Student Loan Related

I’m Being Unfairly Attacked by the USA Over My Federal Student Loans

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Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

I am being sued currently by an unethical, DOJ attorney named Shannon Brown, out of the Shreveport, LA, Western District Court.

The long story short is that I borrowed approximately $75 K in student loans in the early 1990s. She is currently claiming that I made a “Fraudulent Transaction” in 2014, when I used my inherited life insurance proceeds from my dear mother’s death, to form a Trust for my daughter.

Shannon wants to undo the legally protected irrevocable Trust; steal my daughter’s property and render me homeless by taking the house.

She claims I owe more than $350,000 in student loan fees and interest. I have been making payments for years. I have been through multiple Debtor Exams.

Their harassment of me never ends. I cannot afford an attorney for my defense. They want a $25K retainer fee to go against the big bad DOJ.

Can you please help me????????

Anonymous

Answer:

Dear Anonymous,

Oh my gosh. That sounds horrible. Certainly, it is a terrible experience.

To better understand the situation I went and looked up the case. Which left me with more questions than answers.

Can you help me to understand what part of the allegations that I’ve included below are not true so I can guide you better? Post a comment below about what facts are not true.

Regardless, since this issue involves very complex legal matters, especially with the trust, I really don’t see any easy way to resolve this without competent legal representation.

Here is What the United States of America Says Happened

I’m redacting out any name that might identify you. But the section below comes from the complaint filed.

7. “On January 5, 2010, the United States brought suit against L on behalf of the Department of Education to collect on a debt owed by L arising from several defaulted student loans.

8. On March 22, 2010, L responded to the United States’ suit. L only disputed the amount of her debt to the United States; she did not deny that she owed student loan debt.

9. On December 29, 2010, a judgment was entered in favor of the United States and against L in the principal amount of $298,079.15, plus costs and judicial interest as of December 15, 2010 in the amount of $97,161.17 with judicial interest continuing to accrue and to be compounded annually (the “Judgment”).

10. L appeared for Judgment Debtor Examinations on July 19, 2011 and June 28, 2013. According to the financial statements provided by L in these examinations, the sum of her debts exceeded the sum of her assets. Therefore, she was insolvent.

11. L made no payments to satisfy the Judgment in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The 2014 Windfall to L

12. On August 11, 2014, L received $37,500.00 as part of a settlement of her late father’s estate.

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13. On August 14, 2014, L offered to satisfy the Judgment with a lump sum payment of $35,000.00.

14. In an effort to evaluate L’s offer, on August 19, 2014, the United States requested a current financial statement from L.

15. L did not provide the requested financial statement and she did not pay the $35,000.00 to the United States.

16. On September 8, 2014, L received the proceeds of her late mother’s life insurance policy in the form of a check in the amount of $485,902.60. She did not disclose the fact that she received these proceeds to the United States.

17. The foregoing funds that L received represented a windfall. During the months of July, August and September of 2014, L’s balance in her Chase Savings Account was $50.01. On July 11, 2014, the balance in L’s Chase Checking Account was $830.36 and on September 10, 2014, the balance in this account was $842.94.

The formation of C Trust

18. On September 18, 2014, L formed the C Trust.

19. The Trust has only one beneficiary, C [Her daughter.] C is both the income and principal beneficiary. The Trustee is authorized to make distributions from the Trust only for C’s benefit.

20. The Trust is irrevocable and, pursuant to terms of the Trust instrument, L retained no interest in, or right to, the Trust’s property.

The Transfer

21. On September 18, 2014, L donated the $485,902.60 she received from her mother’s life insurance policy to the Trust.

22. L did not receive any value for this transfer, was otherwise insolvent at the time of the transfer, and did become fully insolvent as a result of the transfer.

23. L did not disclose to the United States her receipt of the insurance proceeds or the transfer of the proceeds to the Trust.

24. The transfer was made to hinder, delay, and defraud the United States.

Property acquired by the Trust

25. On September 30, 2014, the Trust, with the funds donated by L, purchased a 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser (the “Toyota”). The purchase price of the Toyota was $28,606.50 and the Trust paid this amount by Cashier’s Check.

26. The title to the Toyota is held by the Trust.

27. On October 22, 2014, the Trust purchased a Condominium in [], municipally known as [] (the “Condo”). The purchase price of the Condo was approximately $430,000.00, which was paid in full by the Trust, again using the funds donated by L.

28. The Trust is the record owner of the Condo.

29. The Trust made other distributions between September 2014 and April 2015 for various purposes including Homeowner Association Dues and property taxes for the Condo, L’s attorneys’ fees and miscellaneous checks to L.

30. According to the terms of the Trust, distributions were only to be made for the benefit of its principal and income beneficiary, C. However, the purchase of the Toyota and the Condo were not for this purpose, nor were the other various distributions made by the Trust.

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31. L surreptitiously moved to [], shortly after the foregoing transfer was made and the transferee acquired the above described property.

The Toyota

32. The Toyota is currently in L’s possession and has been exclusively in her in [] since January 2015.

33. L pays all insurance, gas and maintenance costs for the Toyota.

34. C lives in [far away], where she drives a Lexus ES350.

The Condo

35. C has never lived in the Condo.

36. L is the only person who has lived in the Condo after it was purchased by the trust.

37. The Trust paid the Condo’s Homeowner Association Dues until the Trust no longer had enough money to continue the payments.

38. L currently pays the Homeowner Association Dues, property taxes, insurance, maintenance costs and utilities for the Condo.

The current status of the Trust

39. The original Trustee of the Trust was R. He was removed as Trustee and replaced with F (“F”) on November 3, 2014. F has been the Trustee since that time.

40. Upon information and belief, L has not communicated with F in several years.

41. Upon information and belief, the Trust property currently consists of less than $100.00.

42. The Trust has never asked L to pay rent while she resides in the Condo and L does not pay rent to the Trust for its use.

43. The Trust has never asked L to lease the Toyota and L does not make any payments to the Trust for its use.

The current status of L’s Debt to the United States

44. L did not make any payments on the Judgment in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

45. On February 3, 2017, the United States sent a demand letter to L. In response to this demand letter, L began making payments in the amount of $200.00 per month.

46. The current balance of the debt owed by L is $440,482.11, which includes $407,017.55 in principal, surcharges in the amount of $33,084.21, and $380.35 in pre-COVID interest.

47. This Complaint seeks to avoid L’s transfer of $485,902.60 to the Trust, a judgment against the Trust as transferee and a judgment lien against the Trust’s property to secure the United States’ interest in the property for the satisfaction of L’s debt to the United States.”


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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

4 Comments

  • Thank you for the time you spent! May we talk for a few minutes on the phone, instead of me addressing each point of Shannon’s malicious attack on me in writing? I know that I need an attorney but I absolutely cannot afford one. Our government does not provide free counsel to someone in this situation. I don’t qualify for the free services, but I don’t have enough money to hire a regular attorney. Only one or two said they would do it and they demanded a $25,000 retainer. There’s no way I could come up with that.

    The DOJ refused to settle with me after any of the debtor exams. My attorney in 2017 begged and pleaded for some sort of reasonable end to this nightmare on my behalf, but Shannon refused. She said she was going to try to find a way to take the condo in the Trust, even though the Louisiana statute protects all life insurance proceeds from all creditors. I started making voluntary monthly payments to the DOJ in 2017 to present day but as you can see she has decided to ignore the law and sue me anyway. My daughter does not live in the house because she is away at college. The condo was sold in April 2020 and a house in the Palm Desert area purchased instead. I do live in it, pay the bills, and maintain this investment real estate for my daughter currently.
    In addition to being a psychologist, I also have a real estate license.

    I went to grad school in San Diego in the 1990s. I couldn’t make a living in Shreveport Louisiana, my hometown, afterwards. My contracts kept getting cut as the government reduced mental health care provider funding. I decided to move back to San Diego in January 2015. I felt that I could build a better life for myself and my daughter there at that time. The economy was stronger than in Shreveport and I still have friends in the business from grad school who were going to help me build my career. I became a single divorced parent in 2003. My daughter was five years old. She is now 22 years old. Her name is Connie Christine a.k.a. CeCe and LaBorde.

    The FJ cruiser was my daughter’s 16th birthday present. When I moved from Louisiana I had to turn in my leased BMW. My daughter decided at the last minute that she was not coming to California with me after all. I drove her FJ for awhile until I leased my next car which was a Lexus a little over two years ago. Prior to that, when my daughter changed her mind and decided she was not going to come to California that year, I leased her a brand new Lexus so that she would be safe driving to and from college in Arkansas. The FJ cruiser was not going to be safe for her on the highway. I drove the crappy car and put her in the nice one.

    It goes on and on. The picture Shannon paints of me is ludicrous. There was definitely no fraud in building the trust. It is completely protected by law. And my mothers will ask that a trust be built for my daughter.

    • Unfortunately, you will need to defend yourself against the allegations made and the typical way to do this is to either negotiate with the Plaintiff attorney, raise a defense and represent yourself, or retain competent legal representation to defend you.

      There are always two sides to every story and the United States of America has presented one side as they see it. You need to prove them wrong in court. I am not an attorney and can’t give you legal advice.

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