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Lake County foreclosure attorneysIf you are behind on your mortgage and in danger of losing your home to foreclosure, it is understandable that you might be confused, overwhelmed, and uncertain about how to proceed. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous individuals who are more than happy to take advantage of you in the midst of your vulnerability. A qualified foreclosure defense lawyer can help you identify and avoid potential foreclosure scams before things get even worse for you and your family.

Companies That Come to You

When a person or company contacts you about your pending foreclosure, it means that they have something to sell you. Scammers keep up to date on foreclosure listings and reach out to desperate homeowners who are simply looking for any help they can find. Aggressive marketing and sales calls are often indicators that someone is trying to make quick money—possibly at your expense.

High-Pressure Situations

A foreclosure typically takes several months to complete, if not longer, but you might have a “foreclosure specialist” or “counselor” pushing you to sign paperwork immediately. It is a bad idea to sign any documents that you have not read or that you do not fully understand. You could easily be agreeing to foreclosure fraud without even being aware of what you are doing.

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Couple Files for Bankruptcy After Hurricane Fraud Conviction

A Texas pastor and his wife who had been convicted of hurricane fraud in August of 2017 filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy just a few months later in an effort to alleviate the stress of the debts they are facing. The couple stated that their debt liabilities are between $500,000 and $1 million and that their assets are worth about the same as their debt.

Bankruptcy is a tool that individuals and companies can use to reduce their debt loads and repay their creditors. Like any other tool, bankruptcy can be used in ethically questionable ways, such as filing for protection in an attempt to avoid making certain payments.

What is Hurricane Fraud?

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New Haven Couple Involved in Bankruptcy Fraud Case

Jason Sheehan of New Haven, Connecticut, was the sole member of a limited liability company called Infinistaff, LLC that provided temporary workers to employers. In September of 2010, Infinistaff voluntary filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with the Connecticut Bankruptcy Court.

Sheehan: False Claims and Representations to the IRS

Sheehan falsely claimed that another company was being paid to process Infinistaff's payroll checks and prepare and file its payroll tax returns and tax payments. Infinistaff also falsely presented to the Internal Revenue Service that the other company was making deposits under its tax identification number. Although Infinistaff did have such an arrangement with this other company for a period of time, the arrangement was terminated at the time Sheehan made these false presentations and claims. In other words, after the arrangement was terminated, Sheehan continued to file operating reports with the Bankruptcy Court as if the arrangement was still in place and claimed that the other company was being paid monthly administrative fees. Sheehan filed these reports to hide the embezzlement of over $1 million from Infinistaff's bankruptcy estate.

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Posted on in Bankruptcy
Criminal Offenses with Bankruptcy

When an individual, organization, or business entity faces more debt than can be managed, they sometimes opt to file for federal bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy protectors debtors from creditors who are pursuing the unpaid debts. If the bankruptcy petition is granted in federal court, the judge will look at:

  • The property owned
  • How much money is owed
  • Who the money will be repaid to

The repayment process will then begin and allow the debtor to have a fresh start. However, when someone has filed for bankruptcy and violate federal bankruptcy law, they have committed criminal bankruptcy fraud and will thus be charged with the crime.

Intent

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When Bernie Madoff was arrested in 2008 and admitted that a significant part of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC was an elaborate Ponzi scheme, nearly 5,000 clients were affected and lost more than $50 billion, collectively. This, of course, resulted in a slew of personal bankruptcies for people who likely never dreamed they'd face bankruptcy proceedings, and a tightening of federal regulations on companies like Madoff's. Though he was sentenced to 150 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $17 billion in restitution to his victims, most who were affected in Madoff's Ponzi scheme will never be able to recover the funds they lost.

In November 2013, however, according to The New York Times, it was announced that a $2.35 billion fund collected by the Justice Department will be made available to victims of Madoff's Ponzi scheme. “The indirect investors—at least 10,000 people and possibly many times that—are eligible for compensation from the federal Madoff Victim Fund,” it was announced in November. “Generally,” according to the New York Times, “anyone who withdrew less from their Madoff-related account than they paid in will be eligible to recover form the Madoff Victim Fund.”

Broadening the availability of the fund to include more than direct investors in Madoff's company will allow for more people to avoid the bankruptcy process than would otherwise have been possible. “There are literally widows and orphans who lost everything with Madoff but who will not get one thin dime from the bankruptcy process,” Richard C. Breeden, a former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman told the Times. “Fortunately,” Breeden told the Times, “this fund can define 'victim' more broadly than 'customer.'”

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