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01

Sep 2017

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Knocks Out A Scam

Posted by / in Weekly Posts /

CFPB Knocks Out Another Scam

Yesterday, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau put another credit repair outfit out of business. This was National Credit Advisors.  10391017_582943165194915_773760901255728189_nThese folks claimed that you can use them to “free yourself from bad credit.”

According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, they collected $20 million from 50,000 consumers over a three year period.  And accomplished almost nothing.  (They promise that “One of our certified credit analysts will review your credit report with you and provide a customized in-depth credit evaluation.” Which boils down to nothing.)

In addition to agreeing to go out of business, although the website is still up today, National Credit Advisors agreed to pay a fine of $150,000.  Not much if they scammed people out of $20 million.

Three signs of a scam

Looking at their website, I see all three earmarks of a scam.  

First of all, they are far away. Sherman Oaks, California. Why do people trust somebody they never heard of in a city far away?  I don’t know, but people do.

Second, they don’t show their face. National Credit Advisors does not give you the name, or picture, of the people behind it. It seems like scammers never do.

Third, they don’t have a real address. On their website, National Credit Advisors lists their address as 13636 Ventura Blvd. If you Google 13636 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks CA, it’s a UPS store!  Obviously their “certified credit analysts” aren’t working there at the UPS store. From that, you gotta suspect those analysts really aren’t anywhere.  

What’s the Lesson?

If you need to protect your legal rights, see a lawyer! I know lawyers are expensive. But not as expensive as sending money to a scammer that just makes your problem worse.  And when I say “see” a lawyer, I mean sit down face to face, with someone in your community who takes the time to understand your problem. (Someone who is licensed by your state Supreme Court. And who has a location where you can send the sheriff if they just take your money and don’t do anything.)

 

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31

Aug 2017

Upright Law on trial in Roanoke Bankruptcy court

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Upright Law on trial in Roanoke Bankruptcy court

Trial is set on September 25, 2017, for Upright Law, at the bankruptcy courthouse in Roanoke VA.

The US Justice Department, through the Office of the United States Trustee, is asking that Upright be banned from accepting cases in Virginia. They are also asking for refunds for fees that their clients paid. The government claims that Upright engages in various unethical practices.

You can read the government’s complaint, here Robins v Upright Law.  And here’s Upright Law’s answer.  Answer.  Here’s a link to news coverage of this case.  

Headquarters of Upright Law in Chicago.

Here’s a picture of the building in Chicago where Upright Law has its headquarters.  Virginia is one of at least five states where cases against Upright Law are pending. It’s an Illinois law firm, with its main office in this building, in Chicago.

Upright Law assigns cases to “limited partners” in states around the country. You can read more here.  And here. 

Here’s a favorable news story about them.

 

 

 

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06

Jul 2017

Bankruptcy and Gumption

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Bankruptcy and Gumption

Most people come to talk to me about bankruptcy have been putting it off for years. People want to protect their “good credit” when all they are really doing is piling up bad credit. People worry that filing bankruptcy is “not how they were brought up.” They think they are better than Donald Trump, who used the bankruptcy law to get richer.

Some men, especially, are too embarrassed to ask for help.

For all those reasons, when people come to talk to me about bankruptcy, a lot of them a just exhausted.  They want to pay their lawyer bill, sign their papers and be done.

For a lot of people, it’s not that easy.

Dave Carmen

Dave Carmen came to see me June 14. He had moved to this area to take a substantial Federal job promotion. He started to work at the new job, January 3. His wife joined him and started working here in March.

He had hoped with the new job they would be able to handle their debt load; but like many people they had not allowed for the high cost of living in Northern Virginia.

I made notes on what Dave told me and we went over his budget, together. “There’s a lot of income here, but I’ll try to get you qualified on the long form.”  I needed to do more computer work, told Dave to come back Monday June 19. 

I told Dave on June 19 there was good news and bad news. The good news, was really good. We could go ahead with Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June, and eliminate more than $50,000 in card cards and finance company loans. The bad news? He would lose eligibility in July!

(Why would Dave lose income eligibility in July? Chapter 7 bankruptcy income eligibility is based on the past six months, ending a month before the papers go into the court. We needed December, when he was on his old job and his wife wasn’t working, to get our six month average down low enough. In July, December would drop out of the average and the income would just be too high. Remember he had gotten a big raise starting January.)

We had twelve days to get his Chapter 7 bankruptcy done.  Immediate next step Dave needed to identify an additional $600 a month in expenses—I told him where I thought his budget was too low, based on what I know about him and his family. I needed it by tuesday, June 27 at the latest. I had no doubt he could do it.

Tuesday June 27 came around and I hadn’t heard from Dave. Now we are into July, and it’s too late. Dave will have to pay back $54,000 that he can’t afford. Pay back $54,000 that we could have eliminated two weeks ago.

Dave had run out of gumption.  The years of battling with the creditors, the stress of moving his family and the new job, he was worn out. He needed a couple more hours of hard work to take an enormous burden off himself and his family; and he just didn’t have it in him.

The Purpose of the 2005 BAPCPA Bankruptcy Law

The 2005 BAPCPA Bankruptcy law was supported in Congress by people who claimed there was widespread fraud and abuse in the bankruptcy system. Studies in the ten years after didn’t show any of that. The statistical impact of BAPCPA is seen in the “substantial increased access costs.” Filing bankruptcy is harder and more expensive. That was probably the real purpose of the bank lobbyists who drafted the law. 

The 2005 bankruptcy law is filled with “gumption traps.” Rinky dink requirements that are designed to get you to give up.

Gumption—get back up

Gumption. In America, if life knocks you down, we get back up.

President Trump says knowing how to use the bankruptcy laws is a “tremendous thing.” (Love him or hate him, most people would agree President Trump has plenty of gumption.)

If you are in financial trouble, please come to see me—or another experienced bankruptcy lawyer—before all your gumption is gone. When you consider bankruptcy, your opening to a better life—a new start and a clear field—is right in front of you. You just need a little more effort to take control of your life, again. 

 

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NORTHERN VIRGINIA BANKRUPTCY LAW OFFICES