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Richard George Fonfrias
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Richard Fonfrias’s Answers

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  • I have been contacted by a collection agency and have questions regarding my rights on repayment.

    I received a call from a collection agency on a student loan that I co-signed for. THe agency told me the loan has been in default since March of 2009. THis is the first I have heard of it. No notice from the bank regarding the loan being delinque...

    Richard’s Answer

    A Chapter 13 bankruptcy would force the creditor to deal on your terms based on what you can afford. If you do not go that route, then consider the following:

    The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) sets the national standard for collection agencies. The FDCPA, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), prohibits abusive collection tactics that harass you or invade your privacy. (15 USC §§1692-1695) The full text of the FDCPA is found at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf

    Generally, the FDCPA only applies to agencies that collect debts for others. However, other federal or state laws may apply to in-house debt collections. For more on debt collections not covered by the federal law, as well as collection laws in California and other states, see Parts 4 and 5 and Attachment A of this guide.

    Can a debt collector contact me by phone?

    Yes, but within limits. A debt collector cannot:

    Call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. unless you agree.Call you repeatedly or use the phone to harass you.Trick you into accepting collect calls or paying for telegrams. Use obscene language, make negative comments about your character, or make religious or ethnic slurs.

    Call you at work if the collector knows your boss does not allow such calls.

    If you have an attorney, the collector should call that person, not you.

    Fair play under the FDCPA also means a debt collector owes you the truth about who it is and what it intends to do. False statements and deceptive practices like the following are not allowed. A collector cannot:

    •Claim to be an attorney or government employee when it is not.
    •Send you documents that look like legal papers when they are not.
    •State that forms sent to you are not legal documents when they are.
    •Say that you committed a crime.
    A debt collector threatened to sue me. Can it do that?

    A collection agency can file a lawsuit to collect a debt. However, among the many things a collector is not allowed to do is threaten you with a lawsuit just to get you to pay the debt. Examples of threats and deceptive practices prohibited by the FDCPA are when the collector:

    •Says it will garnish your wages or sell your property if it is not legal to do that.
    •Says it will sue you, if the collector doesn't intend to sue.
    •Is not truthful about the amount of money you owe.
    •Says you will be arrested if you don't pay the debt.
    •Threatens you with violence.
    Does a creditor have to tell me before it sends my account to a collection agency? What about credit bureaus?

    You have no right to be notified under the FDCPA that an account will be referred to a collection agency. However, your state may have a law that requires notice in some cases. In California, for example, you must be notified before a health or fitness club refers a debt to a collection agency. If you are threatened with such a referral with no sign of your creditor carrying through on the threat, the creditor may have violated the law.

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  • Have read that a reverse mortgage goes into default if the homeowner declares bankruptcy. Can such a homeowner stay in the house

    If a homeowner has a reverse mortgage in place and has taken out all the equity value in a lump sum, and then has to declare bankruptcy, what happens to the mortgage? Is the mortgage holder or FHA allowed to foreclose? Or, is the home itself stil...

    Richard’s Answer

    If a homeowner files a chapter 13 bankruptcy, they would be able to stay in the home while they workout any defaulted mortgage payments. Chapter 13 bankruptcy would also stop any foreclosure. Please contact me to discuss.

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  • Can a restraint be put on a joint account for a credit card that has not been paid for more than three years

    A credit card was opened in FL by my ex wife in my name over 5 years ago. I opened an account in Chicago since i am no longer living in FL. A restraint was placed on my account without my knowledge of the payments not being made. What is my next s...

    Richard’s Answer

    Yes. Without the protection of bankruptcy you are at the mercy of the credit card companies. There is probably a judgment against you. I would be happy to discuss the matter with you.

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  • State of IL put a lien on my bank account, I am unemployed and had enough money to pay rent and eat? Can I file a complaint to g

    In addition It was suggested by Illinois Child Support that I file a motion and go in front of a judge and request a reduction 3 times in Chicago I was ignored and denied a reduction even though I provided proof of being unemployed.

    Richard’s Answer

    You could stop the lien, free up your bank account, and pay back the child support in a Chapter 13. It would be much simpler than the course you are on now. You would however have to have a source of income.

    I would be happy to discuss this matter with you.

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  • Can a state debt be covered under bankruptcy chapter 13"?

    If one owed the state 2-5 grand for unemployment overpay could it be covered on a chapter 13 bankruptcy?

    Richard’s Answer

    Yes, I have attached a detailed breakdown of what debts are covered under which chapter.

    Debts Dischargeable in Chapter 7

    • Personal loans -- such as money borrowed from friends
    • Credit cards
    • Repossession deficiencies
    • Auto accident claims
    • Health care bills
    • Judgments
    • Debts from a Business
    • Leases
    • Guaranties
    • Negligence claims
    • Tax penalties over 3 years old
    • Non priority taxes

    Possibly Dischargeable in Chapter 7

    • Willful and malicious injuries to others
    • Embezzlement
    • Fraud or dishonesty
    • Debts arising from breach of fiduciary duty

    Note: Creditors must file suit promptly to contest the discharge of this claim.

    Need Chapter 13 for:

    Debt Limit: Disallowed for debtors with unsecured debt over $336,900 or
    secured debt over $1,010,650.

    • Luxury purchases on credit within 90 days of filing
    • Cash advances of over $750 within 70 days of the filing date
    • Debts for loans taken out against retirement accounts
    • Trust fund taxes
    • Child or spousal support
    • Fines, penalties, restitution
    • Accident suits involving intoxication
    • Debts not listed -- see below
    • Penalties payable to the government other than tax penalties
    • Student loans
    • Debts in prior bankruptcy and debtor was denied a discharge
    • Taxes for years where return was unfiled or filed for less than 2 years
    • Taxes for which no return has been filed
    • Taxes first due within three years of the bankruptcy
    • Taxes assessed within 240 days (8 months) of the bankruptcy filing. “Assessed” means you did not file a return, so the IRS computed how much they think you owe.

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  • Will I loose my house and 404c retirement plan when going bankrupt? What options are available?

    My husband is the only souce of income for our household, as we have two children with severe developmental dissabilities. We do not qualify for any assistance from the state or county or fed gov. as they say he makes too much money. I am needed...

    Richard’s Answer

    You can save your home, and your 404c retirement with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You need to see a bankruptcy attorney immediately. Since your husband has a stable income, you will probably meet the eligibility requirements.

    If on the other hand you do not have enough disposable income to fund a chapter 13 plan, chapter 7 could be an option. Money in retriement plans is exempt, and if your residence is upside down then there is no equity for creditors.

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  • I got married one year ago- can I get a mortgage if wife filed bankruptcy 2 years ago?

    Can I get a mortgage in just my name even though I am married now to avoid any problem obtaining a loan?

    Richard’s Answer

    Probably yes. If you apply for the mortgage yourself your wife's bankruptcy will not come into play. I recommend using a Mortgage Broker. they work with many lenders, and shop around to find one who will make you a loan. There is a fee, however it saves you precious time. A good online broker is E-Loan.

    Examine your wife's credit since the bankruptcy to see if it has improved, if it has she may actually improve your results.

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  • I filed for bankruptcy and subsequently was laid off after the filing. I cannot make the bankruptcy payments. What happens?

    I filed for bankruptcy and received my monthly payments on 9/16. I was laid off on 8/16. My attorney advised me not to inform the court I was laid off. I still have not found work and cannot make the court payments. What can I do?

    Richard’s Answer

    Unfortunately if you are unable to make your plan payments, the Chapter 13 trustee will eventually dismiss your case. You could convert the case to chapter 7

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  • Should bankruptcy (Chp 7) be the last choice (No asset and property, only credit cards debts)?

    I just got divorced with 43000 credit cards debts left from my ex-husband (he used my name to open credit cards). it's almost impossible for me to pay the debts. Should I go for bankruptcy? How long after bankruptcy I can rebuild my credit? As it'...

    Richard’s Answer

    Bankruptcy has been used by many of our nation's largest companies like Texaco, America West Airlines, Macy's, T.W.A., Pan Am, A. H. Robbins, Penn Central, Wards – as well as famous people like Jerry Lewis, Kim Basinger, David Bowie, Anita Bryant, Natalie Cole, Mickey Rooney, Walt Disney, Tammy Wynette, Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Isaac Hayes, Don Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, Donald Trump, MC Hammer, Marvin Gaye, Archie Griffin, Dorothy Hamill, Milton Hershey, Perez Hilton, Ronald Isley, LaToya Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, P.T. Barnum, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Burt Reynolds, Larry King, Cyndi Lauper, Abraham Lincoln, and former Treasury Secretary John Connally.

    The same laws that are routinely used by corporate America, and the rich and famous, can protect you and your family.

    In Chapter 7 you can keep the property that is protected in the bankruptcy, and generally anything you acquire after the bankruptcy. The day your bankruptcy is filed acts as a "cut-off" date. Anything you earn after the filing date is yours. Anything that you own or have owed to you before the case is filed is subject to the bankruptcy court's rules. Most normal belongings are protected (as outlined above).

    Today, many stores and banks actively market to people who have filed bankruptcy. Mortgage companies do help applicants get new mortgages with a bankruptcy after two to three years. As a practical matter, you only file a bankruptcy when you can't pay your bills. Because of that, your credit is probably already bad. A bankruptcy won't make it any worse. Bankruptcy puts you in a better position to pay current bills and that should improve your chances of getting new credit.

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  • I filed a chapter 7 in aug 2002 discharged in nov 2002 need to file again I know it has to be 8 yrs but can I retain a lawyer?

    I want to know if I can start proceedings now and maybe get som relief??

    Richard’s Answer

    The eight year requirement only applies to Chapter 7 repeat filings. You Can file a Chapter 13 reorganization. Seek counsel immediately.

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