Attorney Shannon Brown is Unfairly Trying to Take My Money Over Student Loans

Question:

Dear Steve,

I borrowed around $75k in student loans in the early 1990s while attending grad school in CA. I am originally from the state of Louisiana. They were Stafford and HEAL loans. I could not pay them off. They were turned over to the DOJ.

Beginning in 2010, they started putting me through formal Debtor Exams. They always decided I was insolvent and refused to make any sort of payment arrangement with me. I filed for bankruptcy in 2014, but of course, that did not help the situation at all. In 2017, I started making monthly routine voluntary payments of $200- to the present date.

The DOJ now says I owe them $459,000 due to interest and fees. They had filed a lawsuit (3 months ago during the Cares Act) against me to collect, via accusing me of making a “fraudulent transfer” when I used my inherited life insurance proceeds from my mother’s death in 2014, to build an irrevocable Trust with my daughter as the beneficiary.

A Louisiana attorney named Shannon Brown contracts with the DOJ to collect and make big commissions for herself. She is trying to undo the trust, put the property in my name, and seize it to pay off the loans with all the ridiculous fees.

This situation that’s caused extreme stress and will yield homelessness. I’ve interviewed many attorneys and contacted many agencies, and no one can help me. A few attorneys said they would take the case for a $25,000 retainer, which I don’t have, so I’m stuck defending myself.

When did our own government become the enemy of the people?

I am a psychologist that has been helping disabled veterans for years. I want to sue Shannon for slander, defamation of character, etc., and the DOJ for their unreasonable treatment, etc.

Wendi

Answer:

Dear Wendi,

This is the same situation you wrote to me about over in the Q&A I’m Being Unfairly Attacked by the USA Over My Federal Student Loans.

I’ve also responded to you over in the comments on that post as well.

I thought it was important to address this situation again so others can learn from the situation.

It is clear you feel you are being mistreated and being vindictively attacked by a Department of Justice attorney. Those beliefs are not in dispute.

But if we are to use this situation as a teachable moment to help others, I feel it necessary to wind back the clock to when you first defaulted on the student loans.

The Department of Education offered an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) program starting in 1994 called the Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) program. Under that program, loans could be adjusted depending on the income of the debtor. After 25 years of payments, the remaining balance would be forgiven.

In January of 2020, the Department of Education told me, “the ICR plan wasn’t implemented in our systems until 1995 or 1996. That said, the time a borrower spent in standard repayment during 1994-95 counted toward the 25 years needed for ICR (or ICR-REPAYE) forgiveness.”

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IDR programs are not perfect, see this, but they are better than defaulting.

If you had discovered the ICR program back in 1994, your loans would have been eligible for forgiveness in 2019, you would have made reduced payments, and this entire situation would have been avoided.

I can give you my opinion based on what you have shared and what I have read in your particular situation.

The legal system in America is not perfect. It is the law that the U.S. Government retains the right to garnish Social Security benefits over unpaid federal debts, intercept tax refunds, and garnish wages without going to court.

At this point, you are trapped in a machine. The defaulted student loan debt goes into the hopper at the Department of Justice and flows through the system. Government attorneys or local contract attorneys lead these cases.

Once the USA has sued you, you have to deal with the suit or lose by default.

I completely understand how expensive it is to get competent legal representation. It might not be fair, but it is what it is. As I wrote about your case over here the attorney for the USA has made certain allegations and presented certain facts to paint one picture.

Unless you represent yourself or hire legal representation, that is the only side the court will hear about.

You said, “I want to sue Shannon for slander, defamation of character, etc., and the DOJ for their unreasonable treatment, etc.” Another disadvantage of the U.S. legal system is that anyone can sue for any reason. There is nothing to prevent you from taking such action, but I think it won’t result in the outcome you hope for.

At this point, the USA has presented a set of facts and has apparently conducted an investigation and obtained documentation to support their story.

I am not an attorney, but it seems that you will need to provide your own set of evidence and facts that show the arguments made by the Department of Justice are incorrect. Attorney Brown has laid out what she feels are facts that prove the government’s position, making it easier for you to rebut.

But your particular situation is a bit more complicated because, in 2010, the United States of America won a summary judgment against you. In that case, the Judge wrote:

Facts

L executed and delivered to the government through the United States Department of Education (“DOE”) a promissory note dated June 20, 2000. DOE made three disbursements pursuant to the note in the aggregate of $219,243.42, bearing interest at a rate of 8.25% per annum, to satisfy nine existing student loans to L. DOE is the current owner and holder of the note and has demanded payment of the note in accordance with its terms. L defaulted on the note on January 16, 2007, as a result of her failure to honor the demand. As of June 25, 2009, there is past due and owing under the note principal in the amount of $318,458.112 and interest in the amount of $76,002.56. Interest of $71.97 accrues daily after June 25, 2009. See Record Document 5.

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Procedural History

On January 5, 2010, the government filed this lawsuit seeking payment of the debt. See Record Document 1. L has not formally filed an answer. However, L sent a letter to the United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana stating that she disputes the amount in controversy. See Record Document 3. The government has placed this letter in the record and has treated it as an answer. On October 15, 2010, the government filed a motion for summary judgment, to which L still has never responded. See Record Document 5.” – Source

This Movie Played Before

In the 2010 case, the Court wrote, “The government served on L a copy of its motion for summary judgment on October 15, 2010. See Record Document 5. To date, L has not responded. Local Rule 7.5W requires a respondent opposing a motion to “file a response, including opposing affidavits, memorandum, and such supporting documents as are then available, within 21 days after service of the motion.”

L failed to oppose the motion for summary judgment within the required twenty-one day period. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 states the following:

When a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported, an opposing party may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading; rather, its response must-by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule—set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. If the opposing party does not so respond, summary judgment should, if appropriate, be entered against that party.

It seems apparent to me how this will end unless you intentionally and purposefully participate in the process, as I talk about above.

By the way, I’m not sure if Shannon Brown has left the Department of Justice and is now a contract attorney. Still, in the case I just mentioned above, she is identified as an attorney for the Department of Justice at the U.S. Attorneys Office in Louisiana but has apparently left the office and might have an ongoing outside relationship as you state.

I did notice one peculiar item in your response to the latest suit by the DOJ.

You say, “I began sending monthly payments to her of $200.” Are you sending payments directly to attorney Brown and if so are you sending them to her as an attorney for the Department of Justice or as a private sttorney?

Sincerly,
Steve

You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.


Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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