I confront Alan Farber over potential violations of Code of Ethics for Trustees in Bankrupty

 

On Friday, November 6, 2015, I had a 27-minute telephone conversation with Alan Farber, Founder and Joint Managing Partner, of Farber Financial Group.  Near the beginning of this phone call Alan graciously consented to having the phone call recorded.  One of the firms which forms part of this organization is A. Farber & Partners, Bankruptcy Trustees, one of the largest firms of bankruptcy trustees operating in Ontario.

 

 

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Listen to my telephone conversation with Alan Farber

During this phone call I provided Alan with facts which I believe raise legitimate questions about potential violations of section 38 of the Code of Ethics For Bankruptcy Trustees by his firm arising from relationships with specific debt consultants. During this phone call I advised Mr. Farber that it was my intention to file a formal complaint with the Superintendent of Bankruptcy asking him to determine whether or not Farber & Partner’s current relationship with Debt Relief Canada Inc. constitutes a violation of section 38 of the Code of Ethics of Ethics for Trustees in Bankruptcy.

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On November 6, 2015, I had a telephone call with Alan Farber, the Founder and Joint Managing Partner of Financial Group at which time I confronted him regarding the relationship between Farber & Partners Inc., Bankruptcy Trustees, and a debt consulting firm, Debt Relief Canada Inc.

 

Farber and Partners has threatened to sue me for libel and slander

Earlier today, November 9, 2015, one business day following my telephone call with Alan Farber, I received a letter from a lawyer working for Farber and Partners Inc., Melanie Wengle, in which she threatened to sue me for libel and slander.

I want to assure you–my readers–that our firm, Comprehensive Debt Solutions Inc.–is dedicated to the pursuit of the truth–and we refuse to be intimidated by threats of lawsuits from large organizations with deep pockets which think they can silence me.

 

Section 38 of the Code of Ethics For Trustees in Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy trustees in Canada are licensed by the federal government.  They are supervised by the Superintendent of Bankruptcy in Ottawa.  All bankruptcy trustees are required to comply with the Code of Ethics For Trustees in Banktruptcy.

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Section 38 of the Code of Ethics reads as follows:

Trustees shall not assist, advise or encourage any person to engage in any conduct that the trustees know, or ought to know, is illegal or dishonest, in respect of the bankruptcy and insolvency process.

 

 

Farber’s relationship with Debt Relief Canada

 

Over the past several months our research has uncovered a close working relationship between Farber & Partners, Bankruptcy Trustees, and a debt consulting firm by the name of Debt Relief Canada Inc. I believe that the Superintendent of Bankruptcy should make inquiries to determine whether or not the relationship between Farber & Partners, Bankruptcy Trustees, and Debt Relief Canada Inc. constitutes a violation of section 38 of the Code of Ethics for Trustees in Bankruptcy.

 

What do we know about Debt Relief Canada Inc.?

Our research indicates that there are three people working for Debt Relief Canada Inc.  These individuals include Laura Vivian, who would appear to the owner of the company.  Her title is listed as Senior Insolvency Counsellor.  To the best of my knowledge Laura works in Barrie out of an office located in a corporate business centre.  She might also work about one day per month in the firm’s Markham and Mississauga offices.

LauraVivianLinkedInProfile

According to Laura Vivian’s LinkedIn Profile she is the owner of Debt Relief Canada Inc.  Her title on the firm’s website is listed as Senior Insolvency Counsellor.  She is based out of the firm’s Barrie office and may spend about one day per month at the firm’s Markham and Mississauga offices.

 

Rebecca Schaafsma works out of Debt Relief Canada’s office in Kitchener, Ontario.  She would also appear to work–from time-to-time–in several other offices in southwestern Ontario including London and Burlington.

A man who identifies himself as Rick answers the phones and would appear to be in charge of screening potential clients and scheduling appointments with the firm’s counsellors.

 

A corporate search reveals that Debt Relief Canada Inc. was incorporated on November 15, 2010, in the Province of Ontario.

 

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This corporate search for Debt Relief Canada Inc., lists the firm’s mailing address as Rebecca Snider, 524 Hidden Creek Drive, Kitchener, Ontario.

 

Rebecca Snider-Schaafsma,–whose LinkedIn Profile appears below–would appear to be the same individual as Rebecca Snider whose name appears on the corporate search for Debt Relief Canada Inc. reproduced above.

Rebecca Schaafsma LinkedIn Profile

This is the LinkedIn Profile for Rebecca Snider-Schaafsma, whose job title is listed as a “Consultant at DRC Inc.”  It would appear that DRC is short for Debt Relief Canada.

 

 

The following bio for Rebecca Schaafsma can be found on the website for Debt Relief Canada Inc., reliefcanada.ca, on the ABOUT US webpage.

RebeccaSchaafsmabioABOUTUSwebpage

 

 

How does Debt Relief Canada Inc. hold itself out to the public?

 

In the next few days I will be filing a formal complaint with the Superintendent of Bankruptcy asking him to determine if the relationship between Farber & Partners, Bankruptcy Trustees, and Debt Relief Canada Inc. constitutes a violation of section 38 of the Code of Ethics For Trustees in Bankruptcy.

In order to determine if there has been a violation of section 38 of the Code of Ethics For Trustees in Bankruptcy then the answer to the following two questions would have to be in the affirmative.

  1. Does the conduct of of Rebecca Schaafsma and/or Debt Relief Canada Inc. constitute “dishonesty in respect of the bankruptcy and insolvency process”?
  2. Assuming that Debt Relief Canada’s conduct does constitute “dishonesty in respect of the bankruptcy and insolvency process”, then has any trustee at Farber & Partners “assisted, advised or encouraged” Rebecca Schaafsma and/or Debt Relief Canada Inc. with respect to “dishonesty in respect of the bankruptcy and insolvency process”?

In this post I will provide you with some details regarding the marketing practices of Debt Relief Canada Inc.  I will be asking both the public and the Superintendent of Bankruptcy whether or not Debt Relief Canada Inc.’s marketing practices are “dishonest in respect of the bankruptcy and insolvency process”?

 

What conduct by Rebecca Schaafsma and/or Debt Relief Canada Inc. might be considered “dishonest in respect of the bankruptcy and insolvency process”?

 

I have identified three specific areas where a reasonable person might come to the conclusion that Debt Relief Canada Inc.’s conduct constitutes “dishonesty in respect of the bankruptcy and insolvency process”.

  1. Misleading nature of the statement appearing on the firm’s homepage:  “We are NOT Bankruptcy Trustees” given the fact that the firm essentially refers individuals to bankruptcy trustees for either consumer proposals or personal bankruptcies–sometimes to bankruptcy trustees working in the same office
  2. Lack of transparency concerning the firm’s relationship with Farber & Partners
  3. Misrepresentations with respect to some of the firm’s office locations

Below you will find a screenshot of the homepage for Debt Relief Canada Inc.’s website, reliefcanada.ca.

 

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I would like to draw your attention to the very bottom of homepage for the website for Debt Relief Canada Inc., reliefcanada.ca, which is reproduced below:

 

BottomDRCIhomepageWeareNOTBankruptcyTrustees

At the very bottom of the homepage for Debt Relief Canada Inc.’s website there appears the statement “We are NOT bankruptcy trustees”. 

 

If Rebecca Schaafsma and Debt Relief Canada Inc. typically recommend that individuals struggling with consumer debt (1) do a consumer proposal or file for personal bankruptcy and (2) they often refer individuals to a particular firm of trustees in a geographic area–and in some instances to bankruptcy trustees working in the same office–is the statement “We are NOT bankruptcy trustees” misleading, or even “dishonest”?

 

 

Debt Relief Canada Inc. shares an office with Farber in Kitchener

Our research indicates that Debt Relief Canada Inc. has a relationship with Farber & Partners, Bankruptcy Trustees, in at least three of Farber’s Ontario offices;  Kitchener, London, and Burlington.

You don’t have to hire a private investigator to discover that A. Farber & Partners Inc., Bankruptcy Trustees, has a relationship with Debt Relief Canada Inc. at Farber’s Kitchener office located at 30 Duke Street West, Suite 507, Kitchener, Ontario.

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This is a photograph of the door to Suite 507, 30 Duke Street West, Kitchener, Ontario.  The names of two firms appear on the door to this suite:  A. Farber & Partners Inc. and Debt Relief Canada Inc.  The former is a firm of bankruptcy trustees and the latter is a debt consulting firm. 

 

Alan Farber told me that his firm did not share space with debt consultants

 

During my November 6, 2015, telephone conversation with Alan Farber I raised concerns about Farber & Partners Inc. sharing office space with Debt Relief Canada Inc. in Kitchener, Ontario.

 

   “We never share these offices with debt consultants”.

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Who works at 30 Duke Street West, Suite 507, Kitchener?

 

Whoworksat30DukeStWKitchenerON

 

Several individuals work out of this office including Rebecca Schaafsma, Insolvency Counsellor with Debt Relief Canada Inc., Chad Zizzo, Debt Solutions Manager with Farber & Partners, Bankruptcy Trustees, and Graeme Whitehead, a bankruptcy trustee, and a partner, with Farber & Partners, Bankruptcy Trustees.

According to the website for Farber & Partners Inc., afarber.com, Farber Partners Inc., Bankruptcy Trustees, moved into its offices located at 30 Duke Street West, Suite 507, Kitchener, Ontario, sometime after January 6, 2015, when it closed its office located at 305 King Street West.

 

FarberwebsiteKitchenerofficeinfo

For a significant period of time in 2015 it would appear that Debt Relief Canada Inc., a debt consulting firm whose website states “We are NOT Bankruptcy Trustees”, has been sharing a suite at 30 Duke Street West, Suite 507, in Kitchener, Ontario with Farber & Partners Inc., Bankruptcy Trustees. 

 

Earlier today I received a letter dated November 9, 2015, from Melanie Wengle, a lawyer at Farber and Partners Inc.  In this letter Ms. Wengle concedes that Debt Relief Canada Inc. does refer some of their clients to Farber and Partners Inc., Bankruptcy Trustees, for a consumer proposal or personal bankruptcy.  Here is an excerpt from Ms. Wengle’s letter to me.

 

Nov92015excerptWengleletter

In her letter Ms. Wengle states that Farber & Partners, Bankruptcy Trustees, has never paid any compensation, directly or indirectly, to Debt Relief Canada Inc.  I found that statement odd because during my phone call on Friday, November 6, 2015, with Alan Farber I do not recall suggesting at any time that Farber & Partners was, in fact, paying any  form of compensation, whatsoever, to Debt Relief Canada Inc.

 

 

Debt Relief Canada Inc.’s office located in London

The website for Debt Relief Canada Inc. contains a webpage where the firm lists the contact information for its six Ontario locations, including an office in London and an office in Burlington, Ontario.

 

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On the firm’s website, Debt Relief Canada Inc. provides some information regarding its six Ontario offices, including photographs for all the buildings where the firm’s office is located–except for its office located at 406 Oxford Street East in London, Ontario.

 

406OxfordStEphotomontage

In November of this year I attended at 406 Oxford Street East, London, Ontario.  On that date I was accompanied by Rosie, “The Riveter”, our tracking dog.  The only occupant of this building would appear to be Farber and Partners Inc., Bankruptcy Trustees.  There was no signage outside the building whatsover for Debt Relief Canada Inc.–despite the fact that 406 Oxford Street East, London, Ontario, is listed on the firm’s website as the location for its London office.

 

 

Based upon a telephone call made last week to Farber’s London office located at 406 Oxford Street East, London, Ontario, it would appear that Rebecca Schaafsma, Insolvency Counsellor, Debt Relief Canada Inc., works out of Farber’s office located at 406 Oxford Street East in London, Ontario.

 

Debt Relief Canada Inc. would appear to be misrepresenting its Burlington office location

Debt Relief Canada Inc.’s website indicates that it has an office in Burlington, Ontario, and the office address is listed as 460 Brant Street, with no suite number provided.  I found it odd that Debt Relief Canada Inc. would go to the trouble of having on its website a photograph of the building where its Burlington office is located without including a reference to the firm’s suite number in the building.

460 Brant St Burlington ON

This is a recent photo of the tenant directory found in the lobby at 460 Brant Street, Burlington, Ontario.  Nowhere on this directory is there a listing for an office for Debt Relief Canada Inc.–despite the fact that the firm’s website claims that the firm has an office in this building.

 

 

After visiting 460 Brant Street in Burlington, Ontario, in person and looking at the building directory in the lobby I soon discovered why Debt Relief Canada Inc. might not want to list a suite number for its Burlington office.  It would appear that Debt Relief Canada Inc. does not have an office at 460 Brant Street in Burlington despite the information contained on its website.  Is this some kind of error or an attempt to mislead the public?

A few days ago I learned that someone phoned the main number for the Burlington office for Farber & Partners Inc., Bankruptcy Trustees, informing them that they had an appointment later this month with Rebecca Schaafsma and that they wanted directions to get to the office. The receptionist matter-of-factly provided the caller with driving instructions to their office, as well as the address to Farber’s Burlington office which she confirmed was located at 3390 South Service Road, Suite 204.

 

Is Debt Relief Canada Inc. being dishonest about the address for its Markham office?

According to Debt Relief Canada’s website the firm has a Markham office located at 3100 Steeles Avenue East.

 

Tenant Directory 3100 Steeles Avenue East

This is a recent photograph of the tenant directory found in the lobby at 3100 Steeles Avenue East in Markham, Ontario.  There is no listing for an office for Debt Relief Canada Inc. despite the fact that the firm’s website claims to have an office in this building.

 

Is Debt Relief Canada Inc. being dishonest about the address for its Mississauga office?

Debt Relief Canada Inc.’s website claims that the firm has an office located at 50 Burnhamthorpe Road West, Mississauga, Ontario.  I recently attended at the is address and there was no listing whatsoever in the building lobby for Debt Relief Canada Inc. in this building.

 

 

Is Rebecca Schaafsma acting as an exclusive marketing representative for Farber & Partners?

In September of this year my firm arranged to send two undercover operatives–armed with a hidden camera–to meet with Rebecca Schaafsma of Debt Relief Canada Inc. posing as consumers struggling with unsecured consumer debt. Both of these meetings took place at 30 Duke Street West, Suite 507, Kitchener, Ontario.

During both of these initial meetings Rebecca Schaafsma recommended that the undercover operatives do a consumer proposal.  She also indicated that if our undercover operatives chose to proceed with a consumer proposal then she would arrange for them to do a consumer proposal with a bankruptcty trustee from Farber & Partners, Bankruptcy Trustees.

 

Contact our office if you have any information which you believe involves an inappropriate relationship between a bankruptcy trustee and a debt consultant

I would invite you to call me at (519) 827-5513 or (866) 996-9941 if you have any information that you believe involves an inappropriate relationship between a debt consultant and a bankruptcy trustee.

 

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You are welcome to contact me if you have any information about a questionable relationship between a debt consultant and one or more bankruptcy trustees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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