Category Archives: Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy & Identity Theft In Arizona

Bankruptcy & Identity Theft In Arizona

Bankruptcy & Identity Theft In Arizona

There are countless driving forces behind bankruptcy in Arizona and the United States as a whole. Medical emergencies are the leading cause of bankruptcy, but other life events like job loss, divorce, or just simple poor budgeting can create debts that can’t be resolved without assistance from a legal process such as bankruptcy. Sometimes debt can stem from the criminal activity of others, such as identity theft. Additionally, an identity thief can steal someone’s personal information and use it to file for bankruptcy in their name. Bankruptcy and identity theft are two complex issues when separate, but it makes things even more complicated when they’re combined. If you have questions or concerns about the intersection of identity theft and filing for bankruptcy in Glendale or Avondale, Arizona, call 623-640-4945 for your free consultation with our firm. You may even qualify to file using our firm’s Zero Down payment plan option.

Glendale Bankruptcy Attorneys providing legal advice

More Information About Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when one person uses another person’s personal or financial information without their permission. Arizona ranked 6th in the nation for fraud in 2023. There were 1,206 reports of identity theft per 100,000 population, with a total of 86,066 reports. However, it ranked 16th for identity theft in particular, with a total of 18,539 reports. The most common type of identity theft in the United States is through credit cards. Some examples of fraud categories include:

  • Imposter scams- Ex: A scammer calls an elderly person pretending to be their grandchild, saying they were arrested while on a foreign vacation and desperately need money wired to them or they will be incarcerated abroad.
  • Prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries- Ex:
  • Business and job opportunities- Ex: An identity thief makes a false job posting for a remote position and convinces an applicant to submit their social security number with their application. Then they use that information to open up credit cards in the applicant’s name.
  • Online shopping and negative reviews- Ex:
  • Investments- Ex: An identity theft victim willingly sends money to invest in a false product that the thief has no intention of producing. Identity theft victims from this category report the highest median loss at $7,768 per incident.

Shouldn’t Identity Theft Debts Be Removed?

Someone who believes they have been the victim of identity theft is encouraged to report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, and the three main credit reporting bureaus as soon as possible. The victim’s credit can be frozen, which sets forth an identity verification requirement before any new debts can be incurred under the victim’s name. It should also be reported to the fraud department at any company at which a fraudulent debt is charged. Usually, this is sufficient to have a fraudulent charge removed from the victim’s credit. However, sometimes the process of proving fraud to these agencies doesn’t go smoothly. A common example of this is when the identity thief is tracked down, it turns out to be someone the victim knows or is related to, and the victim doesn’t want to press charges. Sometimes, the company at which the debt is charged simply isn’t cooperative with removing the debt. Either way, this can leave the victim with the burden of debt that they didn’t spend or approve. If this is combined with debts that the victim did actually intend to incur, their monthly payments, interest, late fees, etc., may begin to exceed their budget. This might create the need for the identity theft victim to seek debt relief.

What Happens to Identity Theft Debt in Bankruptcy

If an identity theft victim can’t get their debts removed or are otherwise deemed liable for them, bankruptcy may be an option to discharge them. As mentioned above, the most common type of debt incurred from identity theft is credit card debt. The good news is that credit card debt is unsecured non-priority debt, which makes it eligible for discharge in bankruptcy. Some unsecured debts, like child support and taxes that don’t meet certain requirements, can’t be wiped away by a bankruptcy filing and must be paid. Unsecured non-priority debts are erased in chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is the most popular form of consumer bankruptcy. Unsecured non-priority debts are only paid to the extent that the debtor can afford in chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is a payment plan bankruptcy that is used by debtors with higher incomes or debts that can’t be discharged in chapter 7.

Some bankruptcy debtors can choose which chapter to file, but many will only qualify for one or the other. Qualifying for bankruptcy can be a tricky subject. In chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor must prove that they don’t have enough income to pay off their debts, but in chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor must prove that they do have enough income to pay off their debts over time. The first step to both of these is calculating the debtor’s average income. Some people are salaried employees, while others may own their own business or have a variable income. Regardless, the court will look back at the debtor’s income for the past 6 months.

The potential bankruptcy debtor can compare their average monthly income to the median monthly income for households of their size in their state. If their income falls below the median, they will qualify for chapter 7 and have a 3-year payment plan if they file for chapter 13. If their income is above the state median, they will need to use the means test to qualify for chapter 7 and they will have a 5-year payment plan if they file for chapter 13. The means test is also used to determine how much a chapter 13 debtor will pay into their plan.

To conduct the means test, the debtor must subtract certain allowable expenses from their average monthly income. The expenses should be reasonable and necessary, such as a home mortgage or rent, groceries, utilities, student loans, child support, etc. Vacations, meals at restaurants, clothes shopping beyond what is necessary, and other luxuries can’t be used on the means test. When the results of the means test fall below a certain threshold, the debtor can file for chapter 7 bankruptcy. To qualify for chapter 13 bankruptcy, that number must be enough for the debtor to pay off mandatory debts like secured debts and priority debts over their payment plan’s lifespan. If you have more questions about qualifying for bankruptcy in Glendale or Avondale, Arizona, call 623-640-4945 for your free consultation with our firm.

Experienced Arizona Bankruptcy Lawyers Offering Zero Down Payment Options

If you are seeking debt relief after identity theft in Avondale or Glendale, our firm may be able to assist. Many of our clients are eligible to file for bankruptcy and protect themselves from creditors using our Zero Down payment plan option. Take charge of your financial situation and create opportunities to rebuild your credit in the future. Glendale Bankruptcy Lawyers will make each step of the process easier, which begins with your free consultation by phone. To take the first step towards filing for bankruptcy and wiping your slate clean, call 623-640-4945 to schedule your free consultation.

Electric Vehicle Maker On The Brink Of Bankruptcy

Electric Vehicle Maker On The Brink Of Bankruptcy

Electric Vehicle Maker On The Brink Of Bankruptcy

Electric vehicles have grown in popularity for the past several years for various reasons. They are supposed to be better for the environment, which is a cause important enough to some to affect their choice of vehicle. A person who drives an electric vehicle can save a significant amount of money on gas. Electric vehicles even have special license plates that allow drivers to use the HOV lane, even if there is only one occupant in the vehicle. As it becomes more commonplace to drive electric vehicles, more charging stations become available which makes people feel more comfortable purchasing an electric vehicle. One would think that this automatically translates into increased profits for companies that produce and manufacture electric vehicles. But one electric vehicle maker has encountered obstacles and could be on the brink of bankruptcy. Read on to learn about this potential filing, as well as personal bankruptcy filings in the state of Arizona. If you’re looking for a skilled attorney to take your bankruptcy case in Phoenix or Tucson, call 623-640-4945 for your free consultation with our firm.

Glendale Bankruptcy Attorney signing a document regarding Electric Vehicle company bankruptcy.

Fisker’s Potential Bankruptcy Filing

Fisker was founded by Danish automotive designed Henrik Fisker and is based out of Manhattan Beach, California. This company was started in 2016 after Fisker’s previous company, Fisker Automotive, went under. Fisker’s plan to revolutionize the automotive industry was dashed after the release of some extremely negative reviews of its vehicles. Technology reviewer Marques Brownlee made a video review of the company’s Ocean electric SUV which has more than 4 million views. He stated that it was the worst car he had ever reviewed citing issues like error messages on the dashboard screen, random beeping and blinking, and faulty cameras. Consumer Reports had similar opinions about the vehicle, calling it “both nauseating and jarring” and “the worst of both worlds.” This caused the company to halt sales of its shares, and the New York Stock Exchange even delisted the company’s stock due to abnormally low price levels.

Being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange can create massive issues for a business. In the face of being delisted, Fisker must buy back bonds due in 2026 and immediately pay off debts that were previously due in 2025. Fisker made a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission to indicate that it does not have the assets to pay off all of these debts. On March 26, Fisker began reducing the prices of its vehicles. The subject of the negative reviews, the Ocean, was reduced by 40% to $37,499. With all of these negative financial indicators, it’s reasonable to predict that Fisker may soon be forced to declare bankruptcy.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy For Large Companies

Chapter 11 bankruptcy can be used by individuals or companies, but it is mostly filed and discussed as a form of business bankruptcy. Financial experts expect that Fisker will file for chapter 11 bankruptcy because it is the type of bankruptcy used most often under these circumstances. A recent example is the June 2023 chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of fellow motor vehicle company Lordstown Motors. This company saw its value plummet by 35% after a botched investment from Taiwan-based company Foxconn. Foxconn only invested $52.7 million of a promised $170 million. Lordstown placed itself for sale with its chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Now known as Nu Ride Inc, the vehicle maker intends to litigate its issues with Foxconn, as bankruptcy left it with more cash in the bank and a new board of directors.

Shutting down and reopening with a new company name isn’t unheard of in bankruptcy. It is also a strategy in chapter 7 bankruptcy, which many businesses avoid due to the requirement that the company shut down permanently. But many companies utilize chapter 11 specifically because it allows them to continue operating under the same name. When a debtor files for bankruptcy, a trustee will be assigned to oversee the case. In chapter 11 bankruptcy, the debtor’s primary creditors also assemble to form a committee. The committee has a great deal of authority in how the bankruptcy proceeds and changes to the business structure while the case is active. Small businesses can use a small business filing or a subchapter V filing to skip this process, but only if they meet certain debt limitations.

Choosing Between Chapter 7 & Chapter 13

With so many interested parties involved in a chapter 11 case, it is one of the most time-consuming and costly forms of bankruptcy. That’s why although it is an option for personal bankruptcy, the vast majority of people choose between chapter 7 and chapter 13. Chapter 7 and chapter 13 have their own eligibility requirements as well as their own benefits and drawbacks. If you are having trouble deciding between the two, call 623-640-4945 for your free consultation with our Arizona bankruptcy firm.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a quick and effective tool for debt relief. The process only takes about 3-6 months, which is much faster than other forms of bankruptcy and debt relief in general. There are few requirements of the debtor after they have filed their petition, completed their credit counseling courses, and attended the 341 Meeting of Creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out unsecured debt without priority status. Common examples of debts that are cleared by chapter 7 include credit cards, personal loans, unpaid rent and bills, medical bills, and repossession deficiency balances. Some taxes can be cleared by chapter 7 bankruptcy, but some have priority status, which makes them ineligible for discharge. Other debts that can’t be discharged in a chapter 7 include a home mortgage, an auto loan for a vehicle that you keep, student loans, and child support. Chapter 7 has strict income qualification rules, and the debtor needs to show the court that they earn less than the state median income or pass the Means Test in order to qualify.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy isn’t as fast as chapter 7, but doesn’t have as strict eligibility requirements and can help the debtor address secured and priority debts that would be unaffected by a chapter 7 filing. Instead of erasing debts, chapter 13 restructures debts into a payment plan of 3 or 5 years. This gives a debtor more time to catch up on secured debts to stop a foreclosure or repossession. It also can clear secondary home mortgages under certain circumstances. The debtor will be protected from creditors and some of their unsecured nonpriority debts can be cleared when the payment plan is complete.

Need Help Deciding If Bankruptcy Is Right For You? Start Here.

All types of businesses, from restaurants to electric vehicle makers, have been struggling since the pandemic. If you are having troubles making ends meet, you deserve more information about your debt relief options. Our Arizona bankruptcy lawyers can assess your situation to determine if bankruptcy is a fit and which chapter you should file. If you’re seeking quality representation in the Phoenix or Tucson area, we can provide you with an affordable payment plan option starting as low as Glendale Bankruptcy Attorney. To get started today with your free phone consultation, contact us or call 623-640-4945.