Monday, May 25, 2020

Bankruptcy: Dischargeability of Debts - Piercing the Corporate Veil

     In the case of Hodnett v. Loevner, Judge Tice of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia held that a bankruptcy debtor is not insulated from the dischargeability issues raised under Bankruptcy Code §523 (a)(4) by virtue of the fact that the transactions were done in the name of a corporation. 
     The debtor had transferred the plaintiff/creditor's trust funds to a limited partnership of which the investment company, the debtor's alter ego, was a general partner, without any notice to the plaintiff. Further, the debtor failed to properly account for the location of the funds. The debtor was also an officer, director and 50 percent shareholder in the corporation, and most importantly, was the person who made the investment decisions concerning client funds. The debtor was the alter ego of the investment company, and the Court found that the company was used in conjunction with the limited partnership to obscure fraudulent conduct with respect to the plaintiff. Therefore, the Court invoked the doctrine of piercing the corporate veil to hold the debtor personally liable for acts of the corporation.
     The Court held that the judgment was also exempt from discharge under Bankruptcy Code §523(a)(2)(A) because of the debtor's actual fraud. The debtor's statements, reports and correspondence concerning the existence of certificates of deposits were misrepresentations of material facts which were made by the debtor in an effort to deceive the plaintiff, and upon which the plaintiff relied, permitting the debtor and the investment company to use the trust funds in violation of an express trust. As a result of those misrepresentations, the debtor lost $107,000 of the plaintiff's trust funds. The Court found that this conduct on the part of the debtor constituted fraud.
     The Court further found that even if it could be argued that the debtor intended to repay the funds, his lending the plaintiff's funds on an unsecured basis while lying to the plaintiff about the nature of the investment constituted reckless conduct tantamount to fraud.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Collections: Collection Accounts - What We Can Do For You

     In a previous blog, we discussed what we can do for you to handle your collection accounts. 
     If you choose Lafayette, Ayers & Whitlock, PLC, we can handle your accounts from beginning to end. We can accept all cases on a one-third contingency fee of all amounts collected. We will assess the court-allowed fee the moment the account is turned over for collection, and this amount is recoverable from the debtor. We have trained and experienced support staff and an aggressive approach to collections. In reviewing the Course of Action Chart (below) you will see that we will aggressively pursue your recovery. Virginia District Court judgments are good for ten years, twenty in the Circuit Court. If the judgment is docketed (we docket all judgments unless the value is very small or you instruct otherwise), the lien is enforceable for twenty years. We provide detailed monthly accounting. At the beginning of each month you will receive a report outlining significant matters, a computer generated financial accounting, by debtor, dollar for dollar. You will also receive a case status report detailing current status and action.


Step 1 --- Account turned over for collection. 
Step 2 --- Demand letter sent to debtor within 24 hours of our receipt of the account. 
Step 3 --- After ten days (a time period that we are required by federal law to give), if there is no plan for payment that you approve, we will file suit. The suit is normally set 30 to 45 days in advance.
Step 4 --- On the date of the suit return we will either obtain default judgment or, if the debt is contested, set the case for trial.
Step 5 --- Once judgment is entered, and after the ten-day appeal period, we will docket the judgment and proceed in post-judgment collections, as set forth below.
Step 6A --- Establish an acceptable post-judgment payment plan; if not,
Step 6B --- Garnishment of wages or accounts; if not,
Step 6C --- Levy on personal property; if not,
Step 6D --- If no apparent remedy, schedule debtor's interrogatories and return to Step 6A.
Step 7 --- If there are no apparent collection measures available, we will review a new credit report every six months and return to Step 6A.

     In bankruptcy matters, we can assist you by handling all of your needs. We can review bankruptcy schedules, review and object to chapter 13 plans, file proofs of claim, attend hearings and more.
     In foreclosure matters, we can assist you by handling all of your foreclosure cases from demand to final accounting in all counties and cities across the Commonwealth.
     In real estate matters, we can assist you by preparing loan documents for first, second, equity line and refinances, as well as conducting closings, recordings and coordinating title examination and title insurance.
     Please call me at 545-6251 for a free consultation.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Foreclosure: Foreclosure Sale Accounting

     The Code of Virginia requires that the trustee’s accounting be filed with the appropriate commissioner of accounts “within six months after the date of a sale.” The Manual for Commissioners of Accounts states that “although the Commissioner does not have specific statutory authority to extend the six month filing date, some courts allow the Commissioner to extend the deadline for good cause shown in advance of the filing date.” 

Monday, May 4, 2020

Real Estate: Homeowners' Association Wins Damages on Owner Violations

     There has been much litigation over HOA violations in the last few years. Circuit Courts have been scrutinizing HOA violation claims very carefully. Enforcement and damages for violations can be won. The December 2011 Loudon County Circuit Court case of Lee’s Crossing Homeowners’ Association v. Zinone is a good example of such enforcement. In Lee’s Crossing, the court found that in building her home, the homeowner committed multiple violations of the plan approved by the Architectural Review Board. Ultimately, the court assessed damages in favor of the homeowners’ association on the basis of “one overriding violation,” the failure to comply with the ARB-approved application.