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By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | March 25, 2013
When a warrant for his arrest arrived at his mother's house, Bryan Bookman went to the district court in Essex to clear up the matter. "That's when I was handcuffed and shackled, right on the spot, like I was a common criminal," said Bookman, who didn't have the money to post bail and spent the night in the Baltimore County Jail in Towson. His crime? Failure to show up in court for a small claims case. Debtors' prison, where people are incarcerated for owing money, seems like something out of another century.
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NEWS
By Kevin Rector and The Baltimore Sun | September 14, 2014
The officials who are responsible for safeguarding the nation's intelligence secrets are trying to figure out how to better vet millions of employees and contractors with security clearances, after auditors found that some of those workers owed more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in unpaid taxes. About 83,000 employees and contractors at the Department of Defense owed more than $730 million in unpaid taxes, the Government Accountability Office reported last month. Last year, the agency reported that 8,400 executive-branch civilian employees and contractors owed $85 million.
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BUSINESS
By Deborah Privitera and Deborah Privitera,States News Service | March 20, 1992
WASHINGTON -- A measure that seeks to reform the overburdened bankruptcy system cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, but faces opposition from consumer groups who charge that it would undermine debtors' rights.The recent surge in bankruptcy filings prompted Sen. Howell Heflin, D-Ala., to propose the reform.The bill would encourage debtors to use Chapter 13 bankruptcies, in which debtors pay off their debt within three tofive years, instead of filing under Chapter 7, which cancels all debts.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | April 21, 2013
Consumer advocates say they didn't get everything on their wish list during the latest meeting of the General Assembly, but the session produced several victories for Maryland consumers. For example, Marylanders would find it easier to buy auto coverage from a state insurance fund, foster children would gain protection from identity thieves and debtors would be less likely to be jailed under bills recently passed by lawmakers. Gov. Martin O'Malley is expected to sign these and other consumer-friendly bills next month.
NEWS
By Will Englund and Will Englund,SUN STAFF | December 28, 1995
CLARIFICATIONAn article that appeared in Thursday's editions of The Sun may have given the impression that Jay Klein, who owns a medical debt collection agency, had said that an increase in injuries over New Year's Eve represents a "bright" spot for his business. In fact, Mr. Klein did not characterize the holiday accident toll in that manner.Enough already with the seasonal good cheer: Christmas is past and now it's time for the debt collection business to swing into action.Debt collectors and repo men all over Maryland agree that the month from Thanksgiving to Christmas is just about the mostdreadful part of the year.
BUSINESS
By BLOOMBERG NEWS | December 2, 1998
WASHINGTON -- A study released yesterday found that industry-sponsored legislation to rewrite U.S. bankruptcy laws would have forced thousands of bankrupt consumers to make repayments even though they lacked sufficient funds.The study by two professors at the Creighton University Law School in Omaha, Neb., said that far fewer debtors had the ability to repay, in contrast to an earlier study financed by the credit-card industry.They found that had House-passed legislation become law, only 3 percent of debtors would have had sufficient income to be moved from Chapter 7, which can wipe away debts, into Chapter 13, which can require debtors to repay some or all of their debts.
BUSINESS
By BLOOMBERG NEWS | September 4, 1997
NEW YORK -- AT&T Corp. is suing some bankrupt credit-card customers for fraud, the latest attempt by a big card issuer to wring payments from cash-strapped consumers.The company is claiming that it was defrauded by cardholders who made purchases even as they prepared to file for bankruptcy. Yet AT&T does minimal background checks on debtors' credit histories before sending them unsolicited, pre-approved card offers, according to bankruptcy judges.The cases are eliciting howls from consumer advocates, who have already come down on Sears, Roebuck & Co. and General Electric Co. for pursuing bankrupt debtors.
BUSINESS
By SUSAN DIESENHOUSE and SUSAN DIESENHOUSE,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | October 2, 2005
A new federal bankruptcy law tries to reduce what some see as abuse among debtors by requiring more monitoring, repayment plans, tighter deadlines and higher costs. But some critics said there is no evidence that a substantial amount of abuse or fraud went undiscovered or unpunished, while the increased cost and requirements in order to file may deny needier people and riskier businesses the fresh start the bankruptcy system was designed to offer. Estimates of debtor fraud range from 1 percent to 10 percent of the cases.
NEWS
March 15, 2005
THE SIREN CALL of easy credit might be compared to the sales pitch of a drug dealer trying to hook a new customer. No money down. Easy payments. The first one's free. Unsolicited credit cards come in the mail everyday, offering cashless shopping sprees to consumers - even children and dead people - with no regard to their ability to pay despite flattering claims to the contrary. And yet the credit industry has spent a decade whining to Congress that too many spendaholics are escaping its clutches - last year, 1.6 million debtors were given a chance to start fresh by declaring bankruptcy.
BUSINESS
By Jay Hancock | February 19, 1996
THIS FRIDAY, A presidential commission will gather in the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building on Capitol Hill to consider possible flaws in the bankruptcy system.The commissioners could do worse than gaze Northeast, first toward Joppa and a grand, silent monument to creditor abuse, then to BWI Airport and a lesson in what some consider court-sponsored corporate welfare.Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc., whose huge Joppa headquarters and warehouse once commanded a retail kingdom, held assets worth more than $200 million when it entered bankruptcy proceedings.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | March 25, 2013
When a warrant for his arrest arrived at his mother's house, Bryan Bookman went to the district court in Essex to clear up the matter. "That's when I was handcuffed and shackled, right on the spot, like I was a common criminal," said Bookman, who didn't have the money to post bail and spent the night in the Baltimore County Jail in Towson. His crime? Failure to show up in court for a small claims case. Debtors' prison, where people are incarcerated for owing money, seems like something out of another century.
NEWS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | May 28, 2012
A Baltimore County woman had about $340,000 in student loan debt discharged by a federal bankruptcy judge this month because Asperger's syndrome prevents her from holding a job. Carol Todd of Nottingham pursued college degrees "as a stepping stone toward a measure of liberation … and perhaps to help her achieve something closer to a normal life," according to the May 17 opinion of Judge Robert A. Gordon, a bankruptcy judge for the District of...
BUSINESS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins and Andrea K. Walker and Jamie Smith Hopkins and Andrea K. Walker,jamie.smith.hopkins@baltsun.com and Andrea.Walker@baltsun.com | January 22, 2010
Maryland regulators, after receiving a slew of consumer questions in the wake of a major debt collector's collapse, have sent letters to every collection agency operating in the state to try to connect anxious debtors with the companies they owe. Rockville-based Mann Bracken, which abruptly shut its doors after the recent bankruptcy of a spinoff company that handled its nonlegal work, used to collect payments from consumers on behalf of firms...
BUSINESS
By Ken Harney and Ken Harney,earthlink | April 6, 2007
When your credit scores don't qualify you for the home mortgage you want, where do you turn? That's an especially timely question now, as banks and mortgage companies tighten underwriting standards for applicants with less than perfect credit. But federal and state authorities fear that some borrowers are turning to a fast-growing business on the Internet: companies that claim to boost credit scores by transplanting the credit DNA of people with excellent payment histories into the credit files of people with sub-par histories - ostensibly without breaking any law. The companies claim to raise FICO credit scores by 50 to 250 points or more by adding low-scoring borrowers as "authorized users" onto the credit card accounts of people with FICO scores well in excess of 700. The positive payment information from such cardholders then flows into the files of the persons with sub-par credit.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | February 18, 2007
When a woman who calls herself Tricia discovered last week that she owed $22,302 on her credit cards, she could not wait to spread the news. Tricia, 29, who does not talk to her family or friends about her finances, says she is ashamed of her personal debt. Yet from the laundry room of her home in northern Michigan, Tricia goes online and posts intimate details of her financial life, including her net worth (now negative $38,691), the balance and finance charges on her credit cards, and the amount of debt she has paid down since starting a blog about her debt last year ($15,312)
BUSINESS
By KATHY M. KRISTOF AND E. SCOTT RECKARD and KATHY M. KRISTOF AND E. SCOTT RECKARD,LOS ANGELES TIMES | October 15, 2005
Deborah Falsman ran up $25,000 in credit-card debt when interest rates were low, credit was easy and bankruptcy offered an escape hatch. Now, the school health clerk is looking at monthly payments that could rise by hundreds of dollars, thanks to new regulations aimed at helping Americans tame soaring credit card bills. "You think you can pay $500 or $600 a month and get it over with," Falsman said of her credit-card debt, which financed a remodeling project for her home in Denton, Texas.
NEWS
October 5, 1999
Here is an excerpt of an editorial from the Chicago Tribune, which was published Friday.PRESIDENT Clinton surprised the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank by proposing to forgive all of the debts owed to the United States by three dozen of the poorest nations on earth.The gesture by the most prosperous nation on earth affirms and expands a commitment made in June and, by example, encourages other well-off countries to do likewise.It increases the chances that these poorest of the poor may direct more of their limited revenues to development of their nations.
NEWS
April 30, 1991
Americans should hardly be surprised that Germany and Japan rebuffed President Bush's personal appeal for a concerted worldwide reduction in interest rates. That's just how creditor nations habitually deal with debtor nations.Not so long ago the United States was the biggest creditor nation. Now it is the biggest debtor due to the profligacy of the Reagan era. So we had better get used to all kinds of slights from better managed countries that like tight money, not easy money.Mr. Bush has good reason to appeal for help from U.S. trading partners, especially if soft demand in foreign countries short-circuits the current rise in exports.
BUSINESS
By SUSAN DIESENHOUSE and SUSAN DIESENHOUSE,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | October 2, 2005
A new federal bankruptcy law tries to reduce what some see as abuse among debtors by requiring more monitoring, repayment plans, tighter deadlines and higher costs. But some critics said there is no evidence that a substantial amount of abuse or fraud went undiscovered or unpunished, while the increased cost and requirements in order to file may deny needier people and riskier businesses the fresh start the bankruptcy system was designed to offer. Estimates of debtor fraud range from 1 percent to 10 percent of the cases.
NEWS
March 15, 2005
THE SIREN CALL of easy credit might be compared to the sales pitch of a drug dealer trying to hook a new customer. No money down. Easy payments. The first one's free. Unsolicited credit cards come in the mail everyday, offering cashless shopping sprees to consumers - even children and dead people - with no regard to their ability to pay despite flattering claims to the contrary. And yet the credit industry has spent a decade whining to Congress that too many spendaholics are escaping its clutches - last year, 1.6 million debtors were given a chance to start fresh by declaring bankruptcy.
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