French Market agency lacked clear rules for credit card use, judge is told
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Good times are harder to come by these days around the French Market Corp. That was the word from an accountant for the city agency that oversees the famed, 220-year-old market that runs along North Peters Street in the French Quarter. It hasn’t been the same, said Taylor Lawless, since Kenneth Ferdinand resigned in 2010, under fire for allegedly charging up credit cards on the quasi-city agency, to the tune of more than $ 16,000 in personal swipes, said Lawless. Ferdinand, 57, sat in an Orleans Parish criminal courtroom on Friday, accused of felony theft in a rare case of the state prosecuting an official on a charge related to corruption.

Kenneth Ferdinand was executive director of the French Market Corp. for three years.

Criminal District Judge Arthur Hunter scheduled the rest of the trial for Sept. 28, but not before employees of the agency testified about whether Ferdinand broke formal agency rules by charging up the cards. None indicated that he did,…………… continues on

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Mitzi Perdue: Credit cards present many vulnerabilities
News from Delmarva Daily Times:

Do you have several credit cards?

Yes? I thought so!

Next question: Do you keep one of those credit cards in the front of your wallet or purse, available for frequent use, and the others tucked in back somewhere, where you don’t often look at them? In fact, you hardly know they’re there?

John Moses, Wor-Wic Community College’s director of criminal justice, wants you to know that it’s a vulnerability to have those credit cards kept in the back of your wallet. He’s seen it happen that someone steals a credit card but only takes one of the seldom-used cards, and the victim doesn’t even know it’s missing until weeks later when unauthorized charges show up on the credit card bill.

As useful as credit cards are, they come with a host of vulnerabilities. We’ll get to Moses’s suggestions on how to protect yourself in a moment, but first, here’s another one of the vulnerabilities.

Let’s say there’s a teenager who wants to get his or her hands on alcohol. On the Internet, he or she can send away, frequently to China, to get fake driver’s licenses that will be pretty much indistinguishable from a real Maryland license. Having a child with a fake ID is a serious problem in itself, but it’s compounded by the fact that the youngster has to pay for this fake license.

In most cases that Moses knows of, the youngster will use mom’s or dad’s cre…………… continues on Delmarva Daily Times

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Is Credit-Card Debt Collection the New Robo-Signing Scandal?
News from TIME:

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The big-bank robo-signing scandal lifted the proverbial rock on the unsavory things financial institutions were doing to force people out of their homes, whether they had the legal grounds to do so or not. Apparently, similar strategies are being widely used in possibly groundless credit-card debt collection proceedings.

A New York judge who oversees up to 100 credit-card cases a day told the New York Times that 90% of the time, the creditor doesn’t have the proof that the pursued debtor actually owes the money under dispute. He blasted what he refers to as “robo-testimony,” when witnesses representing the collector recite generic statements about a lender’s record-keeping practices and never get into the specifics of the case, let alone actual offer evidence to prove the claim.

Unfortunately, many times people being sued over a debt never come to court to defend themselves. Some are victims of so-called sewer service, which is when a debt collector only pretends to send the defendant the necessa…………… continues on TIME

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5 Tips to Fight Junk Debt Lawsuits
News from ABC News:

Creditors who buy consumers’ old debt for pennies on the dollar have increasingly won bogus lawsuits, but consumers can begin to fight back by taking a few easy steps.

One judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., this week called about 90 percent of credit card lawsuits, often the source of debt junk suits, “flawed.”

A common example of junk debt is credit card debt that a private company purchases from banks, or another original creditor. Original creditors or junk-debt buyers can sue the borrower for the money.

Peter Holland, a professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, wrote the paper “Defending Junk-Debt-Buyer Lawsuits,” which was published in the Journal of Poverty Law and Policy in June. In Maryland, one junk debt creditor filed more than 7,000 lawsuits in November and December 2011 alone, he wrote. Another Maryland creditor filed 130 lawsuits on one day in March 2011.

He said many defendants in these lawsuits don’t have the resources for an attorney, but he said they can still use the following five tips if they are on the receiving…………… continues on ABC News

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