Practice Areas

Securities Fraud:
Taken Advantage of By Your Stockbroker?

If you are the victim of securities fraud, caused by churning or other types of stockbroker misconduct, the Law Office of Hilton Wiener will attempt to recover your losses through arbitration.

Financial professionals are required to make investment recommendations that are appropriate for the client’s individual financial situation and goals. Brokers have an obligation and duty to know their customer and his or her goals and investment strategy. All too often unscrupulous brokers paper the account file with self-serving forms to falsely indicate that the customer desires speculation or a high degree of risk when such is clearly not suitable.

It is forbidden for brokers to buy and sell securities for the primary purpose of generating commissions. All too often, the customer does not realize the frequency of trading. Moreover, such brokers often use hidden “markups” or “markdowns” to conceal the actual commission being charged.

Failure to Supervise:
Financial firms are responsible for overseeing the actions of their representatives. If a firm fails to properly supervise its employees, it can be held liable along with the individual broker or advisor.

Unauthorized Trading:
The act of buying or selling investments without permission. In most accounts, the customer must clearly approve every buy and sell order immediately prior to the broker executing the transaction.

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“Take back control of your life. Stop the bleeding!”
Hilton M. Wiener

Upside Down On a Real Estate Investment?
Stop the Bleeding!

Real Estate Exit Strategies: Strategic Default

A strategic default is a decisive business decision to discontinue paying on a loan when it no longer makes financial sense, i.e. when a property declines significantly in value. Borrowers who owe more on a property than the property is currently worth are said to be upside down or underwater in that property. Our firm can provide you with professional oversight through strategic default, where you make a business decision to discontinue payments on an upside down mortgage. Our typical client is an individual who possesses significant assets and who owes more on a property than the property is currently worth. He can’t file bankruptcy or simply “walk away” as the lender may seek a deficiency judgment. Our typical client simply wants to “stop the bleeding” and go on with his life.

Is Strategic Default Right For Me?
Many people ask if strategic default is the right choice, as it is common to feel guilty abandoning a property. If you make a bad investment, cut your losses as soon as possible and sell. You can easily rent until the market recovers, and then buy another home–or theoretically the same one–for its true market value.

1099-C Tax Opinion

If you have received a Form 1099 from your lender, even if you have already filed a return, please contact us (your return may be amended). We are happy to review the facts of your case and the likelihood of our being able to assist you in issuing a favorable tax opinion. Certain transactions may be viewed as the settlement of a bona fide dispute or a bargained-for exchange and this should not properly be considered forgiveness of debt. Of course, it is in the lender’s interest to issue the 1099 to enable it to claim a tax deduction.

Form 1099-A from the lender informs both you and the IRS that the lender has accepted real property in partial satisfaction of a secured debt. It does not create the tax liability. It is not documentary evidence of cancellation of debt.

Form 1099-C causes the real problem. This form from the lender informs both you and the IRS that the bank has cancelled the debt, meaning that the lender has written off the debt and possibly has taken a tax deduction. The foreclosure doesn’t cancel the debt; it merely satisfies part of the total debt which is equal to the value of the property.

Because these problems involve the interplay between basic contract law, mortgage and anti-deficiency laws (all of which are state law issues), as well as federal tax law, these can be gnarly problems to sort out. Unfortunately, not many attorneys understand them, and not a whole lot of tax pros either. We are experts in tax law pertaining to such contract and tax law and are poised to address these tax implications before they become issues.

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244 5th Avenue, Suite A-176, New York, N.Y. 10001