Archive for the ‘Debt Relief’ Category

Debt Collectors Bully and Lie

What happens when a debt collector lies?

Pierce County and Tacoma, Washington Bankruptcy Lawyer Discusses Handling Debt Collectors

The Associated press reports that the country is facing an epidemic of unscrupulous debt collectors willing to pose as law enforcement and threaten arrest to squeeze dollars out of Americans, a top prosecutor said Tuesday as he announced the arrests of seven people who worked for an Atlanta-area company.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the abusive practices have become so widespread that even a top FBI official in New York City got a call.

“This has become something of an epidemic,” Bharara told a news conference.

He described the workers at the defunct Williams, Scott & Associates, LLC in Norcross, Georgia, as “ruthlessly persistent” as they badgered people in all 50 states from 2009 through April, collecting more than $4 million from over 6,000 victims.

He said the workers threatened people with imminent arrest unless they paid debts they sometimes didn’t even owe.

The company was shut down after the Federal Trade Commission brought a civil action against it earlier this year.

But Richard Frankel, a top FBI official in New York, said the workers quickly opened another company under a different name and were operating at the time of their arrests.

Frankel, who recently received a call at his FBI office from an abusive debt collection agency claiming it was the “IRS,” said the defendants in the scam unveiled Tuesday were “bullies with badges. The only problem was the badges were bogus.”

According to a criminal complaint, the employees falsely claimed they worked for, or were in contact with, the Justice Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI and sheriffs’ departments. It said victims were sometimes falsely told they would be arrested and be forced to surrender their drivers’ licenses if they did not call back or pay specified amounts immediately.

Bharara said the company’s employees routinely used bogus legal terminology, including what he described as his personal favorite: “The statute of limitations on your civil legal rights has expired.”

The employees also sent documents meant to look like they were sanctioned by the government, according to court papers.

Contact us to discuss the details of your situation. Let our Tacoma bankruptcy attorney help you.

Foreclosing Banks Broke the Law

Bankruptcy Lawyer Explains how Banks Broke the Law during Foreclosures

Working For Homeowners in Tacoma and Pierce County

The Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo wrongfully sold foreclosed homes. The court found that these mortgage companies failed to prove that they actually owned the mortgages and had the right to sell the homes in a foreclosure proceeding.

This follows recent revelations that the banking industry has employed low-level employees as “robo-signers” who signed hundreds of foreclosure affidavits a day without verifying a single sentence. It is clear that this country’s foreclosure mess is going to get a whole lot messier.

This is caused in part by the securitization of mortgages – that is – mortgages that are bundled together and sold as a group to investors. The company who issued the mortgage rarely maintained and serviced that mortgage; it was securitized and sold.

Our country’s property laws require that a valid mortgage must have a signed promissory note and a security instrument such as a deed of trust. These must be kept together and any transfer of lien rights must be recorded at a public office, such as the county auditor.

The note must be endorsed each time the mortgage is sold, which could be several times or more. If a foreclosure is started, the mortgage holder must be able to demonstrate a clear chain of title by signed transfer and endorsement documents.

With the explosion of mortgage backed securities came the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS. This is an electronic clearing house with 67 million mortgages on file that tracks more than 60 percent of the country’s residential mortgages, but employs only 45 people in one office building located in Virginia.

MERS intended to provide an electronic registry of all mortgage transfers but may have failed, in numerous instances, to comply with long-established legal requirements in our country’s property laws as an electronic record does not satisfy legal requirements to prove a chain of title.

Several state courts have rejected attempts by MERS to act on behalf of banks seeking to foreclose on delinquent mortgages and thousands of foreclosures are being challenged across the country.

Homeowners should obtain qualified legal advice to protect their legal rights before surrendering their residence in a foreclosure proceeding.

As the Massachusetts Supreme Court decided, the banks that are claiming ownership of a mortgage may not have the legal right to foreclose on the secured property.

If you want to avoid foreclosure, or feel you were dealt with illegally, call us today! Discuss your options with our experienced bankruptcy lawyer.