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OneWest Bank Pays Bigtime for Dual-Tracking in Foreclosure Lawsuit
A California couple who sued OneWest Bank, IndyMac Mortgage Services, U.S. Bank and GSR Loan Mortgage Trust has received a million settlement and title to two of their houses that they lost to foreclosure.
The case gives impetus to other homeowners who have lost their homes to foreclosure to sue banks for the common practice of “dual tracking.” Dual tracking happens when banks pursue foreclosure against homeowners in default while at the same time giving those homeowners the false belief they are working with them by offering loan modifications.
In this case, the banks were sued for fraud, wrongful foreclosure, unfair business practices, quiet title, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. While the homeowners were making payments pursuant to two loan modifications, One West Bank assigned the note to U.S. Bank who foreclosed on both properties.
For more info, call Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766.Read More
Here are some tax tips that the IRS just issued. Since it is that time of year, I thought that they might be helpful.
As always, if you need more info call Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766.
Five Tax Credits That Can Reduce Your Taxes
Tax credits help reduce the taxes you owe. Some credits are also refundable. That means that, even if you owe no tax, you may still get a refund.
Here are five tax credits you shouldn’t overlook when filing your 2013 federal tax return:
1. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable credit for people who work but don’t earn a lot of money. It can boost your refund by as much as $6,044. You may be eligible for the credit based on the amount of your income, your filing status and the number of children in your family. Single workers with no dependents may also qualify for EITC. Visit IRS.gov and use the EITC Assistant tool to see if you can claim this credit. For more see Publication 596, Earned Income Credit.
2. The Child and Dependent Care Credit can help you offset the cost of daycare or day camp for children under age 13. You may also be able to claim it for costs paid to care for a disabled spouse or dependent. For details, see Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.
3. The Child Tax Credit can reduce the taxes you pay by as much as $1,000 for each qualified child you claim on your tax return. The child must be under age 17 in 2013 and meet other requirements. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov to see if you can claim the credit. See Publication 972, Child Tax Credit, for more about the rules.
4. The Saver’s Credit helps workers save for retirement. You may qualify if your income is $59,000 or less in 2013 and you contribute to an IRA or a retirement plan at work. Check out Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).
5. The American Opportunity Tax Credit can help you offset college costs. The credit is available for four years of post-secondary education. It’s worth up to $2,500 per eligible student enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period. Even if you don’t owe any taxes, you still may qualify. However, you must complete Form 8863, Education Credits, and file a tax return to claim the credit. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov to see if you can claim the credit. Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, has the details.
Before you claim any tax credit, be sure you qualify for it. Find out more about these credits on IRS.gov. You can also get free IRS forms and publications on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
PNC Financial Services Settles One Case for $35 Million and Receives Subpoenas Over Mortgage-Lending Practices
In December, PNC reached a $35 million discrimination settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over allegations that National City charged higher interest rates and fees to minority mortgage borrowers.
National City was a Cleveland-based lender that PNC acquired in late 2008.
Now prosecutors have served subpoenas on PNC Financial Services Group Inc. over certain mortgage-lending practices. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York has issued the subpoenas directed toward National City Bank’s practices involving loans that are insured by the FHA and “origination, sale and securitization practices” for certain loans not insured by the FHA.
Previously, PNC had received a subpoena for information regarding their claims for costs incurred when foreclosing on loans that are insured by FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
PNC raised its estimate for possible losses stemming from legal proceedings. It now believes it could lose up to $800 million above the $425 million it had already set aside for such matters.
If you need information on how this effects you, call Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766.
Now that it is that time of year when we all file for our tax returns, it is advisable that you watch out for three tax scams.
1. Telephone Calls.—The scam artists pretend that they are the IRS and tell you you owe money. Hang up immediately and call IRS at 800-829-1040. If you know you do not owe taxes call the Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484. You should also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov.
2. Identity theft. — They steal your identity and file a false tax return to claim your money. If you believe that someone has stolen your identity call IRS Identity Protection at 800-908-4490.
3. Phishing.—The scam artists email you pretending that they are the IRS and ask you to give them financial info. The IRS never initiates contact by email. Phishing emails should be sent to the IRS at email@example.com
Call Linda Fessler 213-617-8684 or 213-446-6766Read More
1Rear-End Car Crash Can Cause
Neck Injuries and Whiplash
Call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-617-8684 or 213-446-6766.
One of the most common types of car collisions in Southern California is the rear-end car accident. There are many factors that cause these crashes but most of the time, it is because of tailgating and speeding. More often than not, the driver of the rear car is at fault in rear end car accidents.
Rear-end collisions are not as serious as other types of auto accidents, but the injuries sustained in rear-enders can affect the victims for the rest of their lives. Victims often sustain a whiplash or other neck injuries such as nerve damage, disc damage, and sometimes fractures of the cervical vertebrae.
Whiplash and Other Neck Injuries
So why whiplash and neck injuries? When a vehicle is struck from the back, the vehicle gets pushed forward, the seat pushes back against the victim’s torso and propels the victim forward. This will cause distortion as the victim’s unsupported head lags behind the torso as the neck bends backwards. This distortion pushes the person’s neck muscles and ligaments beyond the normal range of motion which can cause injury.
Neck Injury and Insurance Compensation
In the U.S. neck injuries (including whiplash) are the most frequently reported to insurance companies.
Effect of a Neck Injury
Many victims make light of the effects of whiplash and neck injuries because they think the symptoms are minor (i.e. soreness, neck pain and stiffness). They do not report the injury or go to the doctor. But there is the potential that these injuries can become long-term and disabling. It is important for any victim of a rear-end accident to first seek medical attention even if you think you’re fine. Second, you should talk to an attorney so that you can recover for your medical expenses, property damage, loss of wages and pain and suffering. If you go it alone, most insurance companies will take advantage of you.
Here are some tips you may follow to avoid neck injuries or whiplash:
Make sure that your vehicle’s headrest is positioned about 3.5 inches below the top of the head.
Watch your seating position. It is advisable that when the driver is seated, the distance from the back of his head to the headrest is less than 4 inches in order to minimize neck distortion.
Buy or choose vehicles with high ratings of geometric head restraints. High ratings equal less risk of neck injuries.
For questions or concerns about neck injuries or whiplash in a rear-end crash, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-617-8684 or 213-446-6766.
2 WAYS TO COLLECT FROM A MORTGAGE COMPANY FOR THEIR WRONGDOING—-Call Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766
One of the ways is a consent order. The other is a lawsuit.
A consent order is a legal document which provides information about an agreement reached among individuals/companies involved in a legal case. Also known as a consent decree, this type of order allows the parties to settle a case without having to wait for a court judgment. It is legally binding.
In order to be legally binding, a consent order must be approved by a court. Once the order has been approved, it goes into effect.
This voluntary agreement can be a useful tool for resolving cases without a trial, thus resulting in a quicker resolution of the issues.
Time saving is a reason some companies and government agencies will attempt to resolve a legal issue with a consent order. For example, this technique has been used to a great extent by our government against the mortgage companies that helped bring the economy down with their predatory lending and other unethical practices.
Many of these consent orders required payments to the borrowers, modification of their mortgages, or even paydowns of their mortgages.
Sometimes an injured party who accepts a payment as a result of these consent orders is not allowed to file his/her own lawsuit; but on most occasions they can proceed and file their own claims against the mortgage company through a lawsuit, thus providing a second way of collecting your damages. Below are some of the consent orders that have recently been amended to better serve their objectives.
- Consent Order Amendment for Aurora Bank, FSB (PDF)
- Consent Order Amendment for Bank of America (PDF)
- Consent Order Amendment for Citibank (PDF)
- Consent Order Amendment for HSBC Bank (PDF)
- Consent Order Amendment for JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (PDF)
- Consent Order Amendment for MetLife Bank, N.A. (PDF)
- Consent Order Amendment for PNC Bank, N.A. (PDF)
- Consent Order Amendment for Sovereign Bank (PDF)
- Consent Order Amendment for U.S. Bank National Association, U.S. Bank National Association ND (PDF)
- Consent Order Amendment for Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (PDF)
- FAQs About the Independent Foreclosure Review Agreements
If you have any questions about these consent orders or about filing your own lawsuit, please call LINDA FESSLER at 213-446-6766.
Bankruptcy Chapter 7
Call Linda Fessler 213-617-8684 or cell 213-446-6766
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a legal protection for people struggling with debt. Bankruptcy provides consumers with a chance to eliminate debt, to delay or prevent their homes from being sold in a foreclosure sale, to work out a modification with the mortgage company or to buy time to arrange a short sale.
In order to file under Chapter 7, a person must demonstrate that he or she does not have the “means” (that is, income) to make payments on their debts. In most cases, a filer’s assets are exempt (that is, they get to keep them). Chapter 7 has the power to completely eliminate a filer’s eligible unsecured debt. Debts from credit cards, medical bills, payday loans and judgements are all usually eligible for discharge in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Once a debt has been discharged, no one has the right to collect it. Anyone who wants to file a Chapter 7 must complete a credit counseling session with an approved counseling service before filing their bankruptcy petition with the court. After the petition is filed they must take an approved financial management class. These sessions normally take about an hour and a half each. But it is well worth taking them.
Chapter 7 provides for the automatic stay. As soon as a person files a bankruptcy case the automatic stay takes effect. It usually remains in effect for the duration of the bankruptcy case. As a result of the stay, most creditors are prevented from taking collection action against the person who has filed the bankruptcy. This means they cannot foreclose, repossess, garnish wages, phone or mail you or continue with lawsuits that are already in court. Creditors who attempt to collect while the automatic stay is active are in violation of the law.
If you are interested in filing a Chapter 7, please contact Linda Fessler at 213-617-8684 or 213-446-6766. My fees include the convenience of working with me from your home and taking your counseling classes on the phone or online.
Multi-billion dollar Ocwen Class Action
Ocwen Financial Corporation, the largest nonbank mortgage loan servicer in the country, is being ordered to pay for years of misconduct in mortgage servicing. The misconduct included, but was not limited to, unauthorized fees, deception, and illegal foreclosures. Ocwen will be required to provide $2 billion in loan modification relief and will be required to refund $125 million to consumers whose homes were foreclosed.
Ocwen has been taking advantage of homeowners with shortcuts and unauthorized fees and deceiving homeowners about loan modifications.
Ocwen is a mortgage servicer. A mortgage servicer is the company to whom you make your monthly payment. A mortgage servicer administers mortgage loans, including collecting and recording payments from borrowers. A mortgage servicer will also handle defaults and foreclosures, and may offer programs to avoid foreclosure to assist delinquent borrowers.
This settlement involves Ocwen, Litton Loan Servicing LP and Homeward Residential Holdings LLC (also known as American Home Servicing, Inc. or AMHSI). If your loan was serviced by Ocwen, Litton, or Homeward, and you lost your home to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2012, the settlement administrator will mail you a notice letter and claim form.
For loan modification options, you may be contacted directly by Ocwen. You can also contact Ocwen for information about specific loan modification programs and find out if you will be impacted by this settlement.
The most important fact about this settlement is that you can file a claim and collect and still sue Ocwen for additional money. Many of the class action judgements will not allow you to do this. If you need more information please call me for a free telephonic consultation.
LINDA FESSLER 213-446-6766.