In May of 2000 my 19 year old daughter had saved up $1200 and wanted to use it as a down payment to purchase a car. She was employed at the time, capable of making payments, and chose a 1999 Chevy Cavalier. However, due to her age, the finance manager would not finance the car in her name. Not even with me as the co-signor. The only finance arrangements they would make was if I put the note in my name alone, which I did, and the car was financed through American Investment Bank, N.A.
Four months later my daughter was involved in an accident (not a vehicle accident), was terminated from her job and was not able to work for several months. I made every effort to keep up her car payments and insurance as well as my own pre-existing car payment, insurance, house payment, payments on a guaranteed student loan, and support my three younger children, working two, sometimes three jobs to make ends meet. The physical and mental stress became too much. I put my house up for sale, hoping to make enough to pay the car off and save my credit. The buyer breached the contract of sale on my house, I called off the sale due to his breach, and had 2 other buyers in line. The man who breached the contract filed a law suit against me which kept the house tied up in court for approximately 18 months. I finally told American Investment Bank to come and get the car.
The original amount financed in May of 2000 was $11,200. $1200 downpayment, so the original price was $12,400. I made payments of $299.40 a month until the car was repossessed on February 13, 2001. I received a notice from American Investment Bank that the balance on my account was $11,056, that the vehicle had been sold for $5300, and that after adding repo expenses, reconditioning expenses, etc. that I still owed them a balance of $6425.41 plus interest.
American Investment Bank hired an attorney and a motion for summary judgment was filed on 7-27-2001. I appeared in court on the original hearing date in November of 2001 just to find out that the attorney had called and requested the hearing be rescheduled due to inclement weather. When the second hearing date rolled around in January of 2002, I was very ill and contacted the court clerk to let her know that I could not be there and to have the court date passed to another date. It was my understanding that I would receive a notice of the new hearing date. What I received several days later was the judges ruling, American Investment Bank had won by default and I was ordered to pay $6,954.50 with interest at 19.9% from April 25, 2000. Interesting, since the car wasn't even purchased until May of 2000 and was repossessed on February 13, 2001.
On November 1, 2002 I contacted American Investment Bank and tried to work out a lump sum payment arrangement with them, to which they would not agree to. What they finally did agree to was that if I would make a lump sum payment of $2500 that they would waive all of the accrued interest and that I would be allowed to pay off the remaining balance of $4500 at $100 a month "interest free" IF I made the lump sum payment on or before November 4, 2002. I asked him if he could put that in writing. He said that he could and I asked him to fax it to me, which he did. I made the $2500 lump sum payment on November 4th (I still have the receipts) as agreed and I filed a copy of the written agreement at the courthouse with the money judgment court case.
A few days later it was brought to my attention that the attorney for American Investment Bank had moved forward and filed further action against me in court, having filed a request for the judgment debtor (me) to answer as to assets and forbidding a transfer of any assets. That is when I became disillusioned, didn't know who to believe any longer, and I just stopped talking to the attorney or American Investment Bank either one . . . and, I did not make any further payments as it appeared that American Investment Bank was not going to honor the written agreement that they had made with me.
Gee, have I learned a LOT in the past SIX years! In November of 2003, the attorney for American Investment Bank attempted to garnish my checking account. I filed a claim for exemption and the funds were returned to my account due to the fact that I was drawing unemployment at the time.
Beginning in July of 2006, the attorney for American Investment Bank began to step up the "one time" garnishments of my checking account. Oh yes, they can garnish your checking account as many times as they want and make your life a living hell.
The latest garnishment was September 16, 2008. What I discovered during this garnishment has been a real eye opener.
American Investment Bank, N.A. liquidated their assets and voluntarily closed on July 29, 2005. You can review information about American Investment Bank by visiting several websites . . . Office of the Comptroller of Currency, Federal Deposit Insured Corporation, and the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council.
I began to do research of court cases in my state to see if American Investment Bank had filed any further motions for summary judgment against other people since July 29, 2005. For my state, I only found two cases. The first case was filed 4/21/2006 and the plaintiff is listed as Crescent Bank & Trust, assignee of American Investment Bank. In the second case, filed 1/15/2008 the plaintiff is listed as Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC as assignee of American Investment Bank. Information I read from websites mentioned in the previous paragraph state that American Investment Bank, after liquidating their assets, merged with American Investment Holdings.
Contemplating bankruptcy, I requested copies of my credit report from Experian and Equifax. What I found there was very interesting indeed. It appears that Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC, a company that I had never even heard of until I started doing research on American Investment Bank, a company that has never contacted me, has been running routine credit checks on me for the past 2 1/2 years, ever since American Investment Bank liquidated and voluntarily closed their doors, for a total of 5 credit checks. The most recent credit check by Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC was done on September 23, 2008. Is it coincidence that they run a credit check on me on or around the same date as when the attorney for American Investment Bank files another "one time" garnishment on my checking account?
I was at the hearing October 1, 2008 on the claim for exemption that I filed and the attorney who represents American Investment Bank, N.A. was not present. The judge ordered that the $496.00 taken from my checking account be returned to me. I go through this every time that my checking account is garnished. All of my funds are "held" pending the outcome of each claim for exemption that I file, while I am left penniless for weeks trying to hurry the court system through the hoops, and usually have to end up borrowing money just to live on. The attorney for American Investment Bank never shows up.
I am still researching and really don't quite know what to think about all of this. The statute of limitations on a money judgment in my state is 5 years. Any time a garnishment is filed, the clock starts running again. They could keep this up indefinitely. And, after much research, I don't understand how an attorney can continue to claim he represents a client that liquidated their assets and voluntarily closed. But, what concerns me even more is that I know Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC has gone after other people who had business dealings with American Investment Bank and I have evidence that they have been running credit checks on me for quite some time now, but have never contacted me directly. And, I also understand that past due debts have to be charged off after a certain length of time (180 days?) So, just WHO actually "owns" my bad debt now and WHO has actually owned it all these years? And, am I to be expected to pay the same debt TWICE to separate entities?
Isn't our legal system wonderful? Oh, and by the way, the man who breached the contract of sale on my house . . . I was ordered by the court to sell my house to him at $30,000 below fair market value in Oct. 2002. It didn't matter that he breached the contract, he's the one who could afford an attorney. I barely got enough out of my house to pay off the note and the $2500 that I had left over, I paid to American Investment Bank. I lost everything trying to save that car and keep it from being repossessed and they won't stop until they bleed me to death.