Crowder Law Center Settles Fraudulent Transfer Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES, CA: Los Angeles Attorney Douglas A. Crowder (http://crowderlaw.com) and the Crowder Law Center recently settled a fraudulent transfer lawsuit on which they had worked since 2014.

A fraudulent transfer is where a debtor sells or gives away an asset (such as money, real estate or equipment) with the actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud a creditor. In this case, the debtor, prior to filing a bankruptcy, gave several pieces of real estate to a family trust, and was then unable to repay her debts, including substantial loans from former friends.

Crowder Law Center was hired by two creditors, then later by the Trustee appointed by the Bankruptcy Court, to file an “Adversary Proceeding” (a lawsuit which is part of the Bankruptcy proceeding) to “avoid” (meaning set aside or nullify) the transfer of real estate to the family trust. The goal was to have the properties taken out of the family trust and put back into the debtor’s name, so that the Bankruptcy Trustee could take the properties and sell them for the benefit of the creditors.

Douglas Crowder stated “The debtor and the family trust both put up a strong defense, hiring two good law firms. But the case ended up settling, which allowed the creditors to get repaid a lot more on their loans than they would have if the real estate transfer had been allowed to stand.â”

Mr. Crowder has been practicing debt relief and other areas of law in California since 1989. Those interested in more information on the Crowder Law Center can contact Mr. Crowder’s office at 213-325-3040, by email at dcrowder@crowderlaw.com, or on their website at http://crowderlaw.com.

Crowder Law Center Holds “Trial of the Century” Songwriting Contest

LOS ANGELES, CA: Los Angeles Attorney Douglas A. Crowder (http://crowderlaw.com) is holding a songwriting contest in which the first prize is $1,000, second prize is $500, and third prize is $250.

Dubbed the “Trial of the Century Songwriting Contest,” the contest is specifically for songwriters to write music to go along with lyrics written by Crowder for a musical comedy play entitled “Trial of the Century.” Crowder has written lyrics for 14 songs to be used in the musical, and contest entrants can write music for one or all of the 14 songs.

Douglas Crowder stated “Write the music for any of the 14 songs in the musical. If you need to modify the lyrics to make the music fit, that’s ok, so long as you keep the message of the song. Then send me a recording to demonstrate the melody and tempo. No entry fee for the contest. No limit to the number of entries you can make. You can write the music for one song, or for all 14 songs. ANY type of music is acceptable, including rock, folk, country, hip-hop, rap, pop, polka, classical – with one exception. No Country-Metal if you please! I will be the sole judge of the contest, and the only criteria will be whichever tune I like the best, or possibly what I think will sell the best.”

Songwriters interested in entering the contest can find out more here:
http://www.crowderlaw.com/trial-of-the-century/

Mr. Crowder has been practicing debt relief and other areas of law in California since 1989, and has been approved by the California Bar to provide Continuing Legal Education to attorneys (Provider Number 13474). Those interested in attending one of his seminars (attorneys and non-attorneys) can contact Mr. Crowder’s office at 213-325-3040, by email at dcrowder@crowderlaw.com, or on their website at http://crowderlaw.com.

Crowder Law Offer Debt Relief Services

LOS ANGELES, CA: Los Angeles Attorney Douglas A. Crowder (http://crowderlaw.com) offers debt relief services to the public, including debt settlement, creditor “hold-off,” and bankruptcy.

Crowder Law Center is a “debt relief agency” as defined by federal law. In addition to helping people avoid bankruptcy, their services also include helping people and businesses obtain relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code. Their practice handles all matters related to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and Debt Settlement and Reduction.

Debt Settlement

Crowder Law Center has helped hundreds of individuals and businesses avoid bankruptcy or lawsuits by contacting their creditors and negotiating payment plans and/or settlements. Because they maintain good communication with your creditors, the creditors will often accept a substantial reduction on the amount a person owes. Debt Settlement is an option for someone who cannot afford to pay the full amount of their debt, but want to pay something toward it, while avoiding bankruptcy and continued creditor harassment.

Creditor “Hold-Off”

Crowder Law Center offers those being harassed by debt collectors some “breathing room” through the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In most cases, they can hold a person’s creditors off for a period of time, while the person finds a new job, reorganizes their business, or whatever else the person may need to do to find a way out of their predicament.

Bankruptcy

The experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Crowder Law Center will discuss a person’s financial situation and advise them as to what options they have. They can handle Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Not everyone qualifies for a Chapter 7. If a person qualifies to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, they may be able to eliminate most, if not all of their debt. Most people who file a Chapter 7 are allowed to keep all of their property.

Douglas Crowder stated “Our firm works hard to help people with too much debt. Getting in over your head with debt is an easy trap to fall into today, especially with the weakened economy and after the mortgage crash of 2008. We let people know their legal rights and options, and help them select the method that is best for them.”

Mr. Crowder has been practicing debt relief and other areas of law in California since 1989, and has been approved by the California Bar to provide Continuing Legal Education to attorneys (Provider Number 13474). Those interested in attending one of his seminars (attorneys and non-attorneys) can contact Mr. Crowder’s office at 213-325-3040, by email at dcrowder@crowderlaw.com, or on their website at http://crowderlaw.com.

Attorney Offers 4 Free Hours of MCLE Credit

LOS ANGELES, CA: Los Angeles Attorney Douglas A. Crowder (http://crowderlaw.com) announced plans to deliver two seminars that will provide a total of 4 hours of Continuing Legal Education credit for California Attorneys. The tentative dates are August 27 and September 10, 2016. Both will be on a Saturday morning from 9am to noon, at Mr. Crowder’s office in downtown Los Angeles (or, depending on the turn out, at another location in or near downtown L.A.)

These seminars will be geared toward beginning attorneys desiring to start their own law practice, but more experienced attorneys (as well as non-attorneys) will be welcome to attend, if space permits.

The first session will cover how to sign up a debt relief client, and will include such topics as

  • Ways to attract new clients, while complying with California ethics rules.
  • The 4 options when faced with a collection lawsuit.
  • A summary of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy
  • A summary of alternatives to bankruptcy
  • Drafting attorney client agreements

These meetings include networking as well as education. One of the purposes of these seminars is to find, and provide training to attorneys to whom Mr. Crowder can refer cases. Several attendees of past seminars have obtained temporary contract work or case referrals, and two received full time employment as a result of attending the seminar.

Mr. Crowder has been practicing debt relief and other areas of law in California since 1989, and has been approved by the California Bar to provide Continuing Legal Education to attorneys (Provider Number 13474).

Those interested in attending (attorneys and non-attorneys) can contact Mr. Crowder’s office at 213-325-3040 or by email at dcrowder@crowderlaw.com.

How can creditors collect from me?

If you owe a debt, how can a creditor collect from you?  The first, and most common way, is to persuade you to pay voluntarily.  This is normally done through telephone calls, and letters.

If you cannot, or are unwilling to come up with the amount or the terms the creditor is willing to accept, the creditor’s next step is to get to you to pay involuntarily, that is, through court action.

If the debt is a consumer debt, the creditor must first file a lawsuit, and then get a judgment against you, before taking money or property from you without your consent.  A "judgment" is simply an order from a court stating that you owe a certain amount to the creditor, and that the creditor may now exercise whatever legal options that are available to collect the judgment.

The most common ways to collect judgments include:

WAGE GARNISHMENT.  If you are working for someone else as an employee, that is, for wages or a salary, the creditor can get a portion of your wages – normally up to 25% of your take-home pay.

BANK LEVY.  If the creditor can find out where your bank account is, the creditor can serve a levy on your bank, requiring the bank to withhold whatever funds you have at the bank.

LIEN ON REAL ESTATE.  If you own real estate, the creditor can put a lien on your real estate.  The lien will normally be paid off when you sell or re-finance the property.  Theoretically, a creditor could force a sale of the property in order to collect the debt.  As a practical matter, this happens rarely in California.

JUDGMENT DEBTOR EXAM.  This is not really a way to take money from you, but is designed to make life so unpleasant that you will want to pay.  The creditor can get an order requiring you to appear in court, and answer, under oath, whatever questions the creditor asks, and produce whatever documents (including bank documents) that the creditor requests.

If you want to discuss your unique situation with an experienced attorney, please call us at 800-455-1592 for a no charge no obligation consultation.

Ask a bankruptcy lawyer: Can bankruptcy restructure my mortgage?

QUESTION: CAN A RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE BE RESTRUCTURED BY A BANKRUPTCY?

ANSWER: Yes and no, depending on what restructuring you want.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not going to change, restructure, or resolve unpaid mortgage payments. This type of bankruptcy is geared more towards handling unsecured debts, meaning those debts that do not have an asset (such as a home, car, boat) held as collateral. If you are behind on payments on a secured debt, even with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filed, you could lose your assets to foreclosure or repossession. If keeping your home is vital, you should consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

In a Chapter 13, you can pay off the arrears on the first mortgage over a period of 5 years, but you will have to make any future mortgage payments as they become due. For example, if you owe $10,000 in back payments, and the monthly payments are $1,000, and you file a Chapter 13 on June 15, then you can pay the $10,000 over a period of 5 years, but the next monthly payment of $1,000 must be paid on July 1. You must stay current on your payments from that point forward.

Additionally, if you have a second or third mortgage that is totally unsecured, you can “strip” it in a Chapter 13, meaning paying it off at pennies on the dollar. In order for a second or third mortgage to be considered unsecured, the value of the home must have dropped to a value below the amount currently owed on the first mortgage.

At the current time, you cannot force a mortgage company to modify your home loan with bankruptcy. An interesting development in bankruptcy has been on the table since home prices have been dropping. There have been proposals that would allow Bankruptcy judges the power to force a mortgage lender to modify the terms of the loan, e.g. reduce the interest rate and/or reduce the principal. No laws have been passed on this yet. Whether judges would use such power liberally or stringently is anyone’s guess. This debate seems to have cooled down lately. I will post a future blog if this law should go into affect, so stay tuned.

Download our free checklist on what debts are dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Credit card lawsuit: What can I do?

There’s nothing fun about getting a credit card lawsuit. But, you can be prepared, learn all that you can, and survive one.

Here is a brief outline of the basics steps

  1. Look over your financial situation with a clear mind and with as little emotion as possible. While being “summoned” is never particularly pleasant, you could find that you are what is called “judgment proof” and even getting a judgment against you will not harm you. Do you have assets that can be taken? Is your income exempt, such as social security? If not, do you have funds available which could be used to settle the debt at less than the full amount? You can negotiate a debt. You may even discover that you are not liable for the debt. It could be past the statute for collecting; or, it might belong to others.
  2. Check the summons and complaint you receive. You need to know when is the deadline for filing an answer to the suit. In California, this is generally 30 days, but always check. If you decide to answer the suit, you will need to answer by the deadline date or you can get a default judgment against you.
  3. Consult with an experienced bankruptcy and debt settlement attorney. Many attorneys offer a free one hour or 1/2 hour consultation. Take a copy of the summons and complaint with you and a list of questions you may have. If it is a free consultation, limit the meeting to just the one matter and have your questions ready. Even if you have to pay for a consultation, it is well worth the small amount to get all the legal options you may have available. You will know your legal rights.

Lawsuits can and do get complicated. Arming yourself with proper information and knowing your legal rights will go a long way to helping you survive a credit card lawsuit.

Handling debt: How can a creditor collect from you?

How can a creditor collect from you?

Assuming that you can’t reach a voluntary repayment agreement with a creditor, what can the creditor do to collect from you?

Generally, a creditor must get a judgment against you before the creditor can use legal procedures to force you to pay.

A judgment is a final decision in a court case that establishes the legal rights of the parties. Examples of judgments include a “guilty” or “not guilty” verdict in a criminal case and in a divorce case, the final determination that the parties are now single and can re-marry if they choose. In a collection case, it is a decision by the court that you owe the creditor X dollars, and now the creditor can use whatever legal means are available to collect.

These include the following:

  • The Judgment Debtor’s Examination. The creditor can get an order from a court requiring you to appear in court answer whatever questions they ask you about your income and your assets. Usually this order also requires you to bring in your bank statements, wage stubs, tax returns, and any other documents relating to your financial affairs. If you fail to appear for this court hearing after being validly served with the notice, the court can issue a “bench warrant” for your arrest, and you can be arrested and held until you either pay the bail or the creditor has a chance to question you. The creditor can only have you brought into court once every six months.
    • This is actually not a method to force you to pay, it is just a means of gathering information. It is, however, one of the more effective tools in the creditor’s arsenal, because many debtors would rather pay the judgment than have to go into court.
  • A Wage Garnishment. If you are earning regular wages, the creditor can serve an order on your employer requiring that 25% of your net wages be sent to the court, which in turn sends the money to the creditor. If you are self employed, or an independent contractor, a garnishment order can be served on anyone who owes you money.
  • Bank Levy. If you have money in a bank account, and the creditor finds out where your bank account is, the creditor can get a court order requiring the bank to turn those funds over to the court.
  • Seizure of Property. If you have any property that is not exempt, the creditor can get a court order requiring the sheriff to seize that property, sell it, and turn the proceeds over to creditor.
    • The creditor can do this with real estate also, although the procedure is more complicated. When the creditor gets a judgment against you, the creditor can file an "abstract of judgment" with the court. The creditor can then force a sale of the house, or wait until you sell the house and then get paid from the proceeds of the sale.
  • Install a Keeper. If you own a business, the creditor can have the sheriff’s office send a "keeper" to your business, who takes any money that comes into the into the business, whether by mail or by a customer making a purchase.

Do you have a creditor threatening a lawsuit? Have you been served with a collection lawsuit?

Bankruptcy Alternatives: When is doing nothing the best alternative?

As a debtor, you have a number of bankruptcy alternatives you can choose. Surprisingly, one of these is doing nothing at all.

If you’re not making payments to your creditors, one or more of the following may happen:

  • The creditor may continue making phone calls to you and sending you threatening letters.
  • The creditor may file suit against you and get a judgment.
  • Once the judgment is obtained, the creditor may use various legal methods of collecting the judgment.
  • The creditor may take any collateral you have agreed to use to secure the loan (such as repossessing an automobile or foreclosing on a house).

If none of these make any difference to you, then doing nothing at all may be your best alternative to bankruptcy. You might be what is called “judgment proof” in that your income or assets are not allowed to be levied or taken. If you don’t mind getting calls and letters (or if the creditors don’t have your phone number), if you don’t care whether a creditor gets a judgment because you are “judgment proof”, and if you have no collateral for the creditor to take back, then you don’t really have to do anything to handle your creditors. I recommend you talk with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before embarking on this route.