Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Oops, I did it again.

No, no, Brittany Spears did not file bankruptcy, but I have filed a Chapter 13 for a client.  He came to me in a pinch, because his car had just been repossessed and he wanted to get it back.

I introduced him to chapter 13.  This is an effective tool I used to force his lender to stop the auction scheduled for his car.  They were required by law to stop the sale, just hours before it happened because of my client's automatic stay protection the chapter 13 bankruptcy case provided him.

We came up with an affordable payment plan, and even allowed him to save thousands of dollars on the car, since it was terribly upside-down, where he owed much more than it was worth.   I was even able to allow him to pay back just 10 percent of his unsecured creditors, namely his credit cards and medical bills, discharging them in full upon the completion of his case.

I also was able to help him have an affordable payment plan, stretching the payments over 5 years, which helped keep his payments low.

Check out my Chapter 13 YouTube video here, where I get in to more detail on chapter 13 bankruptcy to help save a car.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chapter 13 bankruptcy may not stop prosecution for fraudulent receipt of unemployment benefits.

A recent decision by Judge Cassling of the Northern District if Illinois Bankruptcy Court,  In re Dawn Marie Sori, bankruptcy case 12 B 01108,  finds that the Attorney General and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) did not violate the automatic stay provisions under the US Bankruptcy Code.

Specifically, the actions taken by the Attorney General and IDES are excepted from the automatic stay under 11 U.S.C. § 362(b)(1) and (b)(4).  The debtor received numerous payments of unemployment, which were later to be determined fraudulent.   The debtor filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy protection and sought to pay this debt back under her chapter 13 repayment plan, and IDES even filed a proof of claim in this case.

The attorney general filed a criminal complaint against the debtor in DuPage County, IL. An arrest warrant was issued, and the debtor surrendered, and was required to post a $1000 bond.  The debtor filed a motion for sanctions that these actions were a violation of the Automatic Stay protection that the debtor is entitled to, and requested damages pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(k)(1) which provides a remedy for the debtor to recover her damages.

Judge Cassling, citing various caselaw, ruled that the actions were excepted under the exceptions to the automatic stay, 11 U.S.C. § 362(b)(1) "states that the filing of a petition does not operate as a stay “of the commencement or continuation of a criminal action or proceeding against the debtor[.]”  Further, Judge Cassling indicates the legislative history of that code section notes that "the bankruptcy laws are not a haven for criminal offenders, but are designed to give relief from financial over-extension."

Judge Cassling further indicated, that the debtor did not meet it's burden, even when looking at the minority opinions when analyzing relevant case law.  Judge Cassling states "because the Debtor has failed to establish that either IDES or [Attorney General] acted in bad faith or that their primary motive was to collect a pre-petition debt, the Court finds that their actions are excepted from the automatic stay even under the narrower interpretation of § 362(b)(1).

The full opinion can be viewed here.

So, while the IDES may play along with the bankruptcy, they don't have to, especially if the plan is not paying 100% to the unsecured creditors.   There is no guarantee that a debtor would complete a case.  I haven't seen any objections in chapter 7 cases in over 10 years, but it doesn't mean they cannot still proceed with criminal prosecution for fraud.   

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chapter 13 bankruptcy can get rid of your second mortgage. File for No money down*

Are you faced with foreclosure?
Do you owe more on your first mortgage than your home is even worth?
Do you want to get rid of your second mortgage?

I can help!
Chapter 13 bankruptcy can strip off a second mortgage (and even a third) if you owe more money on the first mortgage than your home is even worth.   With the huge real estate value collapse we've seen over the last 5 years, homeowners are frequently upside down on their homes.  They are forced to attempt a short sale, which is extremely difficult.   They have to negotiate with their second mortgage companies to agree to take less than what is owed, then are stuck owing a deficiency balance, or if the bank writes it off, they are hit with a huge tax bill, since they are liable to pay taxes on the amount reduced, just as if that was income.

So, debtors often turn to chapter 13 bankruptcy to help.
What I can do with a chapter 13 plan is to catch them up on their first mortgage if they are behind.
I can also force the second mortgage to be paid the same rate as credit cards, medical bills, utilities and other unsecured debts.   At the end of the plan, the second mortgage is required to release their lien on the home.

Hopefully, by the end of the 3 to 5 year chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan, their home would increase in value and the debtor would be in a much better position, especially if they look to sell.

This cram-down or lien stripping is done either thru the chapter 13 plan, by motion in the chapter 13, or by adversary proceeding, depending on the judge in your case.

For example, lets, say you bought your home for $300,000.   You took out a first mortgage of $200,000  and a second mortgage of $100,000.  Then, say today the home is just worth $180,000 because of the real estate/mortgage crisis.

I can set up a case, where you would pay $166.67 month toward that second mortgage (through your chapter 13 plan payment). You would not need to make the regular monthly payment on that second mortgage.   Using the cram-down and lien strip provisions of the chapter 13 bankruptcy code, you would pay this for 5 years.   At the end of that time, the second mortgage would be required to release their lien.

Call me today for a free bankruptcy consultation and I can show you your savings!
Let me lead you to financial freedom and a fresh start.

If you mention this post, I am offering to file Chapter 13 cases for no attorneys fees up front, you'll just pay court fees of $310 and $35 each for credit counseling and debtor education courses.

*This is limited to first time chapter 13 filers, must be employed full time, and must go onto payroll control for your chapter 13 payment plan.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Good news for homeowners - Foreclosures are down to Pre-Mortgage Crisis levels

Foreclosure filings across the country decreased in June to it's lowest levels since 2006 when the housing market collapsed, Bloomberg News reported today. Homes reporting an official default, foreclosure sales auction or repossession totaled 107,194 last month, down 16% from last year, and the lowest since June 2006 reports RealtyTrac Inc. in a report issued today. That doesn't mean that there aren't thousands more who are a payment, two, or three payments behind or more, however. Chapter 13 can still help. It can cure arrears, it can also pay down unsecured second mortgages pennies on the dollar in many instances for those who are still upside down on their homes. Values are bouncing back, but still not as quickly as many hope . Contact us for a chapter 13 review to see if it would be right for you. Leeders & Associates 312-346-7400

Is your student loan company not working with you as to agreeable payment terms?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a way to resolve this. With chapter 13, you'll pay back a portion of your unsecured debts, usually from 10% up to 100% based on your income and assets. You can stretch these payments up to 5 years. The student loan company cannot collect from you during the bankruptcy. You can make additional payments to pay it down though, as the interest will still run on the unpaid portion while you are in the case. Most debtors are able to work out more agreeable payment terms with the student loan companies after the chapter 13 is completed. Contact us today at 312-346-7400 or visit for more information. We offer free consultations too!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Eliminate tickets with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Tickets. Parking tickets, speeding tickets, tollway violation tickets. Now there are red light tickets and speeding tickets from a camera now too. Everyone gets them, and everyone hates them. Get too many, and your vehicle could be booted and even impounded. If you are contemplating a bankruptcy case, consider chapter 13 bankruptcy. Many people are stuck with tickets after a chapter 7, and the city often wants a huge down payment for their 'hardship' plan. But with a chapter 13, you can discharge all of your tickets entirely. True, you will usually pay back a portion of the violations, often as little as 10 cents on the dollar. Talk to me today to see if a chapter 13 would be useful to you. I'll look at your budget and will devise a plan to repay your creditors over time. I can even get your cat back if the city still has it when I file your chapter 13 bankruptcy case too! Act now Attorney Terry Leeders 312-346-7400

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We are moving!

We are moving!!
Here is our new contact information effective 12/18/2012:

Chicago, IL Office
205 W. Randolph Street
Suite 1240
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Ph. 312-346-7400
Fax 312-346-7401