Archive for the 'Consumer Bankruptcy' Category


Casey Anthony Story For Sale In Bankruptcy

Noted non-murderer (just like OJ) Casey Anthony filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January of 2013.  She listed nearly $800,000 in debt and is currently making no money.

Even though she lists no source of income, the Trustee thinks she has something of value and wants to auction it for the benefit of creditors…………her life story.  Exclusive rights to Anthony’s life story including her “version of the facts, her thoughts and impressions of whatever nature, in so far as these pertain to her childhood, the disappearance and death of her daughter…her subsequent arrest…” etc.

So far the reported offers have been $10,000 and $12,000.  Why so little?  This seemed to be a big case at the time.  It’s possible that in this 24 hour news cycle world there is no large demand for stories we know so much about.  Maybe the perception is that Anth0ny is guilty and no one wants to tell the life story of a child murderer even if she was acquitted. A 2011 poll voted Anthony the most hated person in America beating out such then-celebs as the Octomom and Paris Hilton and yes, even O.J. Simpson.

There does seem to be a good deal of Anthony’s story to tell: there were allegations of sexual abuse by Anthony’s father, George, which came up during the trial; what exactly happened and what was Anthony thinking during the  31 days between when her daughter, Caylee, went missing and when her disappearance was reported to the authorities; her time in jail and what her life has been like since being acquitted.

Then there is the question of whether the Trustee in the case even has the authority to sell her life story since, by all accounts, it has never been done before.  We’ll see if the court in the case allows the sale and if a sale occurs.  Anthony’s trustee and her attorneys brought the issue before federal bankruptcy Judge K. Rodney May in Tampa, Fla.,  on April 9, 2013, who decided he would make a decision 30 days from now on whether the worldwide exclusive rights to her life story can be auctioned off for cash.  One bidder reportedly wants to buy the rights so her story never gets told, the second wishes to use the rights for their entertainment value.

Contact the Zarcone Law Firm today at 619-800-3082 for a FREE no obligation consultation.


Intro to Bankruptcy

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Property and Asset seizures to collect federal student loans

Federal student loan collection power have grown so much over time that the government rarely sues borrowers, opting instead for an array of extra-judicial collection tools.

Tax Refund Offsets

The tax refund offset program involves a blanket seizure of almost all tax refunds due to debtors who are in default on their student loans.  Amounts offset may include “special” payments such as economic stimulus refunds.

Bankruptcy and Tax Offsets

Filing a personal bankruptcy petition before the offset activates the United States Bankruptcy Code automatic stay provision.  The stay prohibits virtually all actions against the debtor’s property, including intercepts of owed tax refunds based on a student loan default.

Non-Judicial Wage Garnishment

Both the Higher Education Act and the Debt Collection Improvement Act authorize administrative wage garnishment.  This means you can have your wages garnished without having a judgment entered against you.  You can have up to 15% of your disposable pay garnished for default on a student loan.  Guaranty agencies can also garnish your wages.

Seizure of Federal Benefits

You can also have your federal benefits offset.  Offset is explicitly allowed against Social Security benefits for instance.

If you are in default on your student loans, please contact the Zarcone Law Firm at 619-800-3082 for a FREE consultation.


creditor harassment – how to end it

Under the law, threatening violence, using obscene language and calling persistently with the intent to irritate/annoy amounts to harassment. Also, calling home at odd hours or at work place if there has been a notification to not do so or even calling up relatives or friends without your permission can all amount to harassment.

What Can be Done to End to Harassment?

Attempt to engage the creditor before anything else, unless you have a strong feeling that the person may not be pleasant. Explain the reasons for your default, and try to reason with them and ask for payment extensions or payment options, or present any payment plans you believe will be feasible.

As much as one would hope reason and logic can win the battle, the fact is that more often that not, it will not work this way. Debt collectors will almost certainly live up to the stereotype of being unreasonable, difficult people. The next option you, as a debtor, have is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will ensure that all debt collection actions (including phone calls), ethical or otherwise, come to an immediate end. As soon as you file for bankruptcy all creditors and bill collectors must immediately end their collection efforts. Once you’ve filed for bankruptcy, both the Bankruptcy Court and the attorney will notify all creditors of your bankruptcy through the mail. In the meanwhile, since this could take a week or so to reach them, you can also notify them in case you get a call, or a creditor comes ringing your doorbell.

Legal Remedies in lieu of Bankruptcy?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides the consumer with legal remedies against creditors who violate its provisions. The federal Fair Debt Collections Practices

Act (FDCPA ) prohibits a collection agency from engaging in many kinds of activities.

(15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 and following.) If a collection agency violates the law, you have the right to sue the agency. If the creditor that hired the agency was involved in the unlawful conduct, you may also be able to sue the creditor. If the behavior is truly outrageous, the creditor may waive the debt and remove the negative marks from your credit report in exchange for your agreement not to sue.

Under the FDCPA , a collection agency cannot legally engage in any of the following activities.

1. Communications with third parties.

2. A collection agent cannot contact you:

• at an unusual or inconvenient time or place—the debt collector must assume that calls before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. are inconvenient unless the collector knows otherwise, or

• at work, if the collector knows that your employer prohibits you from receiving collections calls at work.  If you are contacted at work, tell the collector that your boss prohibits such calls.

3. Harassment or abuse.  A collection agent cannot engage in conduct meant to harass, oppress, or abuse you. The agent cannot:

• use or threaten to use violence or harm you, another person, or your or another person’s reputation or property

• use obscene, profane, or abusive language

• publish your name as a person who doesn’t pay bills, such as in a “deadbeats” list

• list your debt for sale to the public

• call you repeatedly, or

• place telephone calls to you or any other person without identifying him or herself.

4. False or misleading representations.  A collection agent cannot:

• claim to be a law enforcement officer, suggest that he or she is connected with the government, or send you a document that looks like it’s from a court or government agency

• falsely represent the amount you owe, the character or legal status of the debt, or the amount of compensation the agent will receive

• falsely claim to be an attorney or send you a document that looks like it’s from a lawyer

• communicate false credit information, including failing to tell someone you dispute a debt

• use a false business name

• claim to be employed by a credit bureau, unless the collection agency and the credit bureau are the same company, or

• threaten to take action that he or she does not intend to take or cannot take.

5. Unfair practices. A collection agent cannot engage in any unfair or outrageous method to collect a debt. Specifically, the agent cannot:

• add interest, fees, or charges not authorized in the original agreement or by state law

• solicit a postdated check for the purpose of threatening you with criminal prosecution

• accept a check postdated by more than five days unless the agent notifies you between three and ten days in advance of when it will be deposited

• deposit a postdated check prior to the date on the check, or

• call you collect or otherwise cause you to incur communications charges.

If you are being harassed by bill collectors, call us for a FREE consultation:



FAQ regarding deed in lieu of foreclsoure

Q. What is the definition of a deed in lieu of foreclosure?

A. The homeowner exchanges his or her ownership interest in the house, represented by a deed, back to the mortgage holder in order to avoid mortgage foreclosure and in some cases forgiveness of a mortgage deficiency.

In basic terms, you give the keys to your home back to the bank and you walk away;  the bank agrees not to foreclose or ever ask you for any more money.

Q. Under what circumstances would a homeowner do a deed in lieu of foreclosure?

In general, two sets of homeowners pursue a deed in lieu of foreclosure as a way out for mortgage trouble.

  • Homeowners who do not want to keep their home under any circumstances
  • Homeowners who, despite a wish to keep their home, reached the assumption that no foreclosure prevention alternatives will allow them to keep their house.

Q. Why would someone want to forfeit their home as a first choice?

  •       Homeowner does not like the house itself.
  •       The location is no longer right.
  •       The house is no longer the right size or right type.
  •       Neighborhood or zoning degradation.
  •       Repair, renovation or structural issues.
  •       Homeowner no longer needs a house at all anymore.

Q. How does a homeowner end up at the conclusion that they must give up the house?

  • Mathematically beyond hope
  • No applicable methods to stop foreclosure
  • Exhausted all options

If you are facing foreclosure, contact us for a FREE initial consultation:



show me the assignment! Mass Supreme Court stops foreclosures.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court recently ruled against Wells Fargo and U.S. Barncorp in two foreclosure cases in which the loans were packaged into securities.  The Supreme Court upheld a decision to void two foreclosure sales because the owners of the loans could not establish that the loans had been assigned to them.  Both of the loans had been assembled into mortgage-backed securities sold to investors.

This is an example of “show me the paper” defense. Cases in California where homeowners have attempted to establish a defense that the party foreclosing on their home could not produce the original note have not been successful.

Individual loans often are sold to an investor, with the new owner’s name left blank in loan documents to limit paperwork hassles as the loan subsequently changes hands before being combined with other loans into mortgage-backed securities.

Justice Robert J. Cordy concluded in a concurring opinion that the two banks showed “utter carelessness” when they “documented the titles to their assets.”


Bankruptcies up in 2010.

Former NBA number 1 pick Derrick Coleman filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

The number of personal bankruptcies exceeded 1.5 million last year,  as unemployment rates and depressed home prices drove more households to seek court protection.

Personal bankruptcies ticked up 9% from 2009, the highest level since a revamp of the law took effect in 2005, and rose 25% in California.

The other areas of increase were the Southwestern states and the Southeast.  In Arizona, they rose nearly 24%.

Some experts think 2011 could see the beginning of a downtrend in bankruptcy filings as the economy improves and consumers borrow less. “Over the course of the year, I think bankruptcies will be going down,” said Robert Lawless, a University of Illinois law professor. “The reason for that is borrowing’s down…there’s less of a reason for people to take the legal step of filing for bankruptcy.”  The unemployment picture has not improved though in 2010 so although people may be borrowing less, they aren’t making more.

And it wasn’t Joe Six Pack that was filing for bankruptcy in 2010.  Consider:

  • Derrick Coleman (Former #1 pick of the NBA draft) filed chapter 7 bankruptcy in March 2010, saying he owed his creditors nearly $4.7 million. He listed assets of just $1 million.
  • Toni Braxton (R&B singer, who has sold over 40 million albums) filed chapter 7 bankruptcy in October 2010. This was her second filing, as she previously filed in 1998. She listed debts of between $10-$50 million and assets of between $1-$10 million. She stated she would like to keep her home, which she owes $1.6 million but is worth only $1.2 million. She wants to work out a modification.
  • Antoine Walker (Former NBA All-Star) filed chapter 7 bankruptcy in May 2010. Even though he made $110 million in his career, he listed his assets at only $4.3 million.
  • Mark Brunell (Former NFL Pro-Bowl quarterback) filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2010. He earned over $50 million during the past 10 years, but failed real estate investments forced him to file.
  • Dermontti Dawson (Former NFL Pro-Bowl offensive lineman) filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July 2010. He listed his assets at $1.42 million and his debts at $69.66 million.

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The content found on the financialfreshstart Blog is not legal advice and is purely for informational purposes. The Zarcone Law Firm does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of submissions. The information provided by the bloggers on this site may not represent the opinions of the Zarcone Law Firm or its affiliates. The information contained herein is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.

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