Monthly Archives: June 2013

Can You Make Someone Do The Right Thing?

When someone is determined to do the wrong thing, and for purposes of this post, we will say “lie under penalty of perjury on federal documents for court”, ·one might wonder if it is possible to make them tell the truth. Let’s imagine what that looks like for someone’s Federal bankruptcy. Let’s say that someone has submitted their schedules disclosing their income and expenses, and they deliberately leave off thousands of dollars that they are receiving monthly. You are probably wondering how that could happen without someone checking it or finding out. One way it could happen is by claiming that you are a victim of identity theft, and requesting that the company paying you monthly stop doing direct deposit of the money, so that you will get a check instead. Then, you just cash the check and deposit the part of the money that you want the Trustee to know about. That way, it only shows up for a deposit amount that you actually deposit, instead of the full check amount. Next, you find yourself a bankruptcy lawyers who won’t actually ask you to verify or even show your bank statements. Granted, this is not proper for the bankruptcy lawyer to do, but it does happen.Has bankruptcy fraud happened? Yes it has. Has the lawyer helped commit it? Yes they did. With bankruptcy reform, lawyers were made to be more responsible and accountable for the actions of their clients. How this still goes on in today’s world, without penalty, is a question that is better posed to the Trustee’s office of bankruptcy courts.

Back to the original question of “what can you do about it”?

You can request that a Rule 2004 examination be done so that you get the opportunity to examine what the debtor has done regarding financial transactions, and if you find evidence of fraud, report it. This may initially be hard to do if the debtor is determined to keep the concealment of those funds secret, but you can prevail if you persistently stick with it and keep your eyes open. Interestingly, when a person files bankruptcy, they are afforded protections from their creditors, so the court often gives them the benefit of the doubt since they are seeking protections from those creditors. This means that merely saying you believe there is fraud, won’t be enough. You will have to supply proof. You need to get it from that 2004 exam, or seek alternative methods outside of the court and provide it when you uncover it.

Bankruptcy fraud costs ALL of us in the long run, even if you personally never file. Companies lose out on monies that they otherwise would have been able to recover (apply to the debt), and they ultimately write off the loss. Please understand that in doing that, the costs for everything associated with those debts goes up. Why? Because the money doesn’t evaporate into thin air just because the debt is written off. Products were made out of materials and salaries were paid to people to make them. A profit was supposed to be made in order to keep the cycle going. Mess up the equation, and the cost side of it has no choice but to go up (not to mention the costs of credit associated with it). So you see, we all pay for the fraud of those bold people that don’t seem to be phased by the possible $500,000 penalty for doing it.

So, if YOU have information that someone is doing any of the things that are bankruptcy fraud:

Deliberately leaving off monthly income amounts

Deliberately leaving off bank accounts

Transferring money or assets to others within 2 years of filing, to hold for you until the coast is clear (no one is looking anymore)

Deliberately leaving off expensive artwork, jewelry, real estate holdings or investment accounts

Placing someone’s name onto a bank account simply in the hopes that the Trustee will think some transactions aren’t yours (ie. they won’t take the time to ask)

Making large cash withdrawals from bank account prior to filing bankruptcy to hold into your house

You can report them to the Criminal Enforcement division of the Trustee’s office in the Federal district where they have filed bankruptcy. According to the website, the more documentation you provide them, the more likely it will be that they will investigate and possibly prosecute the person. In addition, be aware that the FBI is the agency that investigates suspected bankruptcy fraud. Here is a link that provides information on reporting suspected fraud:

Reporting suspected bankruptcy fraud

 

Examples of bankruptcy fraud prosecutions

Maryland woman goes to prison for bankruptcy fraud

Can you make someone do the right thing? We don’t know yet. Tell us if you’ve had an experience that answers this question for us!

We can all help one another stop bankruptcy fraud

We can all help one another stop bankruptcy fraud

The Intersection of Attorneys, Ethics and the Court of Law

In my opinion, the entire justice system relies on the honesty and integrity of many players. The judge, who is tasked with the job of sorting out the facts in order to apply the applicable laws in order to determine who has acted in ways that either merit their punishment or vindication, relies on the honesty and integrity of the people who are presenting the case before them. The attorneys are responsible for conducting the show, sort of, because they decide what is going to be presented, how it is going to be presented, when it will be presented, and even if something is going to be presented. Each “side” is trying to present things that will help their client to WIN. Attorneys therefore have a great deal of power, and with power comes responsibility. This is why ethical guidelines were created by many States, to govern the actions of attorneys (and judges also, for that matter).

As an attorney myself, I find it appalling whenever I encounter one of my colleagues who is bound and determined to distort or even hide the truth for the purpose of winning a case. The oath that I took upon passing the bar exam is one that I live by each day when I do any work in my field, and is one that I personally believe in as a way to live my life. My thought is that you shouldn’t use tactics and techniques that are less-than-honest within a system that relies on honesty in order to function in a way that the public can still have faith in that system. When people see or hear of stories that involve attorneys who only care about making money at the expense of our legal system, it destroys the faith that people have in the system. Our faith in the system is what makes people respect it (or not, if they don’t have the faith).

I was asked to contribute a post to this site, as a result of the knowledge that I’ve come to possess regarding the legal aspect of what has occurred with the subject of this site. I too agree that things won’t have a chance of changing in our society, if people sit back and do nothing when they encounter clear instances of wrong-doing on the part of people who should not only know better, but are under a duty to live it (as us attorneys are). In our litigious society where people seem to prefer to go to court first instead of talking and discussing what could be done to resolve their differences, our pockets will always be lined. While this is good news for us financially, it is a devastating reality and testament to the world that we now live in. I’m not sure that’s a good thing for any of us in the long run.

Is It Ever Okay To Lie Under Oath?

know anyone who does this?

know anyone who does this?

Many stories have been written about lying and making false statements. Part of the purpose of this site is to showcase this issue, in the hopes that maybe (at least in our corner of the world) we can make a difference. Today’s post is going to be focused on the words “under penalty of perjury”. It’s a common phrase that is found on many State and Federal forms.

In the State of Maryland, those words can be found on the Finance Affidavit that is completed and submitted in conjunction with the purchase or refinance of a home. The document starts “I/We certify, under the penalties of perjury, that the following are accurate responses…”. And prior to your signature, it reads “I/WE understand that if I/WE fail to truthfully answer or provide information to avoid collection of County Transfer and State Recordation Tax, I/WE may be found guilty of a misdemeanor…”.

Those words can also be found on the First-Time Maryland Home Buyer Affidavit that is also used in conjunction with home purchases. This form is used to qualify the purchaser to NOT pay a significant amount of money to the State for what would have been their share of the recordation tax. That form starts with “BEFORE ME, a Notary Public of the State and County aforesaid, the undersigned, made oath under the penalties of perjury that the information provided below is true to the best of the knowledge, information and belief..”.

And then, a Refinance Affidavit, that again uses the “penalties of perjury” language when certifying that the property being refinanced is indeed the principal residence of the borrower.

Moving into other arenas, the Baltimore City police website declares: “Warning: Filing a false police report is a crime and will be prosecuted.” It is also a crime to make a false statement to a law enforcement officer, a false statement to a housing agency,

In the Petition for Peace Order, another Maryland form, it reads “I solemnly affirm under the penalties of perjury that the contents of this Petition are true to best of my knowledge, information and belief.” There is also an Application for Statement of Charges, which provides the same basic language for the person alleging that a crime was committed against them.

Moving into the Federal realm, there are alleged penalties for perjury in the bankruptcy arena. 18 U.S.C. 152(3) covers “omission of assets on bankruptcy petition and schedules”. When filing for bankruptcy protection in general, you are asked to complete a Statement of Financial Affairs. It’s extensive, and contains 11 pages. And on the final page, we find “under penalty of perjury”. It also contains some of the stiffest language we’ve encountered thus far: “Penalty for making a false statement: Fine of up to $500,000 or imprisonment for up to five years, or both.”Here, see for yourself:

Download (PDF, 40KB)

WOW! We are definitely deterred by that, but we wonder how many people STILL risk it and do it anyway?

Same for that DD Form 2656 that asks people who are retiring from the military to certify “under penalty of perjury”. Penalty on that one states that it is “not more than $10,000 fine, or five years in prison, or both.” See for yourself:

Download (PDF, 21KB)

So, the natural question is, what happens when someone DOES execute multitudes of documents that carry this same seemingly stern warning about a sometimes stiff “penalty of perjury”? If it was found that a person did do that, is it an indication that the person doesn’t know the difference between what is truth and what is false, or could it be a generalized disregard for the risk of actually incurring any penalty?

Here’s a link to the US Attorney’s Criminal Resource Manual which shows how a sample indictment would read for poor John Doe who was suspected of omitting assets from his bankruptcy schedules. Wonder how many of these indictments have actually been issued? If anyone has an idea, please post so we can know.

http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm00849.htm

Next topic: lawyers, ethics and their duty

When their financial nightmare becomes yours

saddest thing

There are a couple of things that just haven’t added up. First, in looking at one of the last loan applications completed for a Suntrust loan on 601 N Ellwood Ave in Baltimore city, you will see that both borrowers indicated that they were “single”. You’ll see that on page 1 attached:

Page one of loan app

Then, moving onto page 2 is where it was disclosed to the Suntrust loan officer (and signed off on settlement day) that something called “BAH” was extra income for borrower 1:

page two of loan app

And then, well you can see the date that this particularly loan application was completed, which was in June of 2006:

page three of loan app

Ok. So, now comes the tricky part. In those documents received from the FOIA request from the military, there appears to be some confusion as to whether or not Mr. Black is still the spouse. See for yourself. On this first page, the box for item 14 where it asks for “marital status” is checked “single”. Jumping down to box #22, Christopher’s first and last name are typed into block “a”, but block “b” (darn) has no social security number (do you have one?). See:

Download (PDF, 4.11MB)

And then, on the back side of the document, block #29 has typed into it “Estranged from spouse address unknown”. Block #30 requests the signature of Mr. Black because it asks for his permission so that the retiree can waive his right to retirement benefits and give them instead to the two beneficiaries listed on the first page. Likely, the form couldn’t be submitted without Mr. Black’s signature (or was rejected because they were making payments based on him being supported by those BAH payments). Anyway, Mr. Black indeed ended up coming to his wife’s rescue and being able to be located, signed the form in March 2006, and had a friend or buddy “James Miller” who lived in Florissant, MO, witness his signature. Clues as to where we may find Christopher Black, finally! James Miller is SUCH a common name, but there is a specific address listed on the document, see:

Download (PDF, 2.19MB)

 

Now, we are dealing with the US Government here, so I notice that there is a statement before the signature for the retiree that reads “Under penalties of perjury, I certify that the number of withholding exemptions claimed does not exceed… and that all statements on this form are made with full knowledge of the penalties for making false statements (18 US Code 287 and 1001 provide for a penalty of not more than $10,000 fin, or 5 years in prison, or both).” The Federal statute involves “false, fictitious or fraudulent claims”.

Why is this post referring to a financial NIGHTMARE, you ask? Simple. When one files in the Federal court, seeking protection from creditors, it is a right, but it’s also a privilege. See, if you want to get that protection and be able to discharge the debts that you no longer want to pay, the trustee relies on you being HONEST about those debts as well as your true ability to pay them. Can’t hide assets, can’t fail to disclose income or hide money, can’t transfer money for a time period before you file, can’t ring up credit card debt knowing what you are about to do (file), and you can’t discharge debts that were incurred as result of your FRAUD (whether false pretenses or actual fraud). See:

Download (PDF, 2.04MB)

At the same time when those loan documents were being executed with someone declaring to be “single”, monies that were based on being “married” were being declared on them in order to qualify for those mortgages in Baltimore city. Wonder if those seven loans would have been approved without that extra money factored into the equation? A case of:

Too late now

Too late now

 

So boys and girls, the lesson for today is what we will call the “Three Cs”. Just as you should be careful who you get into bed with, you should also be very Careful, Cautious and Check who you get into business with. For if you don’t, you may find yourself wishing that you could be free of the nightmare of dealing with them, only to realize that the nightmare is only beginning!

In keeping with the theme of this website: we’re looking for anyone at Suntrust Mortgage who CARES (oh, another “C”!) about this who can tell us the truth. Yes, there are foreclosures all around the country, but can you tell us for sure whether or not you plan on pursuing your rights to NOT have these debts discharged in bankruptcy? Inquiring minds wanna know!

 

 

Houses are going, going gone!

One by one, the houses that were purchased by Marlena Jareaux and Gail Proctor are going under. Well, actually, they’ve been “under” for quite some time since they are no longer worth what they were purchased for. Back in 2004, two women decided to pool their financial resources together in order to purchase investment properties in the fine city of Baltimore Maryland. They sat down at the settlement table 8 times in a one year and seven month period in order to purchase those houses. Each of them were likely starry-eyed as they forked over their hard-earned monies and cashed out stock accounts in the hopes of creating a solid financial future backed by the American dream of real estate investment. Where else can one purchase a 3 bedroom home that is rent-ready for $53,000 that is so close to our Nation’s capitol?

Well, as it has always been said, there is no “sure thing” except death and taxes. Well, and for some people, taxes aren’t even a sure thing, but we’ll save THAT story for another post. Real estate is not a sure thing, just ask the many many investors who bought in Baltimore (and other places) and lost their shirt as they got pulled under by the housing crisis that anyone who can see or hear has surely heard about. This post isn’t about the “derivatives” that were created by bankers to package and sell mortgages to investors as securities. This post isn’t about the deplorable MERS system created by those same bankers, that robbed local land records offices nationwide of fees that could have gone to pay for vital local government services (but instead lined the pockets of greedy mortgage bankers). Note: is that slander? Hm.

No, this post is about what can go wrong with a business partnership. You MUST be able to trust your business partner. More importantly, you MUST do your due diligence to ensure to the best of your ability that your business partner is actually trustworthy. That means, you should be able to rely on their word. You should be able to know who you going into business with, and what they are bringing to the table. Particularly, when you are investing ALL of your money that you slated for your child’s future college needs. Ouch!! Yes, yes, the world unfortunately has its’ share of Bernie Madoffs who are intent on using those who they think are weak and vulnerable, in order to further their own selfish agendas at YOUR cost.

What would you do if someone that you trusted with your savings nest egg did the following:

  1. Bought houses with you, seemingly with money that was theirs to pledge
  2. Worked right along side of you painting, etc in those houses when things were “good”
  3. Form a company (an LLC) with you to handle the processing of tenant rent payments and expenses for those houses
  4. Stopped working in the houses when communications were “bad”
  5. Disappear and cease all communications with you for almost two years, making you wonder if  they were even alive. Essentially leave their investment unattended.
  6. Reappear when you file suit to try to sell the houses, once you realize that it’s too much work for one person to do all by themselves and you are tired of being the only one putting your money into the houses when there are two people who are supposed to be responsible for them
  7. Convince you to stop the forced-sale of the houses by the Baltimore City judge, and promise to work along side of you again until the houses can be sold in order to protect each others’ credit (and promise you that you will be reimbursed for the personal investment you made above and beyond theirs)
  8. Sign with you to list the houses for sale, watch while they don’t sell because they are no longer worth what is owed on them, and then say that they don’t agree to doing short sales on the houses because they don’t want to be forced to sell off their own assets in order to pay deficiencies (meanwhile, you have none because you put them all into keeping the houses going for years)
  9. File a $500,000 lawsuit against you, three months after the conversation in point #8 above, on behalf of the company you cofounded with them (alleging that YOU are the reason for the financial ruin that is coming because you’ve decided to cease putting your time and money into the houses to your detriment). Persist with the suit after it was thrown out by a Judge, then refile by reducing the ridiculous amount to $150,000 instead (still ridiculous)
  10. Remove you from the company bank account; file charges with police and the State’s Attorney’s office insisting that the company credit card that they themselves opened up and were also using was instead opened by you alone fraudulently AND that a Suntrust home equity line that was opened up by the both of you on one of the houses was instead opened up and used by you fraudulently (and to your own financial detriment by the way since you still owe money on that line)
  11. Stop making payments to Suntrust Mortgage and Wells Fargo on those seven mortgages and one equity line, while continuing to deposit tenant rent monies into an account now solely controlled by them
  12. Spend the money from those rents (not on mortgages though), despite the Federal 1-4 Family Rider that was attached and executed on each of the mortgages since they were investment properties that said that you both agreed to hold tenant rents for the benefit of those mortgage companies
  13. Insist that the rent money somehow belongs to the company, instead of the owners of the houses (or the mortgage companies)
  14. Collect over $40,000 in tenant rent payments and deposit into the company bank account, while ironically NOT pay the required Maryland personal property tax return that enables it to be a legal entity operating in the State of Maryland
  15. File personal bankruptcy, and thereby avoid your lawsuit where you filed against them in Baltimore City for only half (your share) of those rent monies collected on houses that you co-own
  16. Report that they don’t really remember any details of having sat down at the settlement table with you to buy the houses, that it was all “a blur”, and that it was YOU who was taking advantage of THEM all the time when they were gone as they were flying to California to seek alternative therapies for an alleged mental impairment sustained as a result of service to our country in the military (unbeknownst to you until you read it in the court filings they authored)

You may spend time:

  1. Wondering why the person you sat down at the settlement table with won’t expend anywhere near the same amount of time, energy or money as you did to keep the houses going as you did for years without them.
  2. Defending yourself in the legal system by spending even more money hiring a defense lawyer while you are waiting for the person to come to their senses that you at some point wonder if they even ever have

Or you may do both, and then realize that sometimes, people will go to great lengths to start fires all over the place, so that everyone will be focusing on everything BUT what they themselves did to create the mess in the first place. That takes a different breed of person that can stay-up in the wee hours of the night devising a plan of how to leave their unsuspecting (but now very-prudent and wiser) business partner hanging out to dry. We here at To Catch A Fish know that those people exist in the world. We’re count ourselves fortunate to be on the list of those who are in good health, surrounded by people who genuinely love us, and able to look ourselves in the mirror everynight before having a good night’s sleep! You can do those things when you live with integrity, despite what others attempt to do to drag you down to their level.

Oh, some housekeeping: a certain someone got the great idea to send anonymous letters to friends and family members of Ms. Jareaux regarding the $500,000 lawsuit described above as well as the foreclosure on her personal residence which has already occurred (along with one of her own investment properties at 2106 Herbert Street in Baltimore). Marlena had already had a party in DC about a year prior to that, announcing to everyone who was there (included friends and strangers) that she was in personal financial ruin as a result of the housing meltdown and the lawsuit with her prior business partner, so it wasn’t REALLY news to anyone. But the idea was a great one after all: please, feel free to go to the Howard County Circuit Court in Ellicott City Maryland, and give the file clerk case number 13-C11085869. There are three rather large file jackets on this case, so you’ll be there for a while. But you should pay close attention to the affidavits that are on file for both Ms. Jareaux and Ms. Proctor. As that letter indicated that was sent anonymously, if you want to see for yourself what has been going on, go there, and make copies of whatever you wish. We will be posting a few of those documents here, well, since they ARE public information! You can come back to this site then, and confirm for yourself what is true and what is not. In the meantime, here are some supporting documents for things written above:

Download (PDF, 96KB)

And then, the biggest mistake of all!

Download (PDF, 36KB)

To integrity! A toast to integrity!

 

Mr. Black will be turning 60

Mr. Christopher Anthony Black will be turning 60 on July 3rd of this year. Apparently, he IS still alive, as he has apparently been communicating with Ms. Proctor as recently as this year. According to a Federal deposition transcript that I’ve looked at, Ms. Proctor said that Ms. Jareaux contacted her husband’s family, and that his family contacted him about it. This led to him calling Ms. Proctor to find out “why”.

The answer to the question of “why” is that the State of Maryland is one of those states where the spouses HAVE rights to the marital property of their spouses. So, Mr. Black, since Ms. Jareaux owns a house with your wife that has no mortgage, and it is titled in a way that gives YOU rights, you are being sought for questioning. You probably already know that you are entitled to half of her retirement pay, BY LAW, and surely you know that she did retire since you signed off on her retirement form with the military in 2006 so that she could. Ms. Jareaux doesn’t remember actually speaking to any family member of yours, but since Ms. Proctor testified that she did, then perhaps word of all of this will get to you?

In the meantime, in order to have people help us to locate you for questioning, I am uploading a copy of the marriage license that is on file with the Clark County, NV clerk’s office that I have received in the mail for the low-low and very reasonable price of $1.00. This will help people to determine WHICH Christopher Anthony Black is the right one. They can see your signature, and the information that you told the clerk back on that memorable day in 1994 when you said your nuptials to your beloved wife, Gail. Do you exist? Well certainly you must, since the Nevada clerk’s office website reads:

Per Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 122.200, “Any person who shall make a false statement in procuring a marriage license with reference to any matter required by NRS 122.040 and 122.050 to be stated under oath shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.”

You can see it for yourself by going here

I mean, granted, it would have been a lot easier to find you if you had done this at a time when they required you to give a social security number like they do now. I suppose with all the craziness that is known to happen in Vegas, they decided at some point to be able to hold people accountable by making them give their SSN.

In the meantime, what happens in Vegas (or in this case, what happened) isn’t going to stay in Vegas, so please contact us. You may find yourself to one day be the co-owner of a house at 1847 Ramsay in Baltimore City, MD. Now that it’s come out that you supposedly exist, don’t you think it’s time for you and Ms. Jareaux to meet? There are so many people that want to meet you.

Download (PDF, 79KB)

 

 

She claims she is married

So, to start things off right, we need your help to find the alleged groom of our Pisces. In February 1994, a wedding occurred in Vegas between Gail Renai Proctor and a “Christopher Anthony Black”. According to the Clark County, NV records, Mr. Black was born on July 3, 1953, and resided in Temple Hills, MD. His mother’s name is Ijetta, and his father’s name is Charlie. Christopher, his mother, and father are all from South Carolina. You can see some of this information on the online search page for yourself.

Now, this was quite a surprise to many people, including the Suntrust loan officer who did most of the investment mortgages, since the marital status that she used on Federal loan applications signed from 2004 to 2006 were marked “single” by her. Allegedly, the IRS received tax returns from her that also indicated she was “single” for all of those years.

The FOIA documents related to her retirement that the military provided, show that he signed off on it for her in 2006. His signature was witnessed by a “James Miller”, who gave an address in Missouri. This is important, because when you are in the military and have a spouse, you get paid a lot of extra money per month for what is called BAH (basic assistance for housing) for the entire time that you are living with your spouse. So, from 1994 to 2007 (retirement), she was paid extra money by our United States Department of Defense for supporting a household with Mr. Black.

An extensive search was done to locate Christopher Anthony Black with those specific credentials, but none has been located. There are a number of people with that name, but we can’t find one that has that same date of birth AND very-distinctive mother’s first name. In fact and ironically, according to the FOIA documents received, there is someone who has the EXACT date of birth, mother and father’s first name, and State of birth as Ms. Proctor’s groom. Her immediate supervisor while at the DCANG shares those same stats, and even has a brother whose first-name is Christopher. Their last name is Samuel though. You tell us what you think is going on!! And if you have ANY information that you can share, please, remember the rules!

Here’s the link that makes us scratch our heads:

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/washingtonpost/obituary.aspx?pid=158382545

Email for info not suitable to be published: fishy(at)tocatchafish.net