Post-Katrina SBA loan debt....and the wife takes the fall???
by apleaforhelp, Window Shopper
- Created: September 1, 2011, 6:47 pm
My father received an SBA loan in 2007 to help rebuild his business after Hurricane Katrina. It was located in MS, but the majority of his customers were on the LA coast so needless to say there wasn't much hope of getting off of the ground again. When it came time to sign the paperwork for the loan, he told my mother that the SBA loan docs needed 2 signatures and that if she didn't sign it our family would lose everything and our only income. She had a part time job, no college degree, and obviously couldn't support our family (of 4). She, of course, wanted to protect our family. With the threat of having almost no family income, she had no choice but to sign. He told her that had to sign as "Secretary" of the company. She was NEVER a paid employee or owner of the company and never worked a second for that company (which could clearly be proved by requesting IRS transcripts of business, individual, and payroll tax returns....I will explain later why that is important). Assuming she could trust her husband, and given that he had always handled all of the business and our personal finances claiming that it was always "taken care of", she hesitantly signed.Little did she know that he put up our home and 4 company vehicles (2 of which were ours) up for collateral. Needless to say, the business never got back off of the ground and he never repaid a cent of the loan. He was able to somehow dodge consquences and our home was foreclosed upon and vehicles repossessed last month...nearly 3 years later. During the later part of those years, they began receiving legal and tax documents - and of course correspondence from the SBA - that "they" were obligated to repay the loan. This went on for a long time before she ever became aware of these issues. It also turns out that there were unpaid payroll taxes from many years ago.What it comes down to is that somewhere along the line of all of this paperwork and the SBA loan docs, her signature on that loan apparently made her an "officer" of the company, making both of them liable for the $500,000+ loan that HIS COMPANY, not hers, received. As you can imagine, they divorced earlier this year. His alcoholism took a turn for the worst and he found himself nearly homeless for a while (which he completely deserved given what he knowingly did to his family and lied about it, but that is beside the point of this post.....)Bottom line - my innocent mother has taken the fall. This issue was handed over to the IRS and her refunds have never made it to her because they go towards the unpaid payroll taxes and the SBA loan. ANd she lives in fear everyday that everything - what little she has left - will be taken to satisfy the debt. She can't buy a house, a car, invest funds....nothing. She can't have any assets, because they will be taken. And he doesn't have any assets because he is a worthless piece of you know what. But she had to have a car after hers was taken - so the car is in my name. She had to have somewhere to live - so she is living in a house on a family friend's land. She has to have a savings account - so I have one that she contributes to. Her mother (who she hadn't seen or spoken to in nearly 20 years) passed away earlier this year. Unexpectedly, she left alot of money and land to me, my brother, and my mother's siblings and their children. Distriution of the assets of the estate are being held up because the moment that they are handed over to her, they will be taken away from her to satisfy the large debt. This woman who lived with an emotionally abusive alcoholic and was nearly homeless because of his lies and financial irresponsibility could be getting a second chance at life right now with this blessing of money - but she can't because of HIM and HIS debt from HIS business.She contacted the IRS about possible Innocent Spouse Relief but was told that there was nothing they could do - the debt is from the SBA so the SBA is who she needs to talk to.My hope is that there is some sort of appeal process that could relieve her of this debt. Under Innocent Spouse Relief, things such as abuse, force to sign under duress, and absent knowledge of former and future debt are all taken into consideration when evaluating a taxpayer to be awarded Innocent Spouse Relief.She lives in fear everyday that at any moment, the little but that she does have will be taken away from her. Again, because of HIS debt from HIS business. Her biggest fear: That my brother and I will somehow inherit this debt or that the SBA or IRS could come after us and our money and assets. Like any devoted mother, she would rather get run over by a bus than this problem be transferred to her children.Is there a way around this? Can you revise the paperwork? Could he just sign some formal document admitting that he tricked her into this, that she was never a paid employee (as I mentioned in the beginning of this post it can be proven), and therefore has nothing to do with the business' debt? This wasn't a personal loan - it was a loan from the SBA for HIS business. And she is taking the fall.Please help her. I can't stand to see her life in fear everyday. It is swallowing her, and I can't bear it. She is terrified to take action out of fear that it could get worse. But I am not afraid. If doing this sends him to jail, then so be it.Please help us. Please.
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