Avoiding Ponzi Schemes and Bankruptcy in the Mankato, MN Area

In the Mankato, Minnesota area and throughout the rest of our country, folks have heard stories about Tom Petter’s infamous ponzi scheme involving false electronic sales. Although the case was filed approximately seven years ago, difficulties in processing this complex case have caused a series of delays and a number of bankruptcy filings from Petter’s victims. Fortunately, this case recently had another day in court, bringing Petter’s victims closer to justice and financial stability.

To maintain your own financial health and well being, it’s important to understand the warning signs related to fraud or ponzi schemes. Here are a few signs that a deal is likely too good to be true and that it may lead you to bankruptcy:

  • Advise Safely: If you are consulting with a financial advisor, make sure that they’re accredited and truly qualified to help you with your money. Allowing others access to your banking information and statements requires a great deal of trust, so in order to avoid potential bankruptcy, be sure to do your research!
  • Custodian Versus Manager: Before selecting an advisor, understand the distinction between an advisor and a custodian. A custodian only possesses your accounts, whereas a manager actually makes transactions. These two positions should be separate, otherwise you’re allowing one person far too much access to your finances, and you could ultimately be heading towards bankruptcy!
  • Be a Skeptic: Does something about your banker seem odd? Are you receiving a pitch for a strange product or service that seems too good to be true? It likely is too good to be true, and it may cause you personal financial woes or even bankruptcy. It’s important to be aware of all the risks and to have all the information before committing yourself financially!

Before making these important financial decisions in the Mankato, Minnesota area, be sure that you understand exactly what you’re getting into and who is getting into it alongside you. With a discerning eye, you’ll be able to avoid ponzi schemes and the resulting bankruptcy or financial woes.

For further information regarding bankruptcy, contact the professionals at Behm Law Group Ltd. today.

The Right Time to File for Bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN and Popular Businesses That Nearly Filed for Bankruptcy

Knowing when to file for bankruptcy is a financial decision that can make or break the bank. You may feel like you’re sinking and just floating with your head above the water. Behm Law Group, Ltd. can give you the insight you need to know if your financial situation might necessitate filing for bankruptcy.

The right time to file for bankruptcy is when you realize you’re in a financial slump that you may not be able to get out of for years to come. If your debts surpass your income, if you use your credit cards to pay for necessities like groceries, gas, and utility bills, or if you only make the minimum payments on most or all of your credit cards, you may have to consider declaring bankruptcy.

Here are a few examples of companies that faced similar questions about whether to file for bankruptcy or not.

GM and Chrysler

The famous government bailout of the automotive industry kept them from filing for bankruptcy in 2009. The bailout was part of a plan to prevent the Midwest from going into a depression. The bailout kept an estimated 2.6 million jobs alive in 2009 and 1.5 million jobs in 2010, which also kept unemployment rates lower than they would have been.

American Apparel

The company was still just floating above water when its financers were ready to drop American Apparel. The company went into a debt-for-equity conversion and escaped filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Lenders have taken $230 million in debt in exchange for ownership of the company.

Apple

The famous powerhouse company nearly went bankrupt in 1997 before its co-founder, Steve Jobs, stepped back in to save the company and came out with “cool” products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Apple is now the most profitable company in history.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)

Kentucky Fried Chicken hasn’t gone bankrupt, but it is lagging behind against its competitor, Popeye’s. The company hasn’t introduced a new successful menu in quite some time and its southern fried chicken competition is blowing it away. In 2012, twenty-eight KFC franchises were bought out by Popeye’s in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area.

Many times a company or an individual may have to come to terms with the fact that filing for bankruptcy is the only way to relieve themselves of financial distress. Knowing your financial situation well and determining whether you should file for bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN is a dilemma that Behm Law Group, Ltd. can give insight on.

If you do decide to file for bankruptcy, the professionals at Behm Law Group can help you through the daunting process. Contact us today!

You’re Not Alone Going Through Bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN: A List of Big Businesses That Have Gone Under in the Past Five Years

Going through bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN can be an intimidating process, one that might make you feel like you’re the only one going through that kind of struggle. Rest assured that is not true, and not only are you not alone in filing bankruptcy, but there are also well-known businesses that have filed for bankruptcy. Everyone, no matter how big or small, can file for bankruptcy when hard times hit. Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you get regain some piece of mind when going through the bankruptcy process.

Blockbuster

The famed video rental giant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September of 2010. The company was simply unable to pay their debt. Of their 3,000 stores, they closed 110. In total, 402 underperforming stores closed in the wake of Blockbuster’s bankruptcy.

Borders

Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February of 2011. Its main downfall was taking far too long to create an e-reader, like the Nook and the Kindle. Borders fell behind its competition and closed 30% of its 642 stores.

Hummer

The company was hit hard in the recession. With rising gas prices, the Hummer’s mileage—10 gallons per mile that is—and the movement for more environmental friendly machines made the Hummer an obsolete vehicle.

Jennifer Convertibles

The trendy furniture store was also hit hard during the recession and due to a lack of funding, the company filed for bankruptcy in July of 2010 and has closed 78 of its original 142 stores. Today, the largest financer, Haining Mengu, owns approximately 90% of the company.

RadioShack

The electronics retailer announced that it would be closing 1,784 of its stores last year. It first opened 94 years ago, and in 2015 the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

It’s good to note that bankruptcy did not mean certain doom for some of these businesses. Jennifer Convertibles is still around; however, the majority of the company is under new ownership. This shows that you can get back on your feet after filing for bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN. The attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. will help you realize that bankruptcy is not as intimidating as it’s made out to be. Contact us today!

Reinventing A Business After Bankruptcy in Mankato, Minnesota

It’s November in Mankato, Minnesota and all throughout the area, there’s already a sense of holiday excitement and cheer in the air. That’s because the first big November holiday is already happening this week, on November 5.

That’s right. It’s National Doughnut Day!

I’m sure the word “doughnut” brings a few visuals to mind. You may be thinking about glaze, frosting, and the words “Bavarian Cream” or “Bear Claw” might resonate with salivating celebrators. You may also be thinking about your favorite local bakery, or about a more national bakery such as Dunkin’ Donuts.

But there’s one doughnut bakery that may no longer be in the forefront of your mind: Krispy Kreme. Whatever happened to Krispy Kreme?

This doughnut day, we’re going to explore the history of this famous doughnut company. Krispy Kreme’s history with bankruptcy proves that it’s possible to go through a filing and successfully reinvent your business afterward. Let’s take a look at Krispy Kreme’s bankruptcy timeline:

  • 2003: In 2003, Krispy Kreme’s business was sweet! The company was heralded as “America’s Hottest Brand,” for both consumers and investors. This phrase made the cover of Fortune magazine.
  •  Post 2003: As a result of low-carb diet trends, the market for doughnuts decreased rapidly. While Krispy Kreme’s competitors rebranded or introduced coffee drinks to avoid decreased sales and bankruptcy, Krispy Kreme continued to operate the same way it always had.
  • 2007: Diet trends finally became too much, and in 2007, Krispy Kreme was forced to close a number of stores. Sales had decreased, and the company had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  • Now: Krispy Kreme emerged from bankruptcy a few years ago and is back on the doughnut scene. Now, however, the company is choosing to focus on specialty and international products in addition to their classic glaze!

Although Krispy Kreme may no longer be “America’s Hottest Brand,” the company has managed to come back from their Chapter 11 bankruptcy and refine their approach to deep fried dough. They will still be here to celebrate with you this National Doughnut Day, and they’ll also be celebrating with Canada and France!

Krispy Kreme is proof that it’s possible to successfully reinvent yourself after a bankruptcy filing in Mankato, Minnesota. Even after filing bankruptcy, life can still be sweet! If you would like more information about your own bankruptcy filing, contact the professionals at Behm Law Group Ltd. today.

Avoiding Skeleton Petitions in the Mankato Minnesota Area

One dark, stormy night in the Mankato, Minnesota area, Kevin sat alone in his den. He was looking through bank statements, wondering how he’d be able to cover both his medical bills and his son’s college tuition for the rest of the year.

Lightning flashed in the distance. Kevin started, looking from the dark window towards the ticking cat-eye clock on the kitchen wall. The time had come. He was prepared to file his skeleton petition for bankruptcy.

At this point in the story, you should be screaming, “Stop, Kevin! Don’t do it!” Kevin is about to make a mistake. Filing a skeleton petition for bankruptcy is dangerous, and almost always inadvisable.

So, how can you become a hero in your own scary story? Here are three things to do in order to avoid skeleton petitions:

  1. Do your research: What, exactly, is a skeleton petition? These petitions, often referred to as “skeletons” or “ghosts,” are filed in bankruptcy court with minimal information, in order to avoid foreclosure. These documents are usually three or four pages long, whereas typical petitions are twenty to thirty pages long.
  2. Do find a professional attorney: Folks usually don’t file a skeleton petition if they’re working with a trained, professional bankruptcy attorney. If you are advised to file a skeleton petition, it’s a sign that your attorney is either inexperienced or unprofessional.
  3. Do go through the process: Often, people file skeleton petitions in order to avoid the entire bankruptcy process or to delay foreclosure. However, skeleton cases are typically dismissed. This means that you’ll need to file again, and ultimately, you’ll need to go through the traditional bankruptcy procedure within a court.

If you live in the Mankato, Minnesota area, don’t make Kevin’s mistakes. You can avoid skeleton petitions, and as a result, your scary story might not be so scary after all.

In fact, with the help of the professionals at Behm Law Group Ltd., it could be a story with a very happy ending. So take control of your plotline; contact Behm Law Group Ltd. today!

Honestly Filing for Bankruptcy in the Mankato, Minnesota Area

This time of year, costumes, masks, and spooky makeup line the shelves of Mankato, Minnesota area department stores, beckoning folks to come along and alter their appearances. Putting on a costume or disguise can be exciting, especially for partygoers and trick-or-treaters on this one night each year. But what about the other 364 days?

Telling the truth, rather than hiding behind a costume or mask, is vitally important to a bankruptcy filing. As an example, let’s take a look at Abby Lee Miller from the popular television show Dance Moms, who came under investigation this week for fraud.

Although you may have heard about this infamous bankruptcy case over the past few days, let’s take a deeper look at Miller’s case to examine the benefits of a truthful bankruptcy filing:

  • The Disguise: Miller filed for bankruptcy with over $300,000 in debt. At the time, she was also making money from the television show Dance Moms, but failed to disclose this income to the judge.
  • The Reveal: A few years later, the judge on this case happened to be channel surfing when he came across Miller’s television show. He took another look at her case and quickly realized that she had been making significant income during the time of her bankruptcy filing.
  • The Truth: Over the past few years, Miller concealed more than $700,000 in income, all made from her television show.
  • The Consequences: Miller may spend five years in prison and receive a fine of approximately $250,000 for each count of fraud she pleads guilty to.
  • The Lesson: Always, always, always be honest with your bankruptcy filing. Although it may seem tempting to disguise income and hide the truth, the consequences far outweigh the short-term benefits!

Folks in the Mankato, Minnesota area, it’s always best to save the disguises, masks, and costumes for Halloween. When it comes to your bankruptcy filing, opt for honesty instead. The professionals at Behm Law Group Ltd. can help, and that’s the truth. Contact them today.

Foreclosure and Bankruptcy in the Mankato Minnesota Area

It’s officially October! With Halloween just around the corner, scary haunted houses are popping up around the Mankato, Minnesota area. Usually, these houses have spider webs on the door or Jack-O-Lanterns on the front porch. They are presented in good fun, intended to spook ticket-buying folks in search of a scare.

For some people, however, a house doesn’t have to be haunted to be scary. A house in foreclosure can be equally as frightening as one frequented by a witch, simply because it’s full of so many uncertainties and unknowns. For example, what exactly is foreclosure? Is it better to file for bankruptcy before or after foreclosure? And, should you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?

If you’re facing foreclosure and considering bankruptcy, the professionals at Behm Law Group, Ltd. may be able to answer a few of your questions:

  1. What exactly is foreclosure?

Foreclosure occurs when a homeowner cannot make mortgage payments. As a result, the bank or lender has the ability to accelerate the mortgage debt and “foreclose” on the property, which means taking the property and evicting the current occupant.

  1. Is it better to file for bankruptcy before or after foreclosure?

If you have the option, it’s best to file before. Although not all of your debts will be relieved as a result of bankruptcy, your mortgage will be discharged to you personally.  Of course, the house itself will remain liable on the mortgage debt. Also, because bankruptcy filings and foreclosures can take months to process, you may be able to remain in your home for quite some time.

  1. Is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 a better option if foreclosing on a house?

Both options are available. However, it’s important to determine if you want to retain the home and if you can repay the mortgage delinquency through a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan.  For instance, many people miss one or two mortgage payments and then the management of the entire mortgage spins out of control because late fees, escrow additions and other charges are piled on top of the past due regular mortgage payments.  Chapter 13 can be a “reset” of sorts because one can cure or pay back the mortgage delinquency over 36 to 60 months instead of having to come up with the whole amount in a much shorter period of time.  In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, one is not able to do this.

Filing for bankruptcy before foreclosure in the Mankato, Minnesota area can be a daunting process. With the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd., however, it shouldn’t have you spooked. Whether you need assistance filing for bankruptcy or clearing cobwebs from your financial history, contact our professionals today.

Studying U.S. Presidential Bankruptcy in the Mankato Minnesota Area

In last week’s Behm Law Group, Ltd. blog, Donald Trump sparked a conversation in the Mankato, Minnesota area. We discussed which famous business owners recovered from bankruptcy before beginning successful careers. However, business folks are not the only ones who are susceptible to bankruptcy. Anyone, even the President of the United States, can be financially vulnerable.

There are actually a number of former presidents that have filed for personal bankruptcy. Whether before, after, or during their presidencies, these leaders of the free world all struggled financially at one point in their lives.

Here are a few names you may recognize from U.S. history class:

Thomas Jefferson

The third president truly believed in his own pursuit of happiness, especially when it came to alcohol. By today’s monetary standards, Jefferson spent over $100,000 on wine alone! Fortunately, few people know that he spent his life struggling financially because Jefferson’s roles as president and author of the Declaration of Independence overshadow his reputation for frivolous spending.

Abraham Lincoln

Though most folks know Abe Lincoln worked as a lawyer before taking office, few know about his tumultuous history as a shopkeeper. In 1840, far more than four score and seven years ago, Lincoln’s attempt to run a general store failed when his business partner unexpectedly passed away. Lincoln filed for bankruptcy, but went on to be a successful President of the United States.

Ulysses S. Grant

Between investing poorly before his presidency and overspending during it, Ulysses S. Grant financially floundered throughout his entire life. When he was diagnosed with deadly cancer, Grant elicited Mark Twain’s help in composing a series of memoirs. These memoirs provided for Grant’s family after his death, thus liberating them from his bankruptcy and debts.

Bankruptcy can impact anyone, including the Commander in Chief. Fortunately, in the Mankato, Minnesota area, the professionals at Behm Law Group, Ltd. are here to help, whether your house is painted red, blue, yellow, or white. For all your bankruptcy needs, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today.

Thirteen Facts about Chapter Thirteen in the Mankato, MN Area | Part 1

Class is still in session in the Mankato, Minnesota area! Please take your seats, sharpen your pencils, and prepare for your second week of Bankruptcy 101. Last week was all about Chapter 7 which means that, today, we’re going to focus on another type of bankruptcy: Chapter 13.

We at Behm Law Group, Ltd. have prepared another overview to help you decide which type of bankruptcy is best for you. So, without further ado, here’s part one of our Chapter 13 study guide:

  1. Q: What exactly is Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

A: Chapter 13 is a type of bankruptcy that allows debtors to gradually repay some (but not all in most cases) of their debts. This is why it’s often called a “wage earner’s plan.”

 

  1. Q: In order to file, do debtors need to have a consistent income?

A: Yes. This is because payments to a chapter 13 trustee are made in regular installments over a period of time.

 

  1. Q: How long does a debtor have to repay these debts?

A: A chapter 13 bankruptcy must last at least 3 years.  Sometimes, however, it can go for 5 years.  The maximum time a chapter 13 bankruptcy case last is 5 years.

 

  1. Q: Do debtors have to confront their creditors through out the process of filing?

A: No. Debtors don’t need to have any direct contact with their creditors.

 

  1. Will Chapter 13 bankruptcy erase all outstanding debts and payments?

A: Debtors are still responsible for paying certain expenses, such as mortgages, but are able to halt foreclosure and allow extra time for other payments such as payments on tax debts and mortgage delinquencies.

 

  1. Q: Who can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

A: Individuals are eligible for this type of filing, but generally corporations and partnerships do not file for chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.

 

  1. Q: Which documents are required for a Chapter 13 filing?

A: At a minimum, four documents are required: a creditor list, the debtor’s documented income, the debtor’s documented property, and the debtor’s documented living expenses.

If you live in the Mankato area and believe Chapter 13 is the right kind of bankruptcy filing for you, contact the professionals at Behm Law Group, Ltd. today. Class dismissed!

Taking Control of Time and Bankruptcy in the Mankato and Southeast Minnesota Area

For people living in the Mankato and southern Minnesota area, summertime gets to be a little hectic. Schedules are jam-packed with everything from county fairs to work events, Little League practices to Fourth of July celebrations. Busy schedules make it very easy to lose track of time.

When it comes to filing for bankruptcy, however, timing is important. There’s not a generally accepted “best time” of year for people to file for bankruptcy, so it can be difficult to decide which time is personally best for your finances. This summer, however, Behm Law Group, Ltd has developed a four-step process to make your decision a little easier:

1. First, ask yourself a few important questions:

Do bill collectors contact you regularly?

Do you feel afraid to address your finances or to consider bankruptcy?

Do you know how much money you owe?

Do you pay only the minimum on your credit cards?

2. If you answered “yes” to the above questions, it may be time to seriously address your financial situation regarding bankruptcy. This can be a scary realization, so it may be beneficial to recruit some help. After assessing your situation, contact a professional credit counselor or financial advisor. This professional can serve as a support system for both you and your finances!

3. Next, begin collecting all of your bills and expenses, adding together retirement funds, stocks, bonds, and any of your other liquid assets. Though this may be time consuming, it’s worthwhile. Having a calculated total of your assets will give you a much clearer understanding of your financial situation when considering bankruptcy.

4. Finally, compare your total assets to your total debt. If you find that your assets are still worth more than your debt, you may be a candidate for loan modification, refinancing, or creditor negotiation. If you realize that your assets are worth less than your overall debt, it’s likely the right time to file for bankruptcy.

Here in the Mankato and southern Minnesota area, summer goes by way too quickly. Rather than wasting time feeling worried about your finances or putting off tough decisions regarding bankruptcy, take control of your time. Contact Behm Law Group, Ltd today.