Author: Dan LaBert

Association Executive @NACBAorg, Fmr. NFL Scout @4for4football, Sports Radio/TV Host, Fantasy Football Guru, Penn State Alum, @BrewersofPA #runDisney

Bankruptcy Filers Beware: Con-Artists Posing As Attorneys

Telephone-Scam Soliciting Wire Transfers Prompts NACBA and Vermont Attorney General to Issue Consumer Warning

Across the country, consumers are falling prey to a new scam targeting people who have filed for bankruptcy and others just getting started with the process. Bankruptcy attorneys are joining forces with public officials to sound the alarm bell to unsuspecting consumers.

The con artists are using software that “spoofs” the Caller ID system so that the call appears to be originating from the phone line of the consumer’s bankruptcy attorney. Victims of the scam are being instructed to immediately wire money to satisfy a debt that supposedly is outside the bankruptcy proceeding. Some consumers have been threatened with arrest if they fail to wire money to pay the debt.

In some instances, the perpetrators are using personal information from public filings to identify consumers, assume the identity of their attorneys and sound more convincing by phone. These calls are typically placed during non-business hours, making it difficult for clients to verify the call by getting in touch with their attorney to ask about it.

The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) and its individual members want consumers to know that under no circumstance would a bankruptcy attorney or staff member telephone a client and ask for a wire transfer immediately to satisfy a debt. Nor would the bankruptcy attorney and staff ever threaten arrest if a debt isn’t paid.

Consumers should be advised that legitimate debt collectors and agencies cannot threaten arrest in order to satisfy. If you or a family member receive this kind of call, the best thing to do is to hang up and contact your bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. Do NOT give out any personal or financial account information to the caller.

Experts: Millions of California Residents Are One Financial Crisis Away From Needing S.B. 308’s Protection of Their Homes

Legislation Supported by AARP, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and State Treasurer John Chiang is “Right for California Consumers in Tough Times”

SACRAMENTO, CA – September 8, 2015 – With nearly half of California adults – some 14 million consumers – having no savings to weather a financial crisis, S.B. 308 is an urgently needed bill that will help struggling California families and seniors save their homes, stay employed, and get back on their financial feet, according to the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA).

Now facing opposition from the California bankers who can now further enrich themselves by stripping consumers in financial crisis of all of their assets, the fair and common-sense bill introduced by Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, protects California consumers facing financial hardship by reducing the likelihood that they’ll lose their homes in bankruptcy. The common-sense, pro-consumer measure is supported by AARP, legal services organizations, labor groups, Attorney General Kamala Harris and State Treasurer John Chiang.

Responding to a smear campaign launched by California bankers in which it is falsely claimed that S.B. 308 will protect the wealthy, NACBA’s Legislative Chair Ike Shulman said: “These are the same people who brought our economy to the brink of collapse a few years ago, from which thousands of families are still trying to recover. While they got bailed out and protected their wealth, they are now trying to use their influence to kill a bill to help the families who were the victims of the bankers’ greed. Bankers got us into this financial mess, but rather than help California residents who were harmed in the economic downturn, they want to make things tougher still.”

In outlining the need for passage of S.B. 308, NACBA highlighted the following points:

  • It recognizes that you may need help to save your home. Nationwide, more than half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, just one emergency away from being wiped out financially. Here in California, 48 percent of us – nearly 14 million adults! — have no rainy day savings to deal with unanticipated financial expenses. A full third of us can only afford credit card minimums and 14 percent have unpaid medical expenses. That means millions of California residents could one day need the help S.B. 308 will provide.
  • It protects the homes of Californians, particularly seniors and the disabled. The current homestead exemption has fallen dramatically behind the increased cost of housing in California. It has been 40 years since the California homestead exemption actually covered the cost of an average home in this state. Today, it only protects about a quarter of a typical house. S.B. 308 modestly increases homestead exemptions, with the most meaningful increase reserved for seniors and disabled persons. It would bump up California’s state homestead exemption to $300,000 for disabled persons and seniors, $150,000 for a family unit and $100,000 for a single individual.
  • It makes sure that people in dire financial straits are not stripped of their home equity. S.B. 308 fixes a serious problem for Californians who have their homes sold in bankruptcy. Until three years ago, California families whose homes were sold during bankruptcy were always able to protect their homestead exemption funds and use them for their future needs. But due to a 2012 court ruling, families stand to lose their entire homestead exemption after six months from the sale date if they are unable to reinvest those proceeds in a new home. Since most debtors who have recently filed for bankruptcy are unable to secure financing to purchase a replacement home within that time period, they end up losing everything. S.B. 308 restores to homeowners the protection the law provided before 2012, and is essential for anyone who owns a home and may need to file for bankruptcy relief.
  • It understands that some people need a fresh start. Most people in this state who file for bankruptcy don’t want to do it … and are of relatively modest means. According to June 2014 data, approximately 115,000 bankruptcy cases (Ch. 7 & Ch. 13) were filed in California in 2013, which represents about 170,000 Californians. Why make it even more difficult for these people to get their often shattered financial lives back together again? The truth is that there is everything to be gained by returning them to good financial health as productive citizens and taxpayers.

ABOUT NACBA

The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys is the only national organization dedicated to serving the needs of consumer bankruptcy attorneys and protecting the rights of consumer debtors in bankruptcy. Formed in 1992, NACBA now has more than 3,000 members located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. http://www.nacba.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Ike Shulman, (408) 221-7815 or ; and Max Karlin, for NACBA, (703) 276-3255.

S.B. 308: Good For California Consumers In Tough Times

Fat cat bankers caused the financial crisis.
Now they want to kill a bill protecting your house and car.
Tell your lawmaker NO now!

The California Assembly could vote Tuesday on S.B. 308, which will protect California consumers facing financial hardship by reducing the likelihood that they’ll lose their cars or homes in bankruptcy. This fair and common-sense bill will help struggling California families and seniors save their homes, stay employed, and get back on their financial feet. That’s why the AARP, legal services organizations, labor groups, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris support S.B. 308.

fat catWhat about the smear campaign launched by California Bankers in which they falsely claim that S.B. 308 will protect the wealthy? These are the same people who brought our economy to the brink of collapse a few years ago, from which thousands of families are still trying to recover. While they got bailed out and protected their wealth, they are now trying to use their influence to kill a bill to help the families who were the victims of the bankers’ greed. Bankers got us into this financial mess, but rather than help California residents who were harmed in the economic downturn, they want to make things tougher still.

Here are facts about S.B. 308:

  • It recognizes that you may need help to save your home and keep your car. Nationwide, more than half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, just one emergency away from being wiped out financially. Here in California, 48 percent of us – nearly 14 million adults! — have no rainy day savings to deal with unanticipated financial expenses. A full third of us can only afford credit card minimums and 14 percent have unpaid medical expenses. That means millions of California residents – including you – could one day need the help S.B. 308 will provide.
  • It protects the homes of Californians, particularly seniors and the disabled. The current homestead exemption has fallen dramatically behind the increased cost of housing in California. It has been 40 years since the California homestead exemption actually covered the cost of an average home in this state. Today, it only protects about a quarter of a typical house. S.B. 308 modestly increases homestead exemptions, with the most meaningful increase reserved for seniors and disabled persons. It would bump up California’s state homestead exemption to $300,000 for disabled persons and seniors, $150,000 for a family unit and $100,000 for a single individual.
  • It makes sure that people in dire financial straits are not stripped of their home equity. S.B. 308 fixes a serious problem for Californians who have their homes sold in bankruptcy. Until three years ago, California families whose homes were sold during bankruptcy were always able to protect their homestead exemption funds and use them for their future needs. But due to a 2012 court ruling, families stand to lose their entire homestead exemption after six months from the sale date if they are unable to reinvest those proceeds in a new home. Since most debtors who have recently filed for bankruptcy are unable to secure financing to purchase a replacement home within that time period, they end up losing everything. S.B. 308 restores to homeowners the protection the law provided before 2012, and is essential for anyone who owns a home and may need to file for bankruptcy relief.
  • It makes it possible for people who need a car to get to work to keep their jobs. Everyone knows that most people in this state need a car in order to work. S.B. 308 ensures that consumers who are current on their car payments don’t have their vehicles repossessed solely because of their bankruptcy filing. Under current law, many bankruptcy debtors have suffered the loss of their vehicles even though they had never missed a car payment. How are you supposed to get back on your feet if you can’t get to work?
  • It understands that some people need a fresh start. Most people in this state who file for bankruptcy don’t want to do it … and are of relatively modest means. According to June 2014 data, approximately 115,000 bankruptcy cases (Ch. 7 & Ch. 13) were filed in California in 2013, which represents about 170,000 Californians. Why make it even more difficult for these people to get their often shattered financial lives back together again? The truth is that there is everything to be gained by returning them to good financial health as productive citizens and taxpayers.

Who wins in Sacramento?  Fat cat bankers or you?
Protect your house and car by contacting your lawmaker TODAY.

Groups: Department of Education Fails To Respond To White House Call For Student Debt Relief In “Undue Hardship” Bankruptcy Cases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 13, 2015 – The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) and National Consumer Law Center, Inc. (NCLC) issued the following joint statement today:

“In March, President Obama directed the Department of Education and other federal agencies to do more to help serve the nation’s student loan borrowers, including those in financial distress and those who have been wronged by loan servicers, loan collectors, or schools. In order to provide clarity with respect to the rights of borrowers in bankruptcy, the Department of Education was directed to provide information to assist parties in determining whether an undue-hardship case in bankruptcy should be accepted or contested.

Last week, the Department of Education responded to the White House in the worst possible way by giving a green light to the loan holders’ aggressive strategy of fighting virtually every case in which undue hardship is claimed.  Not only is this completely contrary to the intent of President Obama to find a way to help out more student loan borrowers suffering genuine financial distress, it will only serve to encourage loan holders and the Department’s contractors to be even more ruthless in systematically using their considerable legal might to crush any such filings under a mountain of appeals, delays, and other tactics.

Americans have accumulated $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, exceeding even the level of credit card debt in our nation. Seven in ten college seniors who graduated in 2012 had student loan debt, with an average of $29,400 per borrower. Because federal law treats student loan debt as nondischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings except in the case of undue hardship, borrowers can be burdened with this debt for a lifetime even if circumstances make it unlikely that the borrower will ever be able to repay.

While we recognize the Department’s prerogative to fairly collect on student loan debts owed to it, it is not sensible or cost-effective for the Department or its contractors to engage in lengthy legal challenges and appeals against bankrupt student loan borrowers who have demonstrated a clear and legitimate inability to repay their loans.

The need for action with respect to the student loan debt crisis is urgent.  Today’s response from the Department of Education enshrines the worst practices of loan servicers to ride roughshod over borrowers suffering real financial distress. The White House should instruct the Department of Education to reconsider its response and, instead, to adopt an approach that recognizes that a real crisis requires a real solution.”

ABOUT THE GROUPS

Since 1969, the nonprofit National Consumer Law Center® (NCLC®) has worked for consumer justice and economic security for low-income and other disadvantaged people, including older adults, in the U.S. through its expertise in policy analysis and advocacy, publications, litigation, expert witness services, and training. http://www.nclc.org

The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys is the only national organization dedicated to serving the needs of consumer bankruptcy attorneys and protecting the rights of consumer debtors in bankruptcy. Formed in 1992, NACBA now has more than 3,000 members located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.www.nacba.org

New NACBA State Chair Announced For Central California

Los Angeles Attorney Jenny Doling Tackles New Role Leading Education Program for National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys

The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) announced that California attorney Jenny L. Doling of the Law Offices of Jenny L. Doling, A.P.L.C. in Palm Desert, California will serve as its new state chair representing the entire Central District of California, the largest district in the Country.

dolingAs NACBA’s state chair for the Central District of California, Doling will serve as the official liaison between the group’s leadership in Washington, D.C. and its member attorneys, bankruptcy judges, and other court officials in the state, as well as serving as a primary contact for local media regarding consumer bankruptcy issues.

Serving approximately 3,500 members in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, NACBA is the only national organization dedicated to serving the needs of consumer bankruptcy attorneys and protecting the rights of consumer debtors in bankruptcy.

Jenny L. Doling said: “I am honored to represent NACBA as the new State Chair for the Central District of California.  NACBA’s unparalleled efforts to advocate for consumer bankruptcy debtors nationwide has brought about clear and necessary changes in an unbalanced financial industry. I look forward to working with NACBA in its efforts to protect the rights of struggling families, to advocate for better laws, and to bring members together for a stronger debtors’ bar.”

NACBA Executive Director Dan LaBert said: “Our leadership team is dedicated to continuing our mission in California to help to protect the rights of families in financial distress at a grassroots level. Our national membership is supported by a strong network of state chairs appointees.  Jenny is a longstanding NACBA member and will make an excellent state chair in the Central District of California.  We look forward to working closely with her to represent bankruptcy attorneys and their important policy objectives across a wide range of issues.”

Jenny Doling has been working with consumer debtors for nearly 20 years, and is licensed to practice law in California and Nevada.  She has several reported cases in the Central District of California and the 9th Circuit BAP.  Doling is a Professor of Bankruptcy Law for the California Desert Trial Academy. In addition, she is an active member of NACBA, and the California Bar Association.  She also serves on the Board of the Inland Empire Bankruptcy Forum (IEBF).  Doling is a frequent panel speaker at continuing education conferences for IEBF, NACBA, NACTT, and NCBJ.

New NACBA State Chair Announced For Iowa

Des Moines Attorney Nancy L. Thompson Tackles New Role Leading Education Program for National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) today announced that Des Moines bankruptcy attorney Nancy L. Thompson of The Nancy L. Thompson Law Office PC in Des Moines, IA will serve as its new state chair representing Iowa.

As NACBA’s state chair in Iowa, Thompson will serve as the official liaison between the group’s leadership in Washington, D.C. and its member attorneys, bankruptcy judges and other court officials in the state, as well as serving as a primary contact for local media regarding consumer bankruptcy issues.

Serving approximately 3,500 members in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, NACBA is the only national organization dedicated to serving the needs of consumer bankruptcy attorneys and protecting the rights of consumer debtors in bankruptcy.

Nancy L. Thompson said:  “NACBA is well respected for its involvement in the development of consumer bankruptcy law, both through litigation and legislation.  It is a great honor to be able to work more closely with the organization’s leadership on future initiatives.”

NACBA Executive Director Dan LaBert said: “Our leadership team is dedicated to continuing our mission in Iowa to help to protect the rights of families in financial distress at a grassroots level. Our national membership is supported by a strong network of state chairs appointees.  Nancy is a longstanding NACBA member and will make an excellent state chair in Iowa.  We look forward to working closely with her to represent bankruptcy attorneys and their important policy objectives across a wide range of issues.”

Thompson practices bankruptcy and consumer law in Des Moines, Iowa. From 2006 to 2008, she was Chair of the Iowa State Bar Association Commercial and Bankruptcy Section and in 2007 was named Outstanding Section Chair for Legislative Advocacy for her successful effort to update and improve Iowa’s personal property exemptions. Thompson is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association Commercial and Bankruptcy Section, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) and the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA). In 2015, she received the Distinguished Service Award for her contributions to NACBA and has been a frequent presenter at legal and public seminars on bankruptcy, foreclosure and consumer credit. In addition to Thompson’s private practice in Des Moines, she is a part time staff attorney with Iowa Legal Aid.