Student Loan Discharges Are Available (Not Through Bankruptcy)

The Federal Law known as the Higher Education Opportunity Act, passed in 2008, has made the Truth in Lending Act applicable to some student loans. What does this mean for you? That your loans might be DISCHARGED (read: FORGIVEN) if the lender failed to comply with certain procedures. We are experienced student loan attorneys who can advise you if you qualify for this type of discharge. Call us today to learn more.

Passport seized because of child support delinquency

Behind on your child support? Guess what? You will be arrested. You heard me right — the police will come to your house and arrest you for being a dead beat dad. “But I didn’t commit a crime, I’m not guilty of anything!” you say. Trust me. If it can happen to hip hop star Shawty Lo, it can happen to you. Dead “beat” Dad Shawty Lo in the Slammer. Too bad he’s not the Governor of New York, who apparently is immune from arrest for this. Dead-beat dad cuomo made $927K in 2014

Guess what else? Your passport will be seized. You heard right. It’s all right here in the U.S. Government’s Handbook on Child Support Enforcement, check it out and brace yourself: DHS Handbook on Child Support Enforcement

We keep hard working parents out of prison and use the legal system to get justice.

Call to learn how: 646.923.0453

Frozen Bank Accounts? One Nice Trick to Get Your Money Back

I often get clients who come to me when they go to the bank or try to withdraw money and their accounts are frozen due to old credit card debt that they did not even know existed. Luckily, there is one simple step you can take to get the funds released: filling out the exemption claim form. According to the New York State Exempt Income Protection Act (EIPA), any creditors who attempt to freeze your account must take steps to ensure you promptly receive the exemption claim form in the mail. Since $2500 is automatically exempt from being frozen under New York Law, your funds can be released if you fill out the exemption claim form the proper way. You need to consult an attorney to make sure you include the right legal authorities on your form. Call me today if you have this problem.

Top 3 Myths About Student Loans

1. Myth #1 — My loan balance is frozen while I’m enrolled in school.
Wrong! Many college financial aid offices encourage students to take out the maximum in loans for tuition and living expenses, and reassure them that interest doesn’t accrue while you are in school. This is not usually true. Most borrowers have a mixture of Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Federal Loans, interest does in fact still accrue, and will be tacked on to the principal at the end of the school deferment period, adding potentially tens of thousands of dollars to your loan balance and greatly extending your repayment period.
2. Myth #2 — I can keep extending my forbearance periods while I get financially stabilized.
Wrong! During the forbearance period, interest continues to accrue on the loans, and will be capitalized at the end of the forbearance period. This will cause your loan balance to balloon to a potentially disastrous level, increasing your monthly payments to the point where your payments will not cover the accruing interest making it impossible to ever pay off your loans. You could just keep paying and paying and get no where. Which brings us to myth # 3.
3. Myth #3 — If things get too bad I can declare bankruptcy and get the loans wiped out.
Wrong! Because federal law prohibits bankruptcy discharge of student loans in most situations, this will very rarely work. In fact, in a recent case in New York, the federal court ruled that a single mother, on welfare, unemployed, and living in Section 8 public housing did not show enough hardship to entitle her to forgiveness of her student loans (even where she showed years of unsuccessful efforts to find a job!). Horribly, if you try to declare bankruptcy and the court refuses to discharge the loan, all the unpaid interest and penalties from when the case is pending will be tacked onto your principal, leaving you much worse off than when you started!
But, you may ask…Are there any options for people in trouble?
THANKFULLY, YES!! Beginning in 2009 new payment plans and forgiveness options were enacted that, when used correctly, could lead to you saving tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on your loan balance and monthly payments, and put you on a path to paying off the loan or having it forgiven. However the process requires a great deal of paperwork, investigation of loan documents, and deep knowledge of the law and regulations and tax consequences. A qualified attorney can help you navigate this web of options and forge the best path forward.

Deportations Increase Under Obama

“In truth, this administration — more than any other — has devastated immigrant communities across the country….”

The New York Times posted an article this week detailing the types of minor crimes undocumented immigrants have been arrested and deported for during the Obama administration. They include traffic violations and driving under the influence. And those were the most serious crimes — the least serious was re-entering the country illegally.

Instead of keeping his promise of immigration reform, President Obama has amped up his efforts to ship out hardworking immigrants for small infractions (albeit driving under the influence isn’t minor, but should it warrant deportation?).

Isn’t it time for the 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to stop living in fear of deportation?


(photo courtesy of Leslye Davis of the New York Times)

Investor Visas: Necessary Financial and Corporate Documentation to Include in Your Application to the U.S. Consulate

Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are sometimes a good option for foreign investors from certain countries who wish to travel to the United States to start a business. The investor makes his application to the U.S. consulate in his or her home country, and must include documentary evidence showing the following:

1. Majority ownership of the company;
2. The type of business in which the company is or will be engaged;
3. The source and type of the financial transactions that make up the investment (the investor must place personal assets at risk in the business);
4. The prospects of the investment’s success;
5. The duties that will be filled by employees, managers or executives who will be travelling to the United States to work in the business; and
6. The qualifications of the employees, managers, or executives (degrees, licenses, and prior work experience in the field).

See 8 C.F.R. s. 212(e)

The following is a non-exclusive list of documentation that may be used to prove these elements:

1. Majority ownership:

A. A certification from the secretary of the corporation (notarized statement) to the effect that a specific qualifying foreign national owns the requisite number of shares or ownership interest.

B. Minutes of the First Meeting of the Board of Directors, which should recite the ownership shares of the members of a small corporation or LLC.

C. Independently Certified Statement from the Company’s accountant attesting to ownership shares.

2. The Type of Business (it should be an active investment)

A. This can be be shown by the business activities listed in the articles of incorporation, business brochures and promotional materials, copies of business licences, and/or purchase receipts for inventory, equipment or other capital investments required to run the business.

4. The Investor Must Demonstrate the Source of His or Her Invested Funds, and That They are ‘At Risk’ in the business venture.

A. Each source of the total funds invested must be separately documented. Copies of all loan agreements must be provided, and they must demonstrate the investor’s personal liability. Money transfers into the U.S. can be shown with bank statements showing electronic transfers from foreign to U.S. bank accounts, or by receipts for withdrawals from foreign accounts, coupled with deposit receipts into U.S. accounts.

i. These funds must be placed into a corporate account of the business in order to be counted as “at risk” in the enterprise (they cannot be placed in the investor’s individual bank account).

ii. Supply the documentation from customs officials for any cash that was brought into the U.S. to fund the business.

B. The treaty investor must be in lawful possession of the assets being invested, and must have received the assets via lawful means: (provide documentation that the funds were received by a gift, as compensation, for wages [include tax documentation for source of funds], inheritance, savings, etc.).

4. Receipts for the Transactions That Can Be Counted as “Investments” in the Enterprise:

A. All purchases, capital improvements (e.g., renovations), advertising buys, office equipment purchases, along with statements valuating the items purchased to run the business.

5. Evidence of the Investment’s Prospects (i.e., It Will Generate Significant Profits And Create Jobs) (In other words, the investment is “substantial” rather than “marginal,” see 22 CFR §41.51(b)(1); 9 FAM 41.51 N11)

A. Copies of any business contracts that have been signed
B. Copies of letters, e-mails or other correspondence showing realistic client prospects, and/or negotiations.
C. U.S. workers on the company payroll (document payment of salaries and/or wages)
D. If this other evidence is lacking, you may want to hire a consulting firm to do a market analysis, however primary evidence of prospects (such as contracts or ongoing negotiations) is preferable.

6. Duties To Be Fulfilled by the Alien

A.The employer’s sworn affirmation, plus job descriptions, corporate personnel charts, to show managerial or executive duties, or essential unique skills that are key to the particular business’ operations. Also provide a letter from the employer, plus any specialized degrees, licenses, or resumes, or other evidence to show the alien is qualified to perform the particular duties that are claimed.

Conclusion

It is highly recommended that you consult with a qualified business immigration attorney, who can help you structure your investment to ensure that all the legal elements of the investor visa are satisfied.