactions were really loans and the lender had violated Truth in Lending disclosure requirements.
  • Reasonable Compensation:  Tax courts routinely take issue with business owners who evade payment of Social Security taxes by paying themselves artificially low salaries.
  • IRS Disguised Sales Rules: The IRS commonly recharacterizes transactions between partners under Section 707 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Time Sale Transaction:  “It appears quite clearly that the transaction was a loan to Jones disguised as a conditional or time sale with defendant as surety or guarantor. As such it is usurious and subject to the forfeiture of interest. See §§ 45–105 and 45–138(3), R.R.S.1943.” Midstates Acceptance v. Voss, 202 N.W.2d 822, 189 Neb. 411 (Neb. 1972).  Midstates Accceptance v. Voss, 202 N.W. 2d 822, 189 Neb. 411 (Neb. 1972)

But when it comes to the subprime auto lending two-step dance, our courts fail to confront the nonsense of these transactions.

Overcharging is not in itself usury

The Michigan bankruptcy court confronted this issue in the case of Allen-Morris v. Nicholas Fin., Inc. (In re Allen-Morris), 523 B.R. 532 (E.D. Mich. 2014).  In that case the debtor claimed that the auto dealership was inflating the price of the auto to disguise a usurious rate of interest (above 25%).  The debtor attempted to prove the hidden interest rate by relying on NADA and Kelly Blue Book values to prove the cars were sold at inflated prices.
The bankruptcy court disagreed, and on appeal the district court ruled  that “overcharging is not in itself usury.”  The court also stated that “even overcharging solely because a product is being sold on credit rather than for cash in not in itself usury.” However, the court also stated that the debtor did not allege that he was forced to purchase the vehicle at an inflated price to secure the loan, so perhaps the door is not completely shut on this argument.
LESSONS LEARNED: SHOP FOR THE LOAN BEFORE SHOPPING FOR THE VEHICLE
What I take away from this is that it is so important to shop for the auto loan before shopping for the vehicle itself.
There is an incestuous relationship between car dealers and subprime lenders. In the above example the car dealer is clearly selling the vehicle for $8,000, but the bill of sale says $10,000.  It is also clear that the dealer does not care if the buyer pays the $8,000 cash or if it is paid by the subprime lender. The case price is $8,000.
I suspect that most buyers would object to paying 29% interest on a car loan. But from what I can see, if your credit is hurting and you agree to finance a car at 18% interest, chances are you are really paying 29% but just don’t realize it.
Cash talks. When consumers walk onto a car lot with their loan already secured, they tend to negotiate lower prices.  Instead of paying $10,000 they negotiate the price down to $8,000.
Never depend on a car dealer to supply financing. Always shop the loan before shopping the car.
 
Image courtesy Flickr and Nicole Yeary.
 
 
 
 
 
 


1 month 1 week ago

Why does New York state sue its college students? Thousands have been taken to court, and can defend themselves only in Albany — even if they live hundreds of miles away? 
This article can be found at Hechinger Report at  https://hechingerreport.org/new-york-states-attorney-general-sues-suny-s...


1 month 1 week ago

Clark Howard shares some advice on how to improve credit scores.
In order to improve your credit score, it is important to understand the factors that go into calculating your score. The chart below shows the 5 factors that go into improving credit. It also shows how much each factor matters when it comes to improving credit scores.
Credit Score FactorsPayment History– This factor is the most important factor. “Not paying your bills on time can do serious damage to your credit score. Even if you’ve had some late payments in the past, you can improve your score going forward by paying each and every bill on time. Not paying your bills on time can do serious damage to your credit score. Even if you’ve had some late payments in the past, you can improve your score going forward by paying each and every bill on time.”
Amounts Owed– This is the second most important factor. This factor is calculated as a percentage. “The amount you owe divided by the total amount of credit you have available. It’s best to keep this under 30% — even better if you can keep it under 10%. So if your total credit line (between all of your credit cards and other loans) is $10,000, it’s good to owe less than $3,000 and great if you owe less than $1,000.”
Length of Credit History– The next most important factor is how long you’ve had credit. “This is determined by the date you opened your oldest credit account that’s still active. Since you can’t go back in time and open an account any earlier, the most important thing you can do in this area is to make sure you don’t close any of your old accounts.”
New Credit & Credit Mix– New credit & the type of credit amount for 10% each. New credit is credit that you’ve recently applied for. Any time you apply for credit, your score will drop. It won’t take long to recover. Just remember to only apply for credit you really need. “Your credit mix refers to the different types of credit you have.” Someone with just credit cards will be less favorable than someone with credit cards, a mortgage, and a car loan.
Bankruptcy is also a fast way you can fix your score! How? Click here to find out more!
.fusion-button.button-1 {border-radius:2px;}Read The Full Article.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 0px !important;margin-right : 1.92%;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 0px !important;margin-left : 1.92%;}@media only screen and (max-width:1138px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:900px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}.fusion-body .fusion-flex-container.fusion-builder-row-1{ padding-top : 0px;margin-top : 0px;padding-right : 0px;padding-bottom : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;padding-left : 0px;}
The post How You Can Improve Your Credit Score! appeared first on Allmand Law Firm, PLLC.



3 weeks 6 days ago

Debt relief solutions
Debt relief, debt adjusting, or debt settlement services are often offered by companies that claim that they can negotiate with your creditors to reduce the amount you owe. Aside from the fact that there are many caveats, it is essential to remember that debt forgiveness may come with certain tax consequences. If the creditor forgives a portion of your debt, it could be counted as taxable income on your federal income taxes. 
It is best to seek legal advice before agreeing to work with any debt settlement company with these things in mind. Consider all of your options, including negotiating directly with the debt collector or creditor or filing for bankruptcy instead. A trusted Oregon bankruptcy attorney can explain the pros and cons of your legal options and explain how a forgiven debt can affect your federal income tax.
 
Debt Relief Solutions
Debt relief solutions are often advertised by companies who claim that they can settle, renegotiate, or in some way change the terms of debt with a creditor or debt collector. Dealing with debt settlement companies is often confused with debt consolidation, but the two have significant differences and risk levels.
The term ‘debt consolidation’ refers to a process of taking out a loan at a relatively low interest rate and using the borrowed funds to pay off debts with high-interest rates. Considering its original meaning, consolidating debts enables a debtor to replace multiple monthly bills with one predictable monthly payment. This can save you money by reducing the interest you pay over time and simplifying your bill-paying and budgeting routines.
Debt consolidation is often preferred over the services offered by debt relief companies. They often make payments to creditors on your behalf through the single monthly payment made to them.
 
Things to Consider When Looking Into Debt Relief Solutions
It is crucial to exercise due diligence before dealing with debt relief companies that promise unrealistically huge savings by renegotiating debt with creditors. Your credit report is subject to considerable risk in some cases, but you could still face financially unfavorable circumstances. You may consider many options to get your debts under control, but for some people, debt relief services are not advisable.
In general, credit scores are significantly affected when entries in your credit report are new. Most of the time, before debtors consider debt relief, their credit reports have already been negatively affected by late or missed payments. The severity of their impact will depend on the nature and number of negative entries and how high your score was before you began struggling with debt repayment. While your credit score will gradually improve, some of the entries will stay for several years.
 
Alternatives to Debt Relief Services
While some people are indeed able to reach their goals through debt relief companies, there are other ways of dealing with your secured and unsecured debts.
There is a small number of debt management programs offered by non-profit debt management organizations. Some volunteer credit counselors can help you organize your budget and take control of your debts. 
Others may even work with your creditors to develop extended repayment schedules or interest rate reductions that can help you pay your debts in full. These, however, would involve paying off what you owe, and these organizations may be loaded with cases.
Meanwhile, having a balance transfer credit card is a somewhat less risky version of debt consolidation. This involves moving debt from one or more high-interest credit card accounts to a lower interest card account, particularly one with a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) on balance transfers. The catch, however, is that such a card would require good credit, which you might no longer have. Additionally, failure to pay off your balance transfer within the introductory period could lead to unwanted fees and interest charges.
 
Filing Bankruptcy
In many cases, the best option to deal with overwhelming unsecured and secured debts is to file for bankruptcy. Due to automatic stay, it is a reasonably quick way to get rid of the stress brought about by constant calls and letters from debt collectors. Additionally, while a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition can remain on your credit report for several years, its negative effect lessens over time. The eventual rebuilding of your credit and borrowing power can be difficult but not impossible.
 
Seek Legal Help from Hands-on Oregon Bankruptcy Lawyers
Debt settlement can get expensive due to the fees that debt relief companies charge. Additionally, if a settlement company succeeds in having your debt forgiven. In that case, your debt may be treated as income for purposes when calculating your federal income tax. You could end up paying at least a portion of a forgiven debt to the IRS, depending on your earnings, deductions, and tax bracket.
If your income and other financial circumstances make it almost impossible for you to pay even renegotiated debts, filing for bankruptcy may be your only choice. Here, a reliable Portland bankruptcy law firm can help. Consult with a dedicated Oregon bankruptcy lawyer at Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm today.
The post How Do Debt Relief Services Work? appeared first on Portland Bankruptcy Attorney | Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm.


1 month 2 weeks ago

five-star“Diane is an excellent Bankruptcy Attorney – five stars  ” M.W.
guideFive stars.  Diane is an excellent Bankruptcy Attorney. She guided my wife and I through the entire process.
We highly recommend her to anyone who needs to file a bankruptcy. M.W.
.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 20px;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 0px !important;margin-right : 1.92%;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 0px !important;margin-left : 1.92%;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}.fusion-body .fusion-flex-container.fusion-builder-row-1{ padding-top : 0px;margin-top : 0px;padding-right : 0px;padding-bottom : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;padding-left : 0px;}
The post She guided us through the entire process – five stars appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney.


1 month 2 weeks ago

five-star“You can feel confident in her ability to provide you with any and all answers that may arise.  ” D.L.
I can’t say enough about the professionalism for Diane Drain and Jay. She helped me maneuver the process of Bankruptcy through an unusual situation. I highly recommend Diane Drain. You can feel confident in her ability to provide you with any and all answers that may arise. Don’t hesitate to call her. D.L.
.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 20px;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 0px !important;margin-right : 1.92%;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 0px !important;margin-left : 1.92%;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}.fusion-body .fusion-flex-container.fusion-builder-row-1{ padding-top : 0px;margin-top : 0px;padding-right : 0px;padding-bottom : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;padding-left : 0px;}
The post Diane Helped me Maneuver the Process of Bankruptcy Through an Unusual Situation appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney.


1 month 2 weeks ago

five-starWe highly recommend Diane Drain IF you are looking for the educated, knowledgeable, honest and transparent (and very fairly priced) attorney! ” P.R.

“We had recently relocated to Arizona from the Chicago area when we realized we had to face up to our financial problems, rather than run away from them. Our Chicago attorney was helpful in assisting us in choosing the right bankruptcy attorney – boy did he pick the perfect person!! Diane talked us through every step of the process! Our emotional ups and downs were frequent, and her patience was unwavering!  We highly recommend Diane Drain IF you are looking for the educated, knowledgeable, honest and transparent (and very fairly priced) attorney!  If you want a flash in the pan, “Bankruptcy for $199″ and get it done in 72 hours” good luck to you!  Diane has earned high praises from our other attorney, our accountant and our Chicago attorney, who has her on his referral list for clients moving to Arizona. 
Bankruptcy is a big deal and not something to put in the hands of anyone less than the best!” P.R.

 
.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 20px;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 0px !important;margin-right : 1.92%;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 0px !important;margin-left : 1.92%;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}.fusion-body .fusion-flex-container.fusion-builder-row-1{ padding-top : 0px;margin-top : 0px;padding-right : 0px;padding-bottom : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;padding-left : 0px;}
The post Our Emotional Ups and Downs Were Frequent, and Her Patience Was Unwavering! appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney.


1 month 2 weeks ago

The New York Post reveals that lawyers have collected a mere $1.4 million for the attendees of Fyre Festival after 4 years of trying to collect funds. After subtracting the funds for the legal team, attendees are to split $300,000. This will leave about 4 cents on the dollar for the ticket holders. Ticket holders claim they are owed $7 million.

In The Know: Fyre Festival was a failed music festival created by entrepreneur Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule. Fyre Festival was advertised as a luxury music festival in the Bahamas. Celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski promoted the festival. Bands such as Blink-182 and Major Lazer were scheduled to perform. Festival attendees spent $1,200 minimum on tickets with additional packages costing up to $100,000. Attendees arrived at the festival expecting luxury accommodations and food. Instead, they found cold cheese sandwiches and FEMA tents to sleep in. All musical acts bailed & the models failed to disclose that they were paid to promote the festival. Attendees were left confused and with no real place to stay.
McFarland is now serving a six-year jail sentence for fraud.

Fyre Festival’s bankruptcy trustee Gregory Messner claims over the last four years he has tried to collect money from the models & bands who benefited from this scheme. Messner claims Kendall Jenner coughed up less than half of the money she was paid for promoting the event. Emily Ratajkowski gave back a measly 10% of the money she earned and Blink-182 gave back more than half of the money. McFarland did nothing to help recover funds and barely kept any books and records that could help track down any additional person who benefited from this disastrous scheme.
Messner is looking into whether documentary footage from Netflix and Hulu is estate property. Otherwise, he aims to earn the court’s approval to close the case as soon as possible.
From the Article:

“Bankruptcy expert Adam Stein-Sapir thinks the burned Fyre Festival creditors who stand to get paid should count themselves lucky, despite the pitiful recovery. ‘The reality is that there were almost no business records to speak of, no paper trail showing exactly how money came in and where it went, so the fact that there was anything left over is a bit of a win,’ Stein-Sapir said.”

.fusion-button.button-1 {border-radius:2px;}Read The Full Article.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 0px !important;margin-right : 1.92%;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 0px !important;margin-left : 1.92%;}@media only screen and (max-width:1138px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:900px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-0{width:100% !important;}.fusion-builder-column-0 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}.fusion-body .fusion-flex-container.fusion-builder-row-1{ padding-top : 0px;margin-top : 0px;padding-right : 0px;padding-bottom : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;padding-left : 0px;}
The post Fyre Festival Attendees To Recover Nothing From Bankruptcy appeared first on Allmand Law Firm, PLLC.



Pages