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Multiple debtors bilked by company promising bankruptcy help

Calling him “the king of the Internet,” an attorney with the U.S. Trustee Office voices his agency’s frustrations concerning a single man who has avoided civil penalties handed down in multiple bankruptcy cases.

That man is reportedly a computer engineer and the principal owner of a company called USA Bankruptcy Associates (USABA) that advertises on the Internet, pledging cheap help to financially strapped and often desperate debtors.

The problem with the company, according to a number of people and as evidenced by dozens or reported cases across the country, is this: It does shoddy work and is unaccountable for its mistakes.

Moreover, it operates outside the United States, still targeting customers domestically through multiple websites despite a court order that bars it from preparing bankruptcy petitions for debtors residing anywhere in the country.

The reason for that order: Work done by USABA has turned out in dozens of instances to be flatly defective. For one customer, that meant key information missing from her filing, as well as a failure by USABA to sign the petition. Similar problems have occurred for other consumers, some of whom have had their cases thrown out of court.

Customers seeking to contact USABA following problems with their filings have been manifestly frustrated. It operates from England, Canada and Israel, and only through what one media account has described as “dozens of bankruptcy-related Internet domain names.” Customers seeking to call the company are routinely unsuccessful; its phone number is always busy.

The company’s owner -- who has been cited as violating multiple sections of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and practicing law without a license -- could be living in Montreal, say authorities. Then again, he might be in London or another location.

The story certainly spotlights the adage “buyer beware” for consumers in Florida and nationally. Additionally, it underscores the need for persons with compelling financial problems to solicit assistance from a professional who is duly licensed and has proven acumen in helping debtors.

For many people in need, that translates to this: an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

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

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