Five Signs That You are Dealing with a Student Loan Debt Scammer.

The New York State Attorney General is suing several so-called student loan debt relief companies for fraud. They are Debt Resolve, Hutton Ventures and Equitable Acceptance. Typically, these companies take your money and over promise their ability to cut or eliminate your student loan debt. THEY ARE SCAMS—but they aren’t the only ones out there. BEWARE.

Here are my five rules for avoiding a Student Loan Debt Scammer:

  1. DON’T CALL ME, I’LL CALL YOU. Did the Student Loan Debt Relief Company contact you? If you suddenly got a call or email out of the blue from someone saying they can solve your student loan debt problem, BE WARY, VERY WARY. This is probably a trolling scammer who has reviewed (possibly illegally) your credit report or has access to your online searches and is trying to hook you into an expensive program that WON’T solve your problem.

  2. IT’S YOUR MONEY. If the Student Loan Debt Relief Company asks you for automatic bank deductions to pay for their “services” OR a “power of attorney” to solve your problem, RUN do not walk away from this scam. My office has resolved literally 1,000’s of debt problems and I have NEVER asked for either because it is simply not necessary.

  3. WHO’S ON FIRST? If you do decide to work with one of these Student Loan Debt Relief Companies, but they direct you to pay a DIFFERENT entity then the company that contacted you, DON’T send that check. That is also a sure sign of a fraud.

  4. ACT LOCALLY. You like to eat foods produced locally, right? It’s healthier for you and better for the environment. Solve your Student Loan problem the same way. If you are contacted by a Student Loan Debt Relief Company that is outside your State, be very careful. While some out of state entities may be legit, every state has different consumer protection laws that regulate these types of companies, and some states don’t regulate them at all. You may be dealing with a Student Debt Relief Company that is largely unregulated. Do you really want to give them your money? Think of it another way….you send them their “fee” to tackle your Student Loan problem. Months later you find out you got scammed and they did nothing to help you. Who do you call to get your money back? If you worked with someone locally, you can go right down to their office.

  5. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. If you have a lot of student debt you probably know a little about the options available to you. If the Student Loan Debt Relief Company has a “magic system” or “insider secrets” that guarantee the elimination of student loan debt, think twice. Student Loan Debt Relief is complex and multifaceted. There are tried and true ways of reducing some student loan debts and then there are others that are very difficult to resolve. There are no guarantees, and anyone who is offering you that, is scamming you.

Blasey-Ford vs. Kavanaugh: Sexual Harassment and the Truth

In my opinion, there is a key fact that demonstrates the victim is telling the truth, but will also lead to Kavanaugh's confirmation. According to press reports there was a third person in the room during the sexual assault. If the accuser was lying, she would not have "made up" that fact. Why? Because it gives Kavanaugh an exculpatory witness (who has already come out and said it didn't happen in so many words.) If the victim was lying, it would be illogical to make up a fact that potentially hurts her case. Sadly, if this third party hews to the line that it did not happen, Kavanaugh will be confirmed, despite the accuracy of the victim's story. Let’s hope justice is served.

Five Changes in Federal Law that will Stop Workplace Sexual Harrassment

As an attorney who has defended sexual harassment victims in the Courts I am very familiar with the problems with current Federal law. Here are my five recommendations to stop workplace sexual harassment so there are no more #metoo:
1. There ought to be a law. Current sexual harassment law is based on a 1977 Supreme Court decision that says sexual harassment is part of sexual discrimination and prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This essentially means that unlawful sexual harassment in the workplace teeters on our current makeup of what has become a very conservative Court. We need a law that specifically addresses workplace sexual harassment. 
2. Define Sexual Harassment through the Victim’s Eyes. The Supreme Court definition of a sexually hostile environment is fuzzy, defined through the employer’s rights and responsibilities, and largely ignores a victim’s perspective. This means many potential claims of sexual harassment have no real legal remedy.   This needs to change.
3. Increase Monetary Penalties. If you really want to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, damages to victims should be tripled. Other Federal statutes such as RICO and Whistleblower/Qui Tam have triple damages, workplace sexual harassment is just as important to stop. 
4. Personal Liability for Harassers and Aiders/Abettors.   Beyond corporate liability/employer, harassers should be held personally liable.  In addition, anyone who had a duty or power to protect a victim, and knowingly failed to take action, should also be personally liable.
5. Lengthen the Statute of Limitations- A victim of workplace sexual harassment must file a Federal claim in less than a year. This doesn’t protect the victim, it protects the harasser and employer.

No more #metoo

Millions of student loans could be headed for a shakeup in coming months

As Courtney Minor began a master's program in vocal performance, she made sure to heed some well-known advice: Stick to federal government student loans.

In completing the two-year program at Longy School of Music of Bard College in Boston in 2009, Minor racked up $60,000 in debt using six different loans, which required her to pay a total of $800 a month for 10 years following her graduation.

How the Affordable Care Act Drove Down Personal Bankruptcy

As legislators and the executive branch renew their efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this week, they might want to keep in mind a little-known financial consequence of the ACA: Since its adoption, far fewer Americans have taken the extreme step of filing for personal bankruptcy.

Filings have dropped about 50 percent, from 1,536,799 in 2010 to 770,846 in 2016 (see chart, below). Those years also represent the time frame when the ACA took effect. Although courts never ask people to declare why they’re filing, many bankruptcy and legal experts agree that medical bills had been a leading cause of personal bankruptcy before public healthcare coverage expanded under the ACA. Unlike other causes of debt, medical bills are often unexpected, involuntary, and large.