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Absolutely BRUTAL 341-Florida Middle

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  • Absolutely BRUTAL 341-Florida Middle

    It was BRUTAL, all right. But not for us. For several cases in advance of ours, the trustee seemed hellbent on destroying lives, stealing candy from babies, pennies from the dead, making enemies, taking names and tossing them into the soul-shredder.

    I am NOT exaggerating. I had to share the tale. She was tough as nails, but only on those who deserved it, or seemed to.

    Let me reiterate-our meeting was SMOOTH as glass.

    We walked into the room promptly at 11:20, in advance of our appointment. I knew there was trouble brewing when we heard the ongoing interview with the debtor at the front of the room.

    We sat.

    Trustee: ". . . So, can you explain again exactly WHERE the $80,000.00 that was in your bank account five months ago is now?"

    debtor: "It's listed right there on the schedule."

    trustee: "Yes, it is. However, it is NOT in the bank account."

    "I know".

    "Where is it now?"

    "It's over there in that other account."

    "The one that has $12,000.00 in it?"

    "Yes, that's it."

    "Can you explain why the $80,000.00 is now $12k, instead of 80k? And also explain why both 80k AND 12k are in the bank five months ago, but are not now?"

    "I don't know how to answer that. I don't know."

    Trustee: "How much was in your business account on filing day?"

    "489.00."

    Trustee: "This 341 will be continued. Right now, I want you to write me a check for the money that was in your business account. We will be in touch. Oh . . . and I will be sending an appraiser to value your home, personal and business property."

    Then it dawned on me. We had drawn one of the most notorious trustees in the BK system. She is the only one who asks for appraisals in almost all of her cases. From what I saw, she ordered appraisals in about 90%.

    YIKES. My wife had terrible ideas in her mind, about what we were going to be put through.

    Next up were a couple of equally brilliant folks. I may get them muddled, but here are my recollections.

    One fellow approached the trustee in a brand new, custom-tailored Armani suit. Or more valuable. Hard to say. He looked like he had just stepped off the private jet and was going to take care of a little dirty business before calling the limo to head back to the club.

    Trustee got on the phone. "I think I have the gentleman you mentioned in front of me."

    A minute later, here comes the UST, with assistant. She made one comment as she sat: "Ah, I thought you might be the one, when I saw you in the hallway this morning." Not a good thing, I am sure. She sat through the interview, taking notes, not commenting on anything. Just listening.

    Depending on which version he told the trustee, and which line on his schedule, he either made 3k per month, 10k per month, or 28k per month. And was filing 7. Or trying to.

    Things went downhill from there.

    To help matters, his law firm (which I am sure he paid the best money for), sent a fill-in attorney who knew nothing about the case and stared blankly around the room while playing "helicopter" with his tie.

    Turns out: The fellow had received a 270k signing bonus from a financial company a year ago.

    Trustee: So, you were given a $270,000.00 signing bonus to take a job that pays $3,000.00 per month?"

    debtor: "But I made 370k last year."

    "You got 270k for taking a job that pays 3k per month?"

    "Yes."

    Trustee just shook her head. His wife, not filing, makes an additional 18k per month. He claimed that she is responsible for paying all bills and is the main breadwinner. But he was trying to claim all manner of housing related expenses to shift his income lower.

    Additionally, he had 3 pages of office equipment and furnishings on his schedule.

    Later, he claimed his work equipment amounted to one computer and one desk.

    Then a bit later. "I've made over 500k per year for the past several decades, you know."

    Not sure if he was bragging, confused, trying to clarify something, or defend himself. It did not help.

    There was such a tangled web of properties, investment properties, cash, two houses claimed as homestead property. One for him, one for his wife.

    There was one other small matter. An additional 350k had "gone missing" from his retirement accounts. Also, he had not supplied them with bank statements, tax returns and so on.

    However he was trying to be helpful. When the trustee ordered an appraisal of ALL property and a list of property owned wholly by the wife, he answered, "I just had an appraisal on everything done. Can I just forward that to you?"

    Trustee: "Sure. Send me that exact appraisal. AND we will STILL be conducting our own appraisal."

    This guy killed himself, and his case in too many ways to count. All the while, the stand-in attorney sat there gazing into his own personal inner abyss of stupidity.

    This gives you some sort of idea. There are many more things I cannot remember.

    Now, on to our case.

    We were called and went and sat down. We were asked perhaps 9 questions.

    We had one irregularity. It was a BMW that we had no room to exempt. She scanned the list of notes she had previously taken about each case and came to it.

    We explained that it may or may not be in working order. The dealership had it in for repairs when we filed. She asked, "What do you want to do with it?"

    I answered, "We really have no exemption room, so it should go to benefit the creditors."

    She nodded, made a couple notes and asked if we had the title with us. We did not. I explained that we lost the title, but could not get a new one in this county without the VIN number, which is on the car-at the dealer, who has refused to return calls. She shook her head, and said, "I'll send an auctioneer. Can you meet him there?"

    "Of course," I said, "Happy to help."

    Asked if we were surrendering the home. We are.

    Asked what we planned to do: "Move in with dad in law."

    2 more standard questions and we were out the door.

    No appraisal, no hassles, nothing. Smooth.

    On the drive back, we realized the VIN number is on our insurance cards. Lawyer told us to call and ask if they want us to retitle and send it to them, or stick to the original plan.

    Looks good from this side of the 341.

    Too bad some of the other folks were trying to play games with the trustee.

    Our attorney suggested that the debtor the UST was interested in would likely head to jail if he didn't come very clean very soon. This particular trustee, UST, and judge are not lenient at all.

    Again, this was Florida Middle, in Tampa.

    Best wishes,

    -dmc
    11-20-09-- Filed Chapter 7
    12-23-09-- 341 Meeting-Early Christmas Gift?
    3-9-10--Discharged

  • #2
    Also wanted to add:

    Our attorney had a strong rapport with the trustee. VERY strong, in a professional way. I am not saying that helped, but it sure didn't hurt. Great attorney, happily recommend him to anyone in the north Tampa Bay area of Florida. He wore a Santa hat to court.
    11-20-09-- Filed Chapter 7
    12-23-09-- 341 Meeting-Early Christmas Gift?
    3-9-10--Discharged

    Comment


    • #3
      Great stories. Scared me when I read your title.

      Glad yours went smoothly.
      Stopped Payings CC's: 8/14/2009 | Retained Attorney: 9/23/2009 | Filed CH 7: 12/7/2009 | 341 Meeting: 1/21/2010 - Complete | Discharged: 4/9/2010
      "One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth."

      Comment


      • #4
        WELL. thats sounds as if it is a relief for you. did they ask you any questions about your business ?
        Marie

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow, good for you. It sounds like some people are so stupid! Or at least badly-advised by their attorneys.

          Comment


          • #6
            No questions at all about our business.

            In addition, I expected questions about our son's inheritance. He has an account worth about 13k and his OWN homestead, worth probably 250k, which is nearly paid off.

            We take care of these things for him, as he is 16 years old. Trustee never mentioned them.
            11-20-09-- Filed Chapter 7
            12-23-09-- 341 Meeting-Early Christmas Gift?
            3-9-10--Discharged

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DeadManCrawling View Post
              Great attorney, happily recommend him to anyone in the north Tampa Bay area of Florida. He wore a Santa hat to court.
              Never met your attorney, but I love any lawyer who has the confidence to wear a Santa hat into court!

              I'm so glad to hear that things went well for you today! It's been a long time coming, but you prepared so well - good for you!

              I literally gasped out loud when I read your tales about the other two filers you watched. Amazing how many people there are in this world who think they can just get by on (as my granny used to say) "on a smile and a shoeshine" . I'm imagine they feel entitled due to their wealth and acted today just like they do in many areas of their lives - "I don't have to be accountable." Guess their buck was finally stopped in that 341 meeting for those two today.

              So glad your 341 went so smoothly - you deserve that 10 times over!
              I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice nor a statement of the law - only a lawyer can provide those.

              06/01/06 - Filed Ch 13
              06/28/06 - 341 Meeting
              07/18/06 - Confirmation Hearing - not confirmed, 3 objections
              10/05/06 - Hearing to resolve 2 trustee objections
              01/24/07 - Judge dismisses mortgage company objection
              09/27/07 - Confirmed at last!
              06/10/11 - Trustee confirms all payments made
              08/10/11 - DISCHARGED !

              10/02/11 - CASE CLOSED
              Countdown: 60 months paid, 0 months to go

              Comment


              • #8
                It never ceases to amaze me that people are still trying to hide, hinder or delay the Trustee and United States Trustee (UST). Absolutely amazing. Okay, so I may be on in the middle and leaning to the conservative side of how to approach a bankruptcy filing... but the things I've been reading the past few days.... just wow!

                A Trustee/UST may seem mean, but people, their job becomes full of people who often lie! I equate this to police officers having to deal with the general public. Sure, most people are not going to lie and not going to shoot them, but they must approach each situation as if the person they are detaining/stopping is going to shoot them or lie to them.

                Wow! Glad you made it out DeadManCrawling. On another note, I hope that we all learn from your experience that... messing with the system is not a good thing.
                Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  LRPRN,

                  The worst offender, in his Armani suit, originally approached the trustee as though he, THE DEBTOR, were about to conduct a board meeting. Or a minor conference with his gardening crew, about to direct them as to how the hedges should be trimmed this week, and how to improve over the previous week's effort.

                  Now, I have nothing at all against the wealthy. By some folks standards, I was (and am) wealthy. All a matter of perspective.

                  But this fellow "reeked" of arrogance and his attitude simply said, as he sat down in front of the trustee AND UST: "Let's get down to business-MY WAY. Now, here is how we are going to handle this . . ."

                  Of course, he got a tough lesson in a very few seconds.

                  BK seems to be a great equalizer, honestly. This trustee, as tough as she is, reduces EVERY debtor to the same questions and requirements. NO ONE is different in her eyes.

                  I DID spend a lot of time preparing. Almost three years. Most of my learning came from one source-THIS FORUM.

                  I thank you all, and many who have long since left the forum, for giving us the knowledge and confidence to get through it.

                  When we started, I was a bundle of nerves, about to explode, terrified to get out of bed in the morning.

                  This forum made the difference, truly.

                  Knowledge is confidence, AND power.

                  Best,

                  -dmc
                  11-20-09-- Filed Chapter 7
                  12-23-09-- 341 Meeting-Early Christmas Gift?
                  3-9-10--Discharged

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    DeadManCrawling:
                    Looks as though you will be able to change your name soon to something more positive...

                    Really appreciate you sharing your experience in such detail. I especially got a kick out hearing that your attorney wore a Santa hat.
                    Just wondering...how would one find out who this recommended attorney is ? ....I am in the 'Middle District'...

                    Bet your wife is breathing a sigh of relief. All 'down hill' from here, I would think.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Great post.. Thank you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        OhBOy,

                        I will send you a PM with his details. For others reading, he is in the northern suburbs of the Tampa area. I recommend him without reservation. He and his staff have been perfect for us, and he has personally researched intricate questions I posed to him based on: Questions on this forum, my own thoughts, case law references, and suggestions from others on this forum.

                        No case is the same, but this attorney has done incredibly well for us.
                        11-20-09-- Filed Chapter 7
                        12-23-09-- 341 Meeting-Early Christmas Gift?
                        3-9-10--Discharged

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Congrats DMC! Happy 60 Days!
                          *Filed: September 23, 2009 *341: November 4, 2009 *Discharged: January 4, 2010 *Closed: January 20, 2010

                          Hakuna Matata...it means NO WORRIES!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            DMC good for you

                            I suspect there may be fraud in the other cases......its not good not to know where large sums of money is when the trustee or UST asks. Always good to know your income too .

                            My lawyer had a good rapport with the trustee too back then. Mine was like 5 min tops with the trustee. But like you I had one of the trustees that was noted for being hardnosed. He did grill several folks and was running 30 min behind when we finally got the roll call for our time.

                            Nothing can offend the trustee more than treating him like he's your employee.......

                            My lawyer gave us a list of dressing standards and it specifically mentioned not to buy new suits or dresses or other such excesses.
                            May 31st, 2007: Petition Filed by my lawyer
                            July 2nd, 2007: 341 Meeting Held
                            September 4th, 2007: Discharged and Closed.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Wow...just wow. Your post was jaw droppingly descriptive of debtors shooting themselves in the foot by trying to get away with obvious fraud. I can't even imagine someone having the guts to look down on the Trustee when they are the ones in the hotseat! It defies logic.

                              I appears you drew the Trustee with the national reputation for utter thoroughness. Thank goodness you were prepared mentally, organized and READY to give up what you could not exempt! You must have been a breath of fresh air to the Trustee. Congratulations on your smooth 341...and your continued smooth transition to a debt free life.
                              Filed CH 7 9/30/2008
                              Discharged Jan 5, 2009! Closed Jan 18, 2009

                              I am not an attorney. None of my advice is legal advice in any way..

                              Comment

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