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Celadon Trucking – Indianapolis Bankruptcy News

Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorney John Bymaster was interviewed on Fox59 News regarding the Celadon Trucking Bankruptcy.

On Sunday, December 8, 2019, the well-known Indianapolis-based trucking company, Celadon, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  To make matters worse, the goal of this Chapter 11 case was not to reorganize the company. Instead, it was to allow Celadon to cease its operations immediately.  All Indianapolis-based operations completely grounded to a halt. Some drivers were even left stranded out on the road with no fuel-buying ability to continue their routes.

Celadon Bankruptcy – The History of a Trucking Giant

Celadon was truly a trail-blazing company in its time.  Founded in 1985 and incorporated in 1986, Celadon quickly rose in the ranks by pioneering loads that could be transported directly to and from Mexico.  In fact, Celadon’s president offered valuable advice on the transportation side of the infamous NAFTA agreement that was approved in 1995.    

After this major law change went into effect, Celadon grew into the largest of all Mexico-direct trucking service providers.  As trends towards North America Free Trade solidified, Celadon was at the forefront of all transportation providers. Loads were transported by this Celadon all around the United States and also into Canada and Mexico on high volume, regular basis.  Celadon grew into the massive trucking conglomerate that existed at the time of the bankruptcy filing, consisting of approximately 4,000 employees/drivers, 3,300 trucks, and over 10,000 trailers being associated with the company in some way.

What Caused Celadon’s Bankruptcy?

Arguably, the greater cause of Celadon’s bankruptcy was the market.  The market had been brutal to trucking companies in the last year with more than 800 of them shutting down around the nation in 2019 alone.  Insurance costs, tariffs, and demand fluctuations had rattled the trucking industry in 2018 and 2019.

However, the immediate cause of the bankruptcy was the indictment of two former Celadon executives who are alleged to have submitted fraudulent financial statements for shareholder review. In addition, Celadon was delisted in the Spring of 2017 from the stock exchange for failure to file proper financial reports.  The company stock has dropped quickly and then dwindled down to a current value of almost $0 per share. All of this came to a head recently on December 5 with the indictment of their former executives. In addition, the company was facing a $42 million fine that had been brought by the Department of Justice for the alleged accounting fraud of the prior officers and management.   

Obviously, Celadon was facing difficult financial numbers that most likely prompted the desire to “cook the books” by upper-level management – at least according to how it appears from the indictment.  Would have Celadon survived long-term without these alleged financial misstatements? We may never know now. Celadon’s name power and operations have suffered to the point where it looks like a Chapter 11 liquidation is the only remaining option for the present.      

Romantic Scams causing Rise in Bankruptcy

Romantic Scams Causing Rise in Bankruptcy

Online romantic scams have been forcing many unsuspecting, kind-hearted people into bankruptcy. It is a real tragedy as these situations sweep across the nation in record numbers. Many of these people – frequently women and sometimes men approaching retirement age – are having their entire life savings cleaned out. When their life savings is stolen, they will many times dip even into credit accounts. The romantic scam forces them into bankruptcy.

How do these “romantic scam” predators seek out their prey? How do they build such a strong tie over the interent and the phone to get these unsuspecting, kind people to send their savings away overseas? The answers may surprise you.

Romantic Scams – It’s All About The Emotional Need for Romance

Both women and men can fall prey for the emotional need for romance. Usually, however, the victims in these crimes are women. Women who have recently lost a husband or a romantic interest in their life – vulnerable people such as this are usually a prime candiate for the scam. Such people are usually well-off financially, having $200,000 or much more in assets in many cases. What these people lack is an emotional connection. They search on the internet until they find it.

The romatic scam that leads to bankruptcy starts off innocent enough. In fact, for the first 2-3 months or more, the scammer only builds the relationship. The romantic scammer will share all of his family and life details. The scammer will stay up late talking to the victim on the phone or through chat rooms. The two share the intimate details of their hearts. Sometimes they will exhange family pictures or even meet up on video chat. The two quickly become inseperable and deeply connected, at least from the viewpoint of the victim.

After 2-3 months or later, the tone of the relationship intensifies. The romantic scammer will propose meeting the other person. Hints of marriage or forming a new life together begin to color every word in their conversations. Soon the romantic scammer will soon strike. The scam will quickly lead the unsuspecting victim to bankruptcy. The “first strike” will happen very close to the supposed first meeting. The scammer will ask for money because they are caught up at the airport, customs, or have been sudddenly hit with family medical disaster. Somehow the victim will gladly send them the first payment which will range even in $10,000’s of dollars or more. It is no problem to the victim: this new friend has promised to repay the debt quickly back. It all descends from there. The victims will send $100,000 to the scammer. They will then quickly dip deep into all of their credit accounts, which causes them to be forced to file for bankruptcy.

Romantic Scam Victims are Completely Convinced

Romantic scam victims are usually thoroughly convinced that their new “lover” is still loyal to them. Sometimes these scammers will trick elderly men or women with a diminshed capacity. When elderly people are simply tricked due to the weakness that came with their age, such a crime is repulsive and shocking.

What is more shocking, however, is that romantic scammers rarely actually trick somebody with clearly diminished capacity. This scam is completely different: it is a crime that virtually brainwashes the victim through emotional attachment. The victim usually still posseses a very strong will and mind. The scammer actually uses this strong mind to his advantage when he (or she) first asks for the money. The victim firmly responds with a large payment, unfortuntely knowing full well of the chance that they may end up losing the money.

This “brainwashing” is very powerful. Many vicitms still believe that their scammer will pull through for them even during their bankruptcy. The victim will have their entire family and friends confront them with the truth. The victim many times will still hold out. The vicitm is so brainwashed that they may still believe in their scammer even years after they have lost their life savings and filed their bankruptcy case.

If you have a loved one or friend who has a romantic online partner, share this information with them immediately. Have them read this article. Warn them before they send their first money tranfer.

Bankruptcy Exemptions Now Too Low For Indiana

Bankruptcy Exemptions Indiana

Indiana bankruptcy exemptions are quite low compared to other states. The recent housing value boom has left the residence exemption for bankruptcy in Indiana more lacking than ever. Indiana, like a minority of other states, has a very limited residence protection amount in bankruptcy. Coming in at a meager $19,300 per bankruptcy filer, this amount of equity protection that is allowed during Chapter 7 is making bankruptcy relief hard or out of reach for certain segments of Indiana’s public. It is even causing some bankruptcy filers who only purchased their home a few years ago to now to have too much equity in their homes for that purpose.

How Does Indiana’s Bankruptcy Exemption Work?

In Indiana, you are allowed to keep up to $19,300 worth of the house for your residence when you file for bankruptcy. This amount also doubles to $38,600 if you have a married couple filing who are both on the deed of their residential home. Outside of mobile homes, there are virtually no homes in Indiana that fit into the $19,300 protection when they are paid in full. Therefore, it usually plays out that you must have approximately $19,300 (or less) of equity in your home (due to a large mortgage being on your property) if you want to keep your residence. It does not matter if your residence has been paid off for 20 years or even generationally as your family home. You will lose your house most likely if you need bankruptcy relief if the value significantly exceeds this $19,300 amount in the State of Indiana.

How Does Indiana’s Residence Exemption Stack up Against Neighbor States?

It does not stack up very well. For instance, the State of Ohio has a residence exemption of $145,425. This is 7.5 times larger than Indiana’s exemption. Ohio’s exemption also can actually protect the full value of a modest residence, which is a near impossibility in Indiana. Michigan’s exemption is $38,225 per bankruptcy filer. In Michigan, this amount also increases after you reach the age of 65 or if you become disabled. The increased exemption for Michigan is $57,350 per filer. Flordia and Texas homestead exemptions are very large with Texas being unlimited in value and Flordia reaching the millions.

On the lesser ends, the Federal Exemption for residence (which is available in many states, but not Indiana) is still also larger than Indiana at $25,150. Indiana’s neighbors Kentucky and Illinois have some of the most dismal and low residence exemptions in the entire nation, coming in at only $5,000 for Kentucky and $15,000 for Illinois. However, it is important to point out that federal bankruptcy exemptions are allowed to be taken in Kentucky, effectively raising their $5,000 to $25,150 per person for any person who opts for such protection. Essentially, Indiana stacks up very poorly compared to the national average for residence protection. It also stacks up very poorly to that of Indiana’s immediate neighbors except for Illinois as the only exception.

Why Does This Matter?

Central Indiana has been reported as one of the fastest real estate value growth areas in the nation. Coupling this fact with very restrictive residence exemptions, many home values are increasing too quickly to be clearly protected during bankruptcy filings. Even some mortgage holders who put little or no money down are finding this problem only a few years after their home purchase. These elevated values may only be temporary, but it is currently it could effect the bankruptcy analysis and which Bankruptcy Chapter Indiana residents choose to file under.

A greater wrong hood, however, is more simple and obvious: no person’s paid-in-full home is ever truly “safe” in Indiana. The state legislature must believe that it is okay for a person’s paid-in-full residence to be “up for grabs” in Indiana at all times by creditors. It does not matter if you incurred unexpected hardship or medical debts. It does not matter if your home has been paid-in-full in your family for generations. You will lose your paid-in-full residence if you manage to incur too much debt in Indiana. The circumstances do not matter. It’s currently Indiana law.

Did you like this blog about Indiana Bankruptcy Exemptions? For more Indiana Bankruptcy Blogs, click here.

Local Farmers at Risk Through Tariffs

Farmers Tariffs - Bankruptcy

Indianapolis Bankruptcy News

Farming in central Indiana has already gone through difficult times. Many farmers have faced growing balances on operating lines of credit. Farmers near Indianapolis also always face the inherent instability of farm product markets. This particular problem, poor market prices, is being intensified by trade war tariffs.

Local Soy Bean Farms Hit Hard

One of the worst hit products is soybeans, which are now at a 10-year low. Many farmers refused to sell at these lower prices last year, hoping to ride out the market storm. However, farmers can only store soybeans for a limited period of time. They can also only store their full crop if they have the facilities for it. They will be forced to sell soon, regardless of market pricing.

Although there are numerous uses for soybeans, the market is being stunted by the retraction of the Chinese export market. The U.S. market still demands high amounts of soybean products, but the Chinese retraction as created a serious over-supply problem. Farmers may be forced to alter their operations in response to this demand change. To make matters worse, fears are growing that the Chinese market could eventually be fed by foreign markets instead of the U.S. market, permanently replacing this demand sector.

Other Farm Producers Also Hit Hard

Although the soybean market is a good example, other farm markets in Indiana are also being hit. With many farms operating on tight margins and operating loans, the smallest fluctuation in market prices can hit hard. To make matters worse, many of these market fluctuations are unprecedented in recent times. Many farm operations could face insolvency and bankruptcy. A trend towards more farm bankruptcy filings may be lurking right around the corner. Operations that were barely paying the bills may not be operating in the next 2-3 years.

Trade Negotiation Needed Soon

Although many farmers are not against these tariffs in principle, most farmers agree that major trade negotiations should be completed as soon as possible. Even beyond the farming sector, many other sectors of the economy are getting hard by the tariffs including tech industries, automobile markets, and steel. Although many favor trade negotiation, most people want to get these new agreements in place as soon as possible so that tariffs can stop across the board.

More Indianapolis Bankruptcy News

Student Loan Crisis Looms – Are Current Solutions Constitutional?

Student Loan Crisis

As the student loan crisis looms, many proposals to this crisis are being presented in anticipation of the next presidential election. Various presidential candidates are presenting their own solutions. Questions come quickly into play – such as are these solutions constitutional? Is bankruptcy or something else the best solution?

Elizabeth Warren’s Student Loan Solution

Elizabeth Warren, a former law professor and current Democratic candidate for president, has proposed canceling $50,000 in student loan debt for individuals whose household income is below $100,000. This process would be automatic and apply to both private and government-backed student loan debt. This could effectively cause the forgiveness of up to 75% of those currently holding student loan debt in the United States. The process will happen directly with current credit information and former tax returns.

Although this proposal appears to be very powerful and desirable to many Americans, it appears to be blatantly unconstitutional. Without full government compensation (which would be devastating to the Treasury and tax burden), this proposal would directly violate the contracts clause and takings clause of the Constitution. To make matters worse, this proposal would relate the debt-forgiveness to income. The people paying the most taxes would likely receive the least benefit from the forgiveness program. They would also possibly be required to “pay the bill” dependent upon the method in which the loans are “forgiven.” Interestingly, many other programs proposed also follow Warren’s lead, making them income driven and a full, forced forgiveness.

Obvious and Simple: Bankruptcy is Constitutional

There is an obvious long-term solution to the student loan crisis. This obvious solution is to allow student loans to once again be fully dischargeable in bankruptcy. This would return to the root of the problem and fix it at its source. The entire student loan problem originated with “student loans” being put into a separate class in the first place.

Student loans are not the usual loan situation: they are heavily protected and easy to generate. What other unsecured loans can you generate in large amounts right when you reach the age of 18 for college? Student loans have turned education into big business. They have breached the sacred nature of education and turned everything into a big-business type model. The schools, even the best of them, have become predatory by aggressively seeking to fill up their rosters at the highest cost possible. All of the schools have systems for easily coupling each student with future, burdensome student loans

This can be seen the clearest by examining the recent wave of “for-profit” schools that have recently been shut down. These schools were enrolling the least qualified of students for meaningless educational programs. The predatory nature of these schools was obvious. They had entire classes of students burdened with high student loan debts with virtually no value received for their “educational” program. The one thing most of these schools had in common was an eager and convincing enrollment officer. Everything was set up for the young student to sign easily on all lines necessary for a student loan to pay for the school’s programs. Are the rest of the public and private schools honestly much different?

Student loan debts should have never been made non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Returning student loans to a “dischargeable” status in bankruptcy would be the great equalizer. Over time, student loans would no longer retain a special, “god-like” status to oppress young people eager for higher education. Student loan decisions would be made like all other loan decisions: they would be based on the likelihood of the person actually to pay the loan back. Education would no longer be big-business funded by never-ending supplies of debt-based “funny-money.” Education instead would be about actually educating those who are best qualified and dedicated to receiving advanced education or training. The College and University system was just fine before student loans were made non-dischargeable. It will adapt to find the same balance after student loans are dischargeable in bankruptcy once again.

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