Archive for September 2015

Suspect surrenders in stabbing death of former USF player

TAMPA BAY, Fla. — Randolph Graham, 23, of Tampa, is behind bars, accused of killing former University of South Florida football player Elkino Watson, reports CBS affiliate WTSP. According to the station, investigators believe Graham knew he was a wanted man and turned himself in Wednesday night.

Watson, 23, and his friend, Desmond Horne, were stabbed repeatedly outside an Ybor City club at closing time early Sunday morning after a party celebrating USFs defeat of Florida Aamp;M University, reports the station.

Graham is reportedly charged with second-degree murder with a weapon and second-degree attempted murder and is being held without bond. Police released pictures earlier in the week from the deadly night, looking for a person of interest, who they now confirm is Graham.

Investigators say theyve been working tirelessly on the case since the deadly fight happened outside of the Orpheum, but police credit tips from the community and cell phone video in helping them to close in on Graham, says the station.

Its sad, he (Watson) went over there to have a good time, celebrate the win of USF that night, and this tragedy happened. For the family, Im happy we had closure fairly quickly in this case, says Capt. Ruben Delgado.

According to the station, police are still investigating if there will be any more charges, as they know that several people were involved in the fight that deadly night.

Theyre reportedly asking patrons who may have cell phone video of the evening to come forward and share it.

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NARCA Applauds CFPB Action Against World Law Group

The CFPB alleges “Defendants marketers lure consumers into signing up for debt settlement services by falsely promising that consumers will be represented by local attorneys and that they will negotiate with consumers creditors to settle their debts. Defendants are debt settlement veterans who joined forces after federal law changed to prevent fraud by banning the taking of up-front fees before settling consumers debts. In an apparent attempt to circumvent that new law, Defendants began claiming that they provide legal representation, but then continued charging consumers up-front fees for debt relief services.

Since October 27, 2010, over 21,ooo consumers across the country-representing 99% of the consumers who enrolled with World Law-have paid more than $67 million in unlawful advance fees to Defendants, who ultimately provide little or none of the services promised to consumers. The agency sought preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, rescission or reform action of contracts, the refund of monies paid, restitution, and disgorgement of ill-gotten monies, the appointment of a temporary Receiver, and other equitable relief as well as civil money penalties.

NARCA’s commitment to insuring that creditors’ rights attorneys be held to the same high level of professional conduct required and expected when practicing law. NARCA’s law firm members are licensed attorneys who abide by and commit to the Rules of Professional Responsibility in their respective states as well as NARCA’s core principles of being PROFESSIONAL, ETHICAL and RESPONSIBLE.  Joann Needleman, NARCA’s Board President states, “It is incumbent on attorneys who practice in the field of creditors’ rights law to lead by example. NARCA members continue to provide the leadership necessary to demonstrate these qualities and actions in policy and in practice.”

The attorneys of NARCA member firms are dedicated to ensuring that the legal profession maintains the highest rigors of legal and ethical integrity. The failure of any law firm or attorney to uphold their ethical duty or responsibility denigrates the entire profession. NARCA raises that bar by mandating annual CLE requirements in the field of creditors rights for all of its attorneys. NARCA’s Grievance Committee is charged with reviewing the conduct of any member when necessary, who fails to strictly adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics. In those instances where warranted, NARCA will issue the appropriate sanction and penalty.

About NARCA

NARCA is a nationwide professional trade association of over 650 skilled creditors rights law firms and in-house counsel of creditors.  NARCA members are committed to the fair and ethical treatment of all participants in the debt collection process and are required to adhere to NARCA’s Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics. As licensed practicing attorneys, members are also governed by state bar association Rules of Professional Conduct and must practice law in a manner consistent with their responsibilities as officers of the court.

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SPAIN: Options when you are struggling with debt

Q. I am overwhelmed. I have around $12,000 worth of debt and am struggling to repay it. Is bankruptcy my only option?

A. While it may feel overwhelming to you right now, your $12,000 debt is not insurmountable. In fact, most auto loans are greater than the debt you are currently carrying.

You have a number of options, and I encourage you to consider all of them before making any major decisions. First, you can contact each of your creditors and see if they will accept reduced payments. If you do make this kind of request, it’s essential that you don’t promise to pay more than you can comfortably afford. Some creditors have internal hardship programs and may be willing to work with you.

Second, you could consider contacting a non-profit credit counseling agency that offers a debt-management program. In a debt-management program, you get help looking at your entire financial picture and get an individualized plan for handling your debt. If it turns out that a debt-management program is right for you, you make a single payment to the credit counseling agency, which gets forwarded to each of your creditors. In some cases, your creditors will waive fees and interest, which can help to accelerate repayment. As you repay your debt, your debt decreases. As your debt decreases, your credit improves.

You could also contact a debt-settlement company to get help with your debt, an option that comes with its fair share of drawbacks. If you opt to work with a debt-settlement company, you agree to send a monthly payment. In turn, the company puts your money in an account and holds it until you have enough money to offer one of your creditors a settlement offer.

It can sound like an enticing arrangement until you understand that while you continue to make monthly payments, your creditors do not get paid. Therefore, your accounts go further delinquent. You also incur more late fees and penalties, so your balance goes up. When you finally have enough money to offer a settlement, it is normally only enough to pay a single company, and the rest of your creditors don’t get paid. Depending on the business, a creditor that doesn’t get paid may sue you. If a company does opt to accept your settlement, writing off part of your balance, you incur a tax debt in the process. The IRS considers forgiven debt as income.

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Judge dismisses lawsuit against banking regulators

Otoe-Missouria Chairman John Shotton filed the lawsuit in US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in March after he was fined in connection with an online payday lending company owned by the tribe that made high-interest rate loans to Connecticut residents.

In an eight-page ruling handed down Aug. 28, US District Court Judge Joe Heaton said the court lacked jurisdiction over the matter, but did not rule on the other issues in the case.

The Otoe-Missouria Tribe is one of several tribes that have entered the payday lending business in recent years. In January, the Connecticut Department of Banking fined Shotton $700,000 for making loans to Connecticut residents that violate caps on interest rates there.

The tribal payday lending companies Great Plains Lending LLC and Clear Creek Lending LLC also were fined $800,000.

The tribe is considering its legal options in the matter, Heather Payne, spokeswoman for the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, said in a statement.

The Otoe-Missouria Tribe is currently investigating every available legal option and will continue to fight for Chairman Shottons civil rights as an individual and elected tribal official, and for the ability of all Native American tribes to pursue legal economic development without discrimination and intimidation from bureaucrats,” Payne said.

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Wishbone Gold debt settlement issue

Wishbone Gold has issued 396,849,229 shares to settle various outstanding debts, fees, expenses and loans.

The debt settlement involves allotment of ordinary shares at 0.25p per Debt settlement share, the same price at which £250,000 of new equity was raised 10 days ago.

Amounts owing and debt settlement shares allotted include:

(a) Black Swan FZE which is owed £810,541 and will be settled by the allotment of 324,216,359 debt settlement shares

(b) Easy Business Consulting – £28,500.95 settled by the allotment of 11,400,380 shares

(c) George Cardona – owed £25,000 settled by the allotment of 10,000,000 shares

(d) Alan Gravett – owed £25,000 to be settled by the allotment of 10,000,000 shares

(e) The Z/Yen Employee Benefits Trust – owed £25,000 to be settled by the allotment of 10,000,000 shares

Chairman Richard Poulden said: This completes the restructuring of Wishbone to leave it debt free and with cash to fund the continuing exploration of its portfolio of Australian properties.

At 3:49pm: (LON:WSBN) Wishbone Gold PLC share price was 0p at 0.3p

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US average rate on 30-year home loans falls to 3.91 percent

Average US long-term mortgage rates fell for a third straight week amid anxiety over developments in the US economy that lifted bond prices.

Heres a look at rates for fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages this week and over the past year:

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BC wants to reduce payday loan fees

VICTORIA — The BC government plans to crack down on high fees charged by payday loan companies.

The province said it wants to reduce the maximum fees payable on a payday loan to $17 per $100 borrowed, down from an existing maximum of $23 per $100.

The change was first promised by Premier Christy Clark’s Liberal party in the 2013 provincial election campaign, but has so far yet to be enacted.

The government remains committed to the fee reduction, which will be part of a larger review of the regulations that govern payday loan businesses in the province, to be developed by the end of the year, the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

Current payday lending laws were established in 2009.

The payday loan industry has been criticized in the past for predatory practices that involving high lending fees and complex agreements that consumers might enter without fully understanding. Some municipalities have tried to limit the number of stores in communities.

The government passed legislation earlier this year to regulate the debt settlement industry, with rules on fees and safeguards for consumers. The Justice Ministry said it intends to bring that law into effect within months.

rshaw@vancouversun.com

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Feds Shut Down Law Firm That Collected $67 Million in ‘Debt Relief’ Fees

World Law charged exorbitant, illegal upfront fees from vulnerable consumers suffering financial difficulties,” the CFPB alleges.

Consumers with debt who enrolled in World Laws heavily advertised program were told to stop paying their bills and instead pay into a special account set up to be used later for debt settlement negotiations. But consumers rarely got relief via World Law, which siphoned big fees out of the consumers accounts. Initial fees were $199, the CFPB said, followed by an attorney monthly service fee of $84.95, along with a bundled legal service fee of 10% to 15% of the consumers outstanding balance.

Consumers rarely, if ever, actually spoke to attorneys, the CFPB said.

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As a result, consumers paid millions of dollars in illegal fees and suffered additional harms, including being subjected to collection calls, lawsuits, late fees, and lower credit scores, the CFPB said.

A message left at a phone number listed for World Law was not immediately returned.

After the recession led to a rise in various debt negotiation practices that harmed consumers, advance fee collection by debt settlement firms was banned by the Federal Trade Commission in 2010. There was a loophole, however — law firms were still entitled to collect upfront fees. World Law exploited that loophole, the CFPB says.

In or around July 2010, right before the (FTC) advance-fee ban went into effect, defendants developed a plan to avoid the advance-fee ban by continuing operations under the guise of providing legal services, the CFPB alleges in its complaint. Defendants then began promising consumers both debt relief services and legal representation, including by a local attorney, claiming to employ lawyers in every state. They also touted that consumers would receive the skill and expertise of a licensed lawyer to negotiate with creditors regarding their unsecured debts ln reality, defendants do not provide the promised legal representation. Consumers rarely, if ever, communicate with a lawyer and the vast majority of services provided — if services are provided at all — are debt relief services provided by nonlawyers.

The Bureau’s lawsuit names Derin Scott, David Klein, and Bradley James Haskins, who control World Law Group — which uses numerous names as part of an interrelated maze of companies, including Orion Processing, LLC, d/b/a World Law Processing, WLD Credit Repair, and World Law Debt; Family Capital Investment amp; Management LLC a/k/a FCIAM Property Management; World Law Debt Services, LLC; and World Law Processing, LLC.

The CFPB filed suit against the firm in August and obtained a temporary restraining order against it in early September. The legal action was made public Tuesday. The CFPB is seeking a permanent injunction against the company.

If youre struggling with debt, there are plenty of reputable places to find help. Depending on your situation, you could consolidate your debt, get help from a debt settlement company or even get a balance transfer credit card to give you some breathing room to get your finances in order without incurring interest charges. Keep in mind that these options may require a good credit score, so its good to know where you stand before you apply. You can check your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

More on Managing Debt:

  • The Credit.com Debt Management Learning Center
  • Understanding Your Debt Collection Rights
  • Top 10 Debt Collection Rights

Image: iStock

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Payday lending drama: Hickey takes swipe at Brennan

Well get an updated look at the effort to curb payday lending in South Dakota when Steve Hildebrand, who spearheads the South Dakotans for Responsible Lending petition effort, joins me as a guest on #SuFuStu on Tuesday at 3 pm

Hildebrands co-crusader in that effort, pastor and former state legislator Steve Hickey, is headed for new educational horizons out of the country and wont be able to make it. But Hickey did want to let me know how his performance with WordPlay would have gone.

Pointing out that Dollar Loan Center founder Chuck Brennan answered Jim Jones when I prompted him with Hickeys name in WordPlay on a previous show, Hickey was a bit miffed with his frequent nemesis. Jones, of course, was the cult leader who is best known for the mass murder/suicide of nearly 1,000 members of his church in 1978 in Jonestown, Guyana.

So Hickey sent me a note explaining what his WordPlay response to the prompt Chuck Brennan would be:

His name makes me think of Marcus Crassus of Ancient Rome. He can be found today on the top ten list of most despised wealthy people. He made his loads profiting off the misery of people and slaves. During a time when fires would break out in poor neighborhoods he built fire suppression companies and history is certain he set the fires and people paid him loads of money to put them out and spare their dwellings. He was Mr. Entertainment, always trying to impress the Caesar and others with his festivals. It didnt end well for him. They killed him by pouring molten gold in his mouth to satisfy his thirst for gold.

So there you have it. Hickey vs. Brennan continues to be more entertaining than Mayweather vs. Pacquaio, and were just getting started. Well have more on this war of words and the payday lending drama on Tuesdays #SuFuStu show at ArgusLeader.com, plus Good News/Bad News and the heartwarming return of loyal sidekick Patrick Lalley.

See you there.

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Guaranteed Rate purchases remains of Discover Home Loans

Guaranteed Rate is adding several call centers and 75 loan officers from Discover Home Loans, answering industry rumors that broke out at the end of July over who would purchase the remains of Discovers mortgage business.

Discover Financial Services(DFS) announced on June 16 that it was closing its mortgage origination business, Discover Home Loans. The business is not projected to meet our financial expectations due to ongoing challenges to our home loans operating model, so we made the difficult decision to exit, said Carlos Minetti, president of consumer banking for Discover.

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