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Craig D. Robins, Esq. New York Bankruptcy Attorney, Longisland bankruptcy attorney

“ Craig D. Robins, Esq., has been a practicing Long Island bankruptcy attorney for over twenty-four years ”

Craig D. Robins, Esq.

Archive for April, 2009

Long Island Process Serving Company Owner Arrested Today for “Sewer Service”

Posted on Tuesday (April 14, 2009) at 8:45 pm to Bankruptcy and Society
Current Events

Written by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
 
American Legal Services President William Singler arrested for fraud related to
Many consumers have been abused by the egregious fraud perpetrated by American Legal Process, a Lynbrook company used by many high-volume Long Island debt collection law firms
  
Yesterday I posted news about Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announcing an investigation into process servers who fail to properly serve lawsuit papers (Attorney General Investigating Process Servers for Taking Illegal Shortcuts ).
 
Today, Cuomo announced the arrest of the president of Long Island-based American Legal Process (William Singler) for engaging in a fraudulent business scheme in which the company allegedly failed to provide proper legal notification to thousands of New Yorkers facing debt-related lawsuits, causing them unknowingly to default and have costly judgments entered against them without the chance to respond or defend themselves.
 
This process serving company was apparently hired by many high-volume debt collection law firms in New York to serve collection lawsuit papers.  This usually consisted of a summons and complaint which notifies consumers that they are being sued.  American Legal Process (ALP) often neglected to actually serve the papers as required by law, instead engaging in the highly illegal practice of “sewer service,” according to the charges.
 
As a result, many consumers were subsequently harmed when their bank accounts were restrained and their wages garnished.  I have represented many Long Island bankruptcy clients who needed immediate bankruptcy protection because of this.
 
The charges also include allegations that ALP engaged in additional fraud by covering up their illegal activity by falsifying documents, submitted to courts across the state, swearing that proper legal notification had been duly served upon these individuals.
 
In addition, Attorney General Cuomo announced his intent to sue one of ALP’s largest customers, the the high-volume Long Island debt collection firm of Forster & Garbus, for violations of New York State’s consumer protection laws. According to Cuomo, Forster & Garbus used ALP to serve over 28,000 summons and complaints across the state, but failed to supervise the company and relied on legal papers from ALP that it knew or should have known were false.  Many of my Long Island bankruptcy clients have been sued by Forster & Garbus.
 
The investigation also involved some incredible work by the Internal Audit Unit of the New York State Unified Court System, which reviewed more than 100,000 records of affidavits of service.
 
As a result of the investigation and the charges against ALP, there will certainly be a major shakeup in New York collections practices and the likelihood of numerous class-action suits.  It would not surprise me if some of Long Island’s largest collection law firms are driven out of business.  It also appears that the Attorney General may bring charges against other process service companies as well.
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Attorney General Investigating Process Servers for Taking Illegal Shortcuts

Posted on Monday (April 13, 2009) at 10:34 pm to Bankruptcy and Society
Benefits of Bankruptcy
Consumer Advice
Current Events

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating process servers for fraudulent conductMany consumers have had to rush to seek bankruptcy protection to unfreeze accounts that were restrained after “sewer service”
 
 Written by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
  
Over the years, many of my Long Island bankruptcy clients have rushed to my office in shock that their bank accounts had been frozen even though they never received any lawsuit papers.
 
Freezing or “restraining” a bank account is a remedy that a creditor can take against you, but only after they serve you with legal papers (a summons and complaint) and then get a judgment against you.
 
As it turns out, some New York process servers may have taken an illegal shortcut by failing to serve legal papers properly.  As a result, many consumers have been complaining to governmental agencies.
 
New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo recently launched an intensive investigation into possible fraud in the process-serving industry because thousands of consumers may have had their bank accounts frozen or their wages garnished without any knowledge of court proceedings against them.
 
In these times of economic hardship, this issue has become increasingly important.  According to a recent Newsday article, tens of thousands of consumers may have been affected, including many on Long Island.
 
“Sewer Service”
 
Improper service of legal papers is often referred to as “sewer service,” which means that the process server neglected to serve the legal papers properly and may have just as well thrown them down a sewer. 
 
Bad Process Service Frequently Results in Bankruptcy Filing
 
Victims of “sewer service” are usually in serious debt and come to me with their bank accounts frozen.
 
Although a consumer who was improperly served can often bring a legal proceeding to set aside a judgment that the creditor improperly obtained, doing so can be time consuming and costly.  There is often an issue as to whether doing so is even worth it, as most consumers in these circumstances concede that they owe the underlying debt.
 
Usually the quick filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if the consumer is eligible, is enough to unfreeze the bank account and eliminate the debt, as well as all other debts.
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Disabled Veterans Exempted from Bankruptcy Means Test

Posted on Friday (April 3, 2009) at 11:37 am to Bankruptcy Means Test

Disabled Veterans may be exempt from the bankruptcy means testWritten by Craig D. Robins, Esq.

I just prepared a bankruptcy petition for a Long Island bankruptcy client today and I didn’t have to do the means test. The reason? A relatively new law that recently went into effect which excludes some disabled veterans from the means test requirement.

In order to qualify for this exemption from the bankruptcy means test requirement, you must be a disabled veteran and your debts must have been incurred primarily during active duty or homeland defense.

Keep in mind that you must still comply with all of the other bankruptcy requirements such as showing that you do not have sufficient income to make payment to your creditors.

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Will the Senate Approve Cram-Down Legislation to Enable Mortgage Modification in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases?

Posted on Wednesday (April 1, 2009) at 6:14 pm to Bankruptcy Legislation

Long Island consumers are eagerly waiting to see if the Senate approves mortgage cram-down legislation for Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases

Written by Craig D. Robins, Esq.

I previously wrote that President Obama wants Congress to pass legislation permitting bankruptcy courts to modify mortgage terms in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. (President Obama Announces Foreclosure Remedy )

This legislation has moved closer to becoming reality, but still faces a major hurdle in the U.S. Senate.

On March 5th, the U.S. House of Representatives, on a bipartisan vote of 234-191, approved H.R, 1106, the “Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009. This was the first step. (See my post, House Approves Cram-Down Bankruptcy Bill)

Now, the Senate must vote in favor of the same legislation, which is pending as S. 61. Our own New York Senator, Chuck Schumer, has been instrumental in pushing this bill. However, we are seeing that the Senate can be a very challenging environment. The bill is facing fierce opposition from Republicans and the banking industry.

The rules of the Senate require 60 votes to get a bill considered on the Senate floor. This has not yet been met. It appears that there are currently various conversations taking place among Senate members and with various industry groups that oppose S. 61 in its current form, to see if there is some consensus that can be reached that addresses concerns without eviscerating the effectiveness of the remedy.

Hopefully the proposed bankruptcy cram-down legislation will move forward which will have the effect of helping many Long Island homeowners with their options in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. I will keep you posted.

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Craig D. Robins, Esq. is a Long Island bankruptcy lawyer, who is focused primarily on helping individuals and families, find solutions to their debt problems. Read more »

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Craig D. Robins, Esq.
35 Pinelawn Road, Suite 218E, Melville, NY 11747.

Tel : 516 - 496 - 0800

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