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A cautionary bankruptcy tale: when help is merely illusory

Facing more than three dozen civil actions in bankruptcy court would seemingly have a deterrent effect on most sham companies promising to help Arkansas residents and other consumers with unmanageable debt.

It hasn't seemed to slow down a company named USA Bankruptcy Associates (USABA) at all.

In fact, and notwithstanding the litigation that piles up against USABA and a court order for federal marshals to apprehend its principal, the company continues to flout the law and offer illusory services to debtors across the country.

Those persons are routinely in desperate need of assistance, and USABA’s business model is apparently focused on responding to that need with false promises of help that merely fleece debtors. People who have sought assistance from USABA have had their bankruptcy cases thrown out of court for sloppiness, inaccuracies and other shortcomings. Its owner has reportedly violated numerous provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and failed to sign off on prepared documents.

And he continues to operate from overseas with impunity in the United States via what one media report calls “an elaborate network of offshore entities and computer servers.”

Shortchanged consumers who seek to contact USABA or any of its affiliates following notification that their bankruptcy documentation is defective are flatly unable to connect with a human voice. Authorities are not sure whether the owner is residing in the United States, Canada, England or in another location.

“It’s a very sophisticated system and he is a very sophisticated fellow,” says an attorney with the U.S. Trustee Office, the entity charged with overseeing bankruptcy cases on behalf of the government.

The tale sounds an obvious cautionary note for debtors seeking sound bankruptcy-related assistance. Such help can be readily secured through the intervention of a proven bankruptcy attorney who commands intimate knowledge of American bankruptcy laws and has a legal duty to act in the best interests of clients.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, "Banned bankruptcy preparer stays ahead of law," Tim McGlone, Dec. 15, 2013

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