Wells Fargo Settles Fraud Claims with Government

The New York Times today reports that Wells Fargo has settled claims that it defrauded the government by processing mortgage loans for certain low income individuals whom Wells knew did not qualify for particular programs and then failing to advise the government that these people did not qualify. When the borrowers defaulted and the mortgages failed, Wells Fargo then demanded that the government reimburse it under these programs. The Times further notes that Wells is the last of the big banks to settle these types of claims with the government. Wells will have to pay $1.2 Billion to settle. It is not clear if these funds will make their way into the programs to help homeowners save their homes.

The Complaint alleged Wells poorly trained it employees, failed to properly underwrite the loans and failed to advise the government when it discovered that certain borrowers were ineligible for the program. Although 1.2 Billion is a large sum, it is miniscule when compare with the chaos which Wells and the other big banks caused the entire world economy and the terrible suffering of millions of Americans caught up in the financial disaster who faced foreclosure on their homes. The article makes no mention of jail time for any of the Wells executives.

If you are still struggling with mortgage debt, please feel free to contact us to speak about a mortgage modification or a possible Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to try to get some relief. To see the full article follow this link: NY Times-Wells to Pay 1.2 Billion

Mortgage Fraudster Sent to Jail

A recent item in Newsday reports that Aaron Wider, a mortgage broker who lured people into mortgages which they could not pay, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. It is about time that those who perpetrated these frauds on consumers receive the punishment which they deserve. We still wait anxiously to see if any of the executives of the nations biggest banks, who orchestrated the massive collapse of the economy are brought to justice. Unfortunately, his conviction will do little to help those who have already lost their homes or who are still in foreclosure. If you are still looking to obtain a mortgage modification, call us to discuss your options. For more information click on the following link — Newsday

Corinthian College ordered to Pay Damages

The news media recently reported that Corinthian College, which also operates Heald College and WyoTech was recently found by a Federal Judge to have committed deceptive acts and practices by misrepresenting to prospective students the career opportunities which would be available after attending these schools. The Court concluded that in many circumstances the education the students received was worthless.

Unfortunately Corinthian also filed for bankruptcy which makes it unlikely that any students will ever receive any type of meaningful refund.

The good news is that one of the larges of the for profit colleges which offered worthless educations for inflated costs has been driven out of business.

The bad news is that thousands of students were cheated before this institution was exposed as a fraud and a cheat. Thousands of former student of these institutions owe millions of dollars in student loans and have received nothing of value in return.

With so many good public 4 year and community college options available, we find it amazing that so many students are still lured into the myriad of worthless for profit schools.

We urge all students and their parents to review all options before making a choice as to an educational institution.

For more information, follow this link to a Washington Post article

Hanna & Associates Forced to Settle

Over the many years we have been representing consumers in bankruptcy and debt collection matters we have repeatedly seen lawsuits brought by Hanna & Associates. Many times our clients had no recollection of incurring the debt over which the suit was being brought. For a long time we have suspected that this debt collection firm was bringing these lawsuits without any basis. A recent article in Collections & CreditRisk reports that this very aggressive debt collector is about to settle a lawsuit brought on by the Consumer Financial Protection Board. We are pleased that this new federal consumer protection agency has aggressively gone after one of the nation’s most awful debt collection mills.

If you are currently facing a lawsuit brought by Hanna & Associates on behalf of an alleged creditor please contact this office as we may be able to provide assistance in defending against this action.

We applaud the actions of the Consumer Financial Protection Board and urge every citizen to contact the agency to applaud its good work on behalf of consumers.

If you would like more information regarding the settlement of this lawsuit please follow this link Collections & CreditRisk

RoboCalls are Now Permitted on Student Loans

There is more bad news for student loan borrowers. The student loan debt collectors are now permitted to use robocalls to reach student loan borrowers. This action was authorized by a provision of the recent budget bill which passed through Congress. The bill allowed changes to the Consumer Telephone Protection Act. For more information follow the link to the article in the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/10/27/the-government-wants-student-debt-collectors-to-robocall-your-cellphone/

Mortgage Fraud

The Consumer Financial Protection Board(CFPB) recently announced that it has ordered mortgage lender Amerisave Mortgage Corp., to pay $19.3 million for engaging in a bait and switch fraud affecting borrowers who made applications for mortgage loans from this lender.

The fraud occurred at numerous points in the borrower’s interaction with this lender. It started when the borrower first visited the company’s website and requested a quote, the quote which they received was based on an 800 FICO score. Additionally inaccurate rates and terms were posted on the company’s Website. At closing additional and unexpected fees were added to the borrower’s charges.

Ocwen is back in the news again. The New York Department of Financial Services recently reported that when has been collecting fees from distressed homeowners for force-placed Insurance through an affiliated company which practice is forbidden in New York State.

If you are considering the purchase of a home or a refinance of a home mortgage please make certain to consult with and review the documents with an attorney.

Should you require assistance with the attorneys in our office have substantial experience reviewing mortgage documents and would be pleased to assist you.

We can be reached at 732-752-8834.

Bank of America Mortgage Modifications

The United States Department of Justice recently anounced that it had reached a new settlement with Bank of America. As a result of this settlement, Bank of America is resolving many outstanding claims against it which were made by the various Departments of the US government and also matters outstanding with several State Governments.

The settlement is valued at 16.65 billion dollars. Of greatest interest to consumers is the fact that of the 16.65 billion, 7 billion is earmarked for relief to consumers. Those eligible for relief include consumers who had mortgages with Bank of America, Countrywide and Merrill Lynch. The relief may come in the form Mortgage Modifications and possibly may include Principal Loan reduction for some homeowners.

If you have a mortgage which was with Bank of America, Countrywide and/or Merrill Lynch, now is the time to seriously consider filing for a mortgage modification.

Our office stands ready to assist you should you choose to apply for a mortgage modification. Do NOT let this opportunity pass. If you would like to schedule an appointment to meet with us call us at 732-752-8834

For more information click here



It has been some time since we have posted to this item on our website. We remain convinced that the aggregate debt accumulated by students, parents, grandparents and family friends through student loan borrowing is going to be one of the most important factors in the next major financial crisis. As we have noted before on this site our, legislators must get to work to fashion a solution to this problem. In the items noted below we bring to your attention various issues which have been addressed in the popular and financial press over the last several months. If these issues are important to you and your family we urge you to contact you elected officials at all levels and demand that they put some energy into finding a solution for these problems.

FOR PROFIT COLLEGES – Finally a day of reckoning

A recent Bloomberg article recounts the Department of Education cutting off Corinthian Colleges from receiving federally-subsidized student loans as a result of its students’ high delinquent rates (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-07/corinthian-takedown-signals-tougher-education-agency-enforcement.html). New rules allow the Department of Education to impose restrictions on schools with consecutive years of high student loan delinquent rates. Eventually, the government can force a school out of business. The Department of Education’s action reflects the growing number of students carrying thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars in debt and the growing delinquent rates. Critics counter the new rules have a “chilling effect,” allowing the federal government too much control over higher education. If you have large student loans from a for profit college such as Corinthian, please contact us as there may be some relief available to you.

The Picture Gets Bleaker for Student Loan Borrowers
A recent New York Times editorial (http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/author/mark-kantrowitz/) demonstrates the bleak future for student loan debtors. In a statistical analysis, student loan expert Mark Kantrowitz states that one-third of borrowers are late paying their first student loan bill. Particularly troubling, Kantrowitz notes that 35% of young people are 90 days ore more delinquent on their payments. Even with the six-month grace period after graduation provided by the federal government, students are still having trouble repaying their loans. Kantrowitz’ commentary confirms the concerns of the potentially pending student loan crisis. Without new legislation we see little hope that people caught in this trap will be able to get any relief. Even if you do not have a student loan you are effected by this problem. Young college graduates will become the next generation of persons who whoudl be buying home, cars, and other durables. If these people are crippled by overwhelming student debt it effects us all.

Student Debt and Senior Citizens
Young people are not the only ones carrying student debt. A report by Business Week (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-08-12/more-elderly-americans-are-struggling-with-student-loan-debt) shows a growing number of adults over 50 with student loans. Even though seniors hold 17% of the debt, the amount of debt held has tripled since 2005. This reflects a growing number of unemployed adults going back to school to develop new skills for an evolving job market. Although education provides its benefits, the article notes that seniors have to pay their student loans out of their Social Security. With the cost of living rising in America, less Social Security for seniors in order to repay student loans spells trouble for the future. This is an issue which requires all of our attention.

Predatory Companies Falsely Promising Relief from Student Loans
Recognizing the growing number of students with student debt, companies typically aligned with credit card debt settlement are changing their practices. In a recent New York Times article (http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/companies-that-offer-help-with-student-loans-often-predatory-officials-say/), the newspaper reports an increase in the amount of companies offering student loan debt settlement. For a lump sum and monthly fee, the companies offer services to manage the student’s debt load. Unbeknownst to the student, many of these services are already offered for free through the Department of Education. Many times, students pay for services they could have received for free. In an effort to combat these practices, states like Illinois are suing these companies before they gain an even larger foothold in the student debt industry. We have seen the conmen savage home mortgage borrowers, there are recnt reports that they are moving into automobile financing, and this report indicates that they are already in the student loan arena. Our advice is to be cautious if you choose to deal with any of these companies.
If you have questions about any of the issues raised in this post, please feel free to contact our office.


New Jersey Foreclosure Future Bleak

Foreclosure levels in New Jersey are the second highest in the nation, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. New Jersey’s 7% of homes in foreclosure just barely rank behind Florida’s 7.1% of homes in foreclosure. New Jersey also has the second highest level of mortgage delinquencies of more than 90 days.

While most states appear to be on track to get caught up with foreclosures by spring of 2014, New Jersey will likely require at least another year to clear its backlog. This means that the frustration of New Jersey homeowners who are stuck in foreclosure will likely continue for another 18 months, if not more.

There are many options available for struggling homeowners. Among these are loan modifications, debt reorganizations, and bankruptcy. We have over 50 years of combined experience dealing with troubling financial situations. We are glad to talk to anyone free of charge regarding their situation and options for the future.

To read the Wall Street Journal article about foreclosures, please click here.

If you want to speak to an experienced professional about your financial situation, please feel free to contact us using the form on this website or by calling the office at 732-752-8834.

New Student Loan Rules for Repayment

New rules put out by the Education Department recently offer some much-needed protection for borrowers. Data released by the department indicates that more than 600,000 borrowers who began repayment in 2010 had defaulted by 2012. New rules cap payment amounts at levels similar to those offered by the department’s income-based repayment programs.

Borrowers who wish to bring their loans out of default and back into good standing will be allowed to do so by making “reasonable and affordable” installment payments. In the department’s program, borrowers’ payments are limited to 15% of their discretionary income, which is defined as income above 150% of the federal poverty level.

Further, the new rules will eliminate the requirement that some servicers have put in place of a minimum payment. While the department’s rules have never mandated a minimum payment, they will now specifically forbid it in cases where borrowers qualify for income-based repayment. The Education Department hopes that these rules, the vast majority of which go into effect on July 1, 2014, will help borrowers be able to more effectively manage their student loans.

For more information on the new student loan rules, please click here. If you would like to discuss your student loan or debt situation, please contact the office using the form on this website or by calling 732-752-8834.