Tag Archives: fraud

Bankruptcy Basics – Pt 2 Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy

Get the answers you need to make an educated financial decision!
Get the answers you need to make an educated financial decision!

Click here to listen now!

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress.

Topics and types of FAQ covered in this 30 minute show:

  • Identifying the signs that you are a good candidate for bankruptcy;

  • Keeping your vehicle owned outright or when you are paying on a car loan;

  • How much time may be required between Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy filings;

  • Debts on their way to collections or money judgments and when to file or wait.

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973 he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

To learn more or, contact an attorney at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel. Ltd. on Twitter. If you need immediate legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by calling (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney.

Chicago Bankruptcy Update: New Frequently Asked Question Podcast Series

Get the answers you need to make an educated financial decision!
Get the answers you need to make an educated financial decision!

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress.

The Chicago Bankruptcy Update is a monthly podcast featuring compelling information and stories about bankruptcy and how people get a fresh start after Chapter 7 and 13 cases.

Click to listen to our latest episode: Frequently Asked Questions in Bankruptcy – Part 1

Topics and types of questions we ask and answer in our FAQ series:

  • When you may file for bankruptcy protection and what kind of relief is available;
  • Reopening a bankruptcy when you need to add a creditor or make a correction;
  • Marriage, the birth of a child and life events as they can be affected by bankruptcy;
  • What happens to your debts when you die and how your children may be affected.

There are many people who still think that filing for bankruptcy means giving up and throwing in the towel – hardly! Just like big companies that take advantage of bankruptcy to restructure their debts and assets to increase profits, individual consumers can use the law to their financial advantage. You, me, them, everybody can discharge debt and reorganize the repayment of other debts.

Listen to our monthly podcasts on the Chicago Bankruptcy Update and learn answers to many of the questions people ask. The FAQ series, in several parts, periodically addresses real questions asked by potential bankruptcy clients. As Nick asks Joe to answer the individual inquiries it becomes quickly apparent how many different complex financial situations can arise.

If you listen to our shows and decide you want to ask us more about bankruptcy, great! If you decide you would rather re-adjust your spending habits, that is also great! If neither option applies to you, “Share” our entertaining educational bankruptcy podcasts with others. You just never know who is looking for answers to the questions we ask on the Chicago Bankruptcy Update, and sharing is great!

To learn more or, contact an attorney at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel. Ltd. on Twitter. If you need immediate legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by dialing (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney.

When can I file another bankruptcy petition?

So, should/would/could I file another petition even though I won’t be eligible for a discharge? Maybe.
So, should/would/could I file another petition even though I won’t be eligible for a discharge? Maybe.

“I know I want these calls to stop. I really need to get this done. Maybe I’ll put it off until I have more debt to get rid of.” Does this look like a conversation in your head? Many people think about bankruptcy as their “get out jail free” card and are waiting for the right time to use it. What they might not know is that protection under the bankruptcy laws may be available more often than they realize. When does a person’s financial situation become ripe for a bankruptcy petition? If they are about to lose their home, car or other valued items, it may be time to go see a bankruptcy lawyer.

If you think about it, the periodic opportunity to discharge debts you cannot pay can be a unique experience.

Decision makers in businesses who use bankruptcy laws as strategic financial planning guidelines are well aware that the status alone of having an active petition for bankruptcy on file can keep the wolves away from time to time. This doesn’t mean being a serial filer and petition withdrawer is the best plan, but knowing the laws are there when needed helps fiduciary decision makers.

Successive Chapter 7 and 13 cases may be filed but the time frames are different. In Chapter 7, the “full discharge,” you may receive a second discharge so long as it is not within eight years of the date the first case was filed. For Chapter 13, “reorganization,” you may receive a second discharge so long as it is not within two years of the date the first case was filed. Another interesting wrinkle folds into the timing plan and the Chapter under which you first sought protection controls the timing for subsequent filings. Therefore, if you first filed a Chapter 13, you could file a subsequent Chapter 7 within six years, and conversely, if you started with Chapter 7, four years need to pass before you can file the Chapter 13 petition. Of course, there are exceptions to general rules.

So, should/would/could I file another petition even though I won’t be eligible for a discharge? Maybe.

There are several circumstances in which it makes sense to file a Chapter 13 case, for example, right after receiving a Chapter 7 discharge, commonly known as a “Chapter 20.” An experienced bankruptcy attorney can best help determine if there is a reason and opportunity for a client to seek “20” protection.[i]You need the extra time but have too much debt. If you need the extra time to cure an arrearage on a mortgage or car loan but your overall debt exceeds the debt limits under Chapter 13, filing a Chapter 7 first might help. By filing the Chapter 7, you can reduce your overall debt. Then, with your debt load reduced, you may be able to qualify for Chapter 13. Although you won’t be able to get a second discharge in the Chapter 13, the second bankruptcy filing will give you extra time to cure the arrearage on your mortgage or car loan or to pay down debts that were not eligible for discharge under the Chapter 7, such as tax debt.”

For whatever need you may have, knowing a smart bankruptcy attorney who knows the interplay of the rules for timing of filings and discharge eligibility is a best bet. Joseph Wrobel has been practicing bankruptcy law long enough to teach histories of the law and can direct you to the best course of action in resolving complex financial issues and a fresh start for you or your business.

To learn more about bankruptcy and your options, contact an attorney at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. on Twitter. If you need legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by dialing (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney.


[i] NOLO website: What is Chapter 20 Bankruptcy?

Fraudulent mortgage documents: About MERS listed on your Deed of Trust.

"According to Foreclosure Nation, “MERS was used by the Wall Street Banks to avoid paying county recorder fees and real estate transfer tax fees."
"According to Foreclosure Nation, “MERS was used by the Wall Street Banks to avoid paying county recorder fees and real estate transfer tax fees."

Bank: We’re going to foreclose on your home for not making timely mortgage payments. Homeowner: I dispute your foreclosure proceedings. Court: Bank, can you establish this homeowner is in violation of the mortgage agreement? Bank: Well, of course. Homeowner: I say the mortgage you seek to enforce is fraudulent, see that MERS is listed on my Deed of Trust? The website, Foreclosure Nation, offers resources including a list of criteria you can use to spot fraudulent mortgage documents. According to Foreclosure Nation, “MERS was used by the Wall Street Banks to avoid paying county recorder fees and real estate transfer tax fees.[i]” The site lists 66 items to look at when looking for mortgage fraud, and item number 66 is a long list of names who are known “robo-signers.”

A popular publication, Washington’s Blog, offers several descriptions and quotes about MERS and how it worked as a cheat. “The Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (“MERS “) is a shell company with no employees, owned by the giant banks.[ii]” MERS was advertised in 2007 as a tax and fee-avoiding opportunity in this brochure: “MINIMIZE RISK. SAVE MONEY. REDUCE PAPERWORK.” Inside the brochure there is also a claim that “clients save money because MERS “eliminates the need to record assignments in the name of the Trustee.”[iii]

MERS is a system owned and operated by MERSCORP Holdings, Inc.[iv], the parent company. The MERS website promotes it’s system as being a technology innovation helping customers reduce processing costs and increase efficient access to information for mortgages. This national database is free to the public who can use the system to access loan servicer information. The About Us page of the site states, “MERS and MERS®Residential were created by the mortgage banking industry to streamline the mortgage process by using electronic commerce to eliminate paper.[v]

In defense of its MERS system and public image, the “In the News” page on the MERS website promotes various news articles praising MERS as well as examples of court decisions in favor of MERS[vi]. On the other side of the PR spin many “Judges, lawmakers, lawyers and housing experts are raising piercing questions about MERS…whose private mortgage registry has all but replaced the nation’s public land ownership records,” according to a 2011 New York Times article on point[vii]. While it is likely that investigations into MERS activity caused reform to the system, there are likely many undiscovered no document mortgages in circulation. The bundling and sale of mortgages and claims of title can make it very difficult to know who owes what to whom.

Bankruptcy attorneys often meet with new clients facing foreclosure and they want to know if their mortgages are valid and whether they were part of a fraudulent mortgage transfer. If the bank can’t prove they own the mortgage, what happens to the homeowner and the property? An advantage to filing for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7 or 13 is the automatic stay provision to stop foreclosure proceedings while you and your attorney further investigate the history of debts and obligations.

Attorney Joseph Wrobel is a veteran bankruptcy attorney who has worked through many complex challenges facing clients trying to keep their home and recover from a disastrous life event such as being a victim of mortgage fraud.  To learn more about mortgage fraud, mortgages generally, and keeping your home, contact an attorney at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. on Twitter. If you need legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by dialing (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney.


[i] Foreclosure Nation: How To Spot Fraudulent Mortgage Documents. By Max Gardner.

[ii] Washington’s Blog: States Fight Back Against MERS Mortgage Fraud. By Washington’s Blog, Apr. 7, 2013.

[iii] See Washington’s Blog cited herein.

[iv] Website: MERSCORP Holdings, Inc.

[v] Website: MERS – About Us.

[vi] Website: MERS – In the News.

[vii] New York Times: MERS? It May Have Swallowed Your Loan. By Michael Powell and Gretchen Morgenson, Mar. 5, 2011

Bankruptcy Court: go ahead and make their day

The last thing you want to do when asking for bankruptcy protection is lie to the judge! A woman in upstate New York learned her lesson the hard way when a federal judge recently threw the book at her for failing to disclose that she could afford payments on her leased Mercedes. The 33 year-old was sentenced to two years of probation and 50 hours of community service. Luckily, for her, she pled guilty to defrauding the court, because had prosecutors needed to spend efforts further prosecuting the case she may have ended up behind bars.[i]

One of the comments to the article: “Simple mistake. I countless friends of mine have done the same thing.” Not Yet Hacked Bluesman (response to his comment: “Nice ‘friends’ you have!” seniorplus)

So, you think…”probation isn’t that big of a deal…I’ll risk fibbing…” Here are some of the results you might earn if you fail to list assets and the trustee and the court find out (as noted in a recent Nolo legal resource article[ii]).

  1. The court will disallow your discharge of debts. Do not pass go, do not collect $200 because you’re done and just wasted your time and money.
  2. Your bankruptcy case may still be active but you may not receive discharge protection but may have to sell or turn over assets while keeping debts.
  3. The trustee could revoke your discharge, and you will need to go back into repayment of your debts. This may happen at any time before or after your case is closed by the court.
  4. In subsequent bankruptcies you might not be able to discharge the debts involved during the bankruptcy proceedings in which you were not truthful.
  5. Criminal charges could be fined against you. As in the case of the “hidden Mercedes” payments, you could end up with a criminal conviction and sentencing. No fun.

If you want to learn more about bankruptcy proceedings, contact an attorney at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel. Ltd. on Twitter. If you need legal assistance please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by dialing (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney.


[i] Syracuse News: Woman sentenced for not revealing money for Mercedes to bankruptcy court

[ii] Hiding Assets in Bankruptcy: It’s never a good idea to hide assets in bankruptcy. Here’s wny.