Terra Tech Corp (OTCMKTS:TRTC) is back at $0.25 where it started before the run up with the rest of the pot sector took the stock over $0.50. Everyone remembers the run TRTC made the last time the sector heated up running from around $0.30 to a high of $1.42.

TRTC began its days as a stock promotion and was covered by every newsletter in the book in the early days. At some point however the stock got caught up in the pot boom and took on a life of its own making a spectacular run to $1.42.

There are plenty of reasons to gets excited about pot stocks here; according to a recent report from MMJ Business Daily, 2015 is expected not only to see more investment dollars flow into the market but it could even outpace the growth rate seen in 2014. States like Nevada, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Alaska have all been identified as industry drivers this year. Furthermore, the rise in “big money” from some major investment funds has just started to hit the sector.

Terra Tech Corp (OTCMKTS:TRTC) manufactures state-of-the-art growhouse equipment that is now sold word-wide through its subsidiary GrowOpTechnology Ltd. Through its own growing facilities and its alliance with hydroponic farmers the Company sells its Edible Garden produce to supermarkets such as Demoulas and Shoprite supermarket in states such as New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.

The Company was initially incorporated as Private Secretary, Inc. on July 22, 2008 in the State of Nevada. The Company planned to develop a software program that would allow for automatic call processing through VoIP technology. On January 27, 2012, the Company filed an amendment to its Articles of Incorporation changing its name to Terra Tech Corp and a new pot stock was born.

The Company is run by Derek Peterson a former Vice President at Morgan Stanley. He left Wall Street because he saw a huge opportunity in medical marijuana. His vision is setting up growing facilities in various states to grow herbs such as basil and thyme with plans to switch to Marijuana production as state laws permit.

According to online sources Derek Peterson and his wife Amy Almsteier were charged with accepting illegally issued securities and selling these shares. This followed Petersons filing for personal bankruptcy.

As Derek Peterson recently remarked “I am happy to slow down growing thyme and oregano,” if the policy world tilts towards marijuana legalization.”

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Terra Tech believes that the future of Cannabis farming is going to be done inside of commercial-scale, Dutch hydroponic-style greenhouses, using energy from the sun in combination with other technologies. The Company has been busy strategically expanding the Dutch System in key states where legalization is likely. Once it has TRTC will be in a position to cash in.

Back in March TRTC announced they are developing a research and industrial extraction facility focused on the medical cannabis market. The facility was built in response to what the company views as an increase in demand for high grade CBD as well as other cannabis extracts. On September 9, 2014 the company’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to allow the company to engage in the production, extraction and retail sale of medical cannabis if done so in full accordance with the state and local medical marijuana laws(ordinances) in which they operate. This allows the company’s executive team to transparently operate in the medical cannabis market.

The Company recently announced that they have completed testing and formulating compounds at their cannabinoid extraction facility in Northern California and are now moving into production. The company will be producing a variety of oils, waxes and other mediums of concentrated cannabinoids

Much of TRTC success in terms of volume and price movement has been their ability to get their story into the national media spotlight with such news outlets as the Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Fox Business News, The Huffington Post, the Daily Telegraph and CTV new all featuring the TRTC story.

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Currently trading at a $47 million market valuation TRTC does have $3.5 million in the treasury and is already doing millions in revenues and if the Company is able to fill their significant facilities with growing Cannabis as planned sales could really jump. That however is a long way off and for now TRTC continues to lose money and cover that loss with paper which is not a good combination at all. TRTC is lucky to be at the forefront of one of the fastest growing sectors to come around in a long time, what they do with this opportunity remains to be seen.

A mediation session in September 2014 between the town and Wilton Recycling LLC owner Adam Mack failed filed to result in an agreement and there is no plan to resume talks, she said.

The town learned Mack was filing for personal bankruptcy but not for his companies, she said.

The board had avoided foreclosure on the property so the town would not be left with the expense of demolishing the four-story brick building, which Mack bought in 2006.

The town filed a lawsuit in Franklin County Superior Court to have the old mill declared a dangerous building.

In another update, Irish said she has received more than five inquiries about the Wilton Tannery property since the board extended the deadline to May 1.

A Request for Proposals is being sent to those who expressed interest. She is also suggesting they contact Nick Sabatine of Ransom Consulting Inc. of Portland and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for more information about the property.

I want them to go into this with their eyes wide open, she said.

The town accepted the 15-acre property in 2010 for $74,600 in unpaid taxes.

Wilton received a $200,000 federal Environmental Protection Agency grant in 2012 and a total of $187,000 from the Maine DEP and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to clean up the site for future economic development.

The cleanup was completed in August.

abryant@sunjournal.com

Aldermanic races around the city are heating up, with candidates getting kicked off the ballot, charges of intimidation, and packed fields of contenders. With less than six weeks until the municipal election, we check in on some of the races with DNAInfo Chicago reporters Casey Cora, Stephanie Lulay, and Heather Cherone. 

11th Ward: Patrick Daley Thompson, nephew of former mayor Richard M. Daley and grandson of Richard J. Daley, is running to represent the ward that includes the family’s Bridgeport roots. He’s facing off against community activist Maureen Sullivan, who’s been hit by a sticker campaign over a personal bankruptcy filing, and law student John Kozlar.

The documents and health records are part of a civil suit that Mr. Phillips launched against several media outlets that reported he had suddenly vanished and left his patients in the lurch. The suits were ultimately dismissed.

After filing for personal bankruptcy in July 2008, he moved to Halifax and married Gosia Phillips. Proclamations published by the province of Nova Scotia show that Gosia Eve Phillips legally changed her name in February 2010 from Malgorzata Ewa Klonowska.

Mr. Phillips’ LinkedIn profile paints a picture of a veritable renaissance man — an attending eye surgeon at Boston University,  Sawyer Business School graduate at Suffolk University, a medical and business law degree from the same institution’s law school.

‘Person reported to have mental health issues/PTSD and has issues with law-enforcement personnel’

Suffolk University confirmed that Mr. Phillips earned a law degree in May 2007 followed by an MBA in May 2010.

The profile also lists him as the manager of Neurology and Sleep Medicine Associates, Inc., a business registered in Nova Scotia since 2009.

According to the province’s business registry, that business operates out of a home at 43 Parkedge Crescent in Dartmouth. RCMP searched the home  Tuesday but found nothing of note.

If you are saddled with crushing debt that you have little hope of paying back, personal bankruptcy may be an option worth considering.

There are three main types of bankruptcy, usually referred to by their chapter in the bankruptcy code. Two are best for individuals Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 (Chapter 11 bankruptcy is mainly for businesses). Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves restructuring your debts so you can pay them back over a three-to-five year period.

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you agree to sell almost all your assets and use the proceeds to eliminate your debts.

Each state is different in what property you are allowed to keep in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process. You typically aren’t required to liquidate your home, car, clothing, and personal items, such as photos, books or even furniture.

Some debts are excluded. You won’t be able to erase debt for taxes, child support, student loans and liens.

Not everyone is eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A “means test” considers your location, your income and your debts to see if this type of bankruptcy makes sense for your situation. If your income is too high, you might not qualify. This means test varies by each state, and calculators for the test can be found online or through an attorney’s office.

Once you know if you qualify, you file a petition with a bankruptcy court. This petition includes financial statements for all your debts, assets and possessions.

Once the paperwork is filed, creditors can no longer continue with their collection efforts. A trustee will be appointed and your creditors will be notified of your bankruptcy process.

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process includes answering questions under oath about your assets and debts. The trustee then sells your assets. Any administrative expenses are paid and the trustee takes the remaining amount and pays it to creditors in order of priority.

The process typically takes four to six months after the case is filed in court. You’re required to take a financial counseling course before the bankruptcy process is concluded.

While Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates your debts, it also affects your credit score. This can result in lenders lowering your credit limits and charging higher interest rates. The bankruptcy stays on your credit report up to 10 years. You can, however, work at improving your credit score once the bankruptcy is finalized.

The entire process can cost up to $1,500 for bankruptcy fees, plus a court fee of about $300. If your specific bankruptcy case involves alimony, contested debt or child support, the cost may be higher.

A lawyer specializing in bankruptcy can help determine whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best option for your financial situation.

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The Virginian-Pilot
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State Sen. Louise Lucas is coming back to the table for another run with her proposal to legalize casino gambling in the commonwealth.

With or without any luck, it should fail.

The measure, which Lucas pulled from consideration last year in the face of certain defeat, targets Portsmouth for a casino and is billed as a way to help mitigate punishing tolls exacted on commuters traveling through the Midtown and Downtown tunnels.

Ninety percent of proceeds from gross receipts and admissions taxes would be funneled into the toll mitigation fund, which also would support lower tolls on drivers on Dominion Boulevard and on the Martin Luther King Freeway.

But the expansion of gambling in Virginia, and the reliance on gambling-related revenue, ignores overwhelming evidence that such a move is hardly a panacea. Instead, its far more likely to cause harm. Social ills have long been synonymous with casino gambling, and the problems – including gambling addiction, personal bankruptcy and crime – wont improve the quality of life in Portsmouth.

For those reasons and an array of others, efforts to legalize gambling have rightly galvanized bipartisan opposition.

Its worth noting that a casino in Portsmouth isnt likely to be a source of high-paying jobs. Gaming service workers – the employees who deal cards, tend to slot machines and oversee other games – earn an average of $9.71 per hour, or $20,210 a year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Gaming surveillance workers – the folks watching for cheats and thieves – make a little more, with average pay at $11.55 per hour, or $24,020 per year.

Those arent the kinds of jobs likely to boost Portsmouths economic fortunes, or its tax base. Its a recipe for inflating poverty, for transferring wealth to casino operators, for enabling addictive behavior and for creating a tax-revenue shell game.

The median household income in Portsmouth is $46,166, fourth among South Hampton Roads five cities and just barely ahead of Norfolk ($44,747), according to Census data. With 18.4 percent of its population living below the poverty line, Portsmouths position reflects income and poverty figures reminiscent of Dover, Del., a smaller city that counts a casino gambling operation – and racetrack – among its economic core. Atlantic City, NJ, is trying to avoid an economic crash as its casinos struggle and close.

In Maryland, where gambling has proliferated, the states lottery posted decreasing revenues for the past two years. Under Virginias system, that would mean a reduction in funds to K-12 education, a devastating prospect given the cuts already forced by the recent economic downturn.

Hampton Roads is struggling to recover from that recession because its economy relies so heavily on federal spending, which is being scaled back under sequestration.

In Portsmouth, where roughly half of the citys land is owned by the government and exempt from property taxes, and where the imposition of ridiculously high tolls to cross the Elizabeth River is a threat to the citys businesses and residents, the need to diversify is even greater.

But expecting a casino to solve those problems is as realistic as expecting to retire after a weekend playing blackjack. Its just a bad bet.

Employers know they must withhold Social Security and income taxes from their employees paychecks. And the employees understand this has to happen, even if they don’t particularly like it. But thats only half the story: Once the funds have been withheld, they have to be remitted to the federal government. Some companies, especially smaller ones, tend to forget this–and that takes them to a very bad place.

The problem has its roots in the businesses needs to come up with sufficient funds to meet the gross payroll and also pay any apprehensive suppliers that are unwilling to extend additional credit. Their solution is what gets these businesses into bad tax trouble: Management opts to pay employees their net salaries or wages and not to make the required deposits with the IRS. After all, rationalize these ever-optimistic honchos, the borrowed taxes can be taken care of just as soon as business picks up.

Business owners may not think they’re doing something dishonest by dipping into the withholding kitty to make up a temporary cash shortfall. But many thousands of individuals who’ve played games with withheld taxes have been stunned to discover that their outfit’s failure to pay such taxes made them personally liable–and that the IRS could grab funds in their bank accounts and retirement plans or seize other personal assets. They learned the expensive way that Code Section 6672 authorizes the IRS to assess a penalty equal to 100 percent of the amount due against the people who are responsible for collecting or paying withheld taxes and who “willfully” fail to collect or pay them.

Who are “responsible persons”? Usually, those who decide which creditors to pay and when. They’re also jointly liable for the entire amount owed. So even if they can establish that others were more responsible for the collection, accounting and payment of the missing taxes, their liability in no way lessens.

Not surprisingly, the IRS defines responsibility quite liberally. Responsible persons include:

  • Officers or employees of corporations.
  • Members or employees of partnerships.
  • Corporate directors or shareholders.
  • Members of boards of trustees of nonprofit organizations.
  • Other individuals with authority and control over funds to direct their disbursement.

Also not surprisingly, the IRS and the courts set the bar low when they define willfulness: It only requires a conscious, voluntary act, not intent to defraud. Nor need the act be one of commission. The willfulness requirement also can be met when there’s an act of omission, such as when a person fails to investigate or correct mismanagement after noticing that taxes are due and other creditors have been paid. Note, too, that personal bankruptcy does not relieve an individual of responsibility for his or her companys failure to pay withheld taxes.

Who gets stuck. Generally, the feds pursue the owners or top officers of organizations. The official policy is not to assert the penalty against non-owner employees of the business, who act solely under the dominion and control of others, and who aren’t in a position to make independent decisions on behalf of the business entity. Employees in this grouping include secretaries, clerks and bookkeepers.

Help for volunteers. A law change enacted in 1996 confers protection on people who serve as unpaid members of boards of schools, museums and other tax-exempt groups. No longer can a penalty be imposed on members who solely serve in an honorary capacity, don’t participate in the day-to-day or financial activities of the organization, and don’t actually know of the failure to collect and relay taxes on time to the IRS.

No good deed goes unpunished. Volunteers who join boards assume potentially dangerous responsibilities, whether theyve joined to gain entry to the corridors of power, burnish their resumes, garner opportunities to mix and mingle with the glitterati or just to reciprocate for past favors. They needn’t do due diligence on organizations that do good. But volunteers should assiduously avoid involvement in the collection or payment of withheld taxes, lest they become embroiled in IRS investigations undertaken to ferret out the identities of those worthy of designation as personally liable for unpaid taxes. 

About the author:

Julian Block writes and practices law in Larchmont, New York, and was formerly with the IRS as a special agent (criminal investigator) and an attorney. More on this topic is available from “Julian Block’s Year Round Tax Strategies,” available at julianblocktaxexpert.com.

Preamble

The background

Raithatha v Williamson extended the scope of an Income Payment Order (IPO) to include a personal pension entitlement which a bankrupt was entitled to receive but which he had not yet elected to receive. This created a risk that the new flexibility in pension drawdown could endanger the pension savings of those declared, or at risk of being declared, bankrupt. It was feared that someone subject to an IPO could be compelled to elect for uncapped income withdrawals to satisfy their debt, where the lump sum exceeds the bankrupts reasonable needs.

The issues

The issue of general principle was whether the Court has a power under section 310 Insolvency Act 1986 to make an IPO in respect of a pension which is not in payment.The prominent point of contention was the definition of the lsquo;income of the bankrupt (against which the IPO will be made) in s310(7); particularly, whether a bankrupt lsquo;becomes entitled to a payment under an uncrystallised pension even thoughhe would not be receiving any payments from the pension trustees and would have no enforceable claim against them.

What did the court decide?

On very similar facts to Raithatha, the Court decided that a bankrupt only becomes entitled to a payment under his pension after there are definite amounts which have become contractually payable. Funds in an uncrystallised pension represent onlylatent income and so should not be considered income of the bankrupt. There are no obvious words in s310 which would give the Court the power to decide how a bankrupt was to exercise the different options open to him under an uncrystallised SIPPor personal pension. Nor does s310 contain words which would provide for a trustee in bankruptcy to exercise such powers of election on behalf of the bankrupt. The corollary being that there is nothing in s310 to provide a basis for an IPO in respect of an uncrystallised pension.

What does this mean for practitioners?

The immediate upshot of the decision is that the uncrystallised pension pots of a bankrupt are under a lesser threat than they were after Raithatha. The chances of a bankrupt being forced to draw down on a pension which is not yet in payment have been reduced. However, the decision in Horton is a direct contradiction of Raithatha at the same level of authority. Clarity in the law will be delayed until the Court of Appeal hears the case in the spring.

Case: Horton v Henry [2014] EWHC 4209 (Ch)

This year, one film was the surprise grand winner at the Dutch Film Festival where the Golden Calves are awarded, which basically are the Dutch Oscars. Michiel ten Horns Aanmodderfakker won Best Film and Best Script, and its lead Gijs Naber won Best Actor. A few months later it arrived in Dutch cinemas, and last week I finally got to see for myself what all the commotion was about.

Thankfully, once again my general misgivings with Dutch cinema were notable for their absence when I saw this film, as writer/director Michiel ten Horn has consistently outsmarted most of the pitfalls which our national filmmaking industry so often falls victim too. Time for a review!

The Plot:

Thijs is what the Dutch call an eternal student. Enrolled into university year after year, but never finishing any degree, Thijs just loafs about in his shared apartment, getting by on his rich parents allowance and a part-time job at a local electronics mall. Days are spent endlessly smoking, drinking, acting cool, borrowing money, missing classes, chasing the odd girl, and browsing the Internet.

But of course this life slowly but surely starts to crack. At thirty-two, the age difference with his compatriots becomes ever more noticeable, and Thijs efforts to keep the world around him from changing look more pathetic each day. Then, one evening, Thijs meets his sister-in-law Lisa, a precocious student half his age, who is super-ambitious. And though Thijs realizes she is MOST DEFINITELY off-limits, and will probably mean the end of his life as he knows it, opposites attract… and he is notoriously spineless.

The Film:

Time for a title explanation: the Dutch word aanmodderen means continuously doing something without achieving a goal. Modder means mud so you can link this to mucking about. And modderfakker is… a phonetic joke you can work out for yourself. All in all, Aanmodderfakker is indeed a good single word to sum up its protagonist Thijs.

Thijs seems to be getting nowhere, but that is only when you look at the short term. In the long term, he is of course headed straight for disaster and personal bankruptcy, though he stubbornly refuses to see it. His life looks cool and hip on the outside, and is mistaken by many, including himself, as freedom. But instead, a debilitating fear of change has him stuck in a locked routine.

Gijs Naber plays this asshole excellently, not going for the lovable loser aspect at all but fully exploiting his irritating immaturity. From the way he replies Yeah-HES! like a five-year-old whenever he feels nagged (often) to more serious scumbaggery when he feels inferior (often), Thijs seems real, exaggerated, unbearable and hard-to look-away-from, all at the same time. While some of the other actors may occasionally brush the line-reading wall so often painfully apparent in Dutch cinema, Gijs has no weak moment in the entire film, a good thing too as he is the focus of every single scene.

The story of a man-child stuck in arrested development has of course been told often before, and even has several sub-genres and sitcoms dedicated to it already. So if Aanmodderfakker has anything going against it, it would be the familiarity of most of the jokes and situations.

Thankfully, what saves it is an extra veneer of polish and intelligence which most other efforts in this category lack. Director Michiel ten Horn has obviously paid careful attention to the script, in which (title aside) even the word jokes all turn out to be translatable to English. I mean, thats clever! Little details click as well, as throughout the film Thijs inadvertently shows that he is actually capable of learning and growing, despite himself. There is also a willingness to play with rom-com expectations, and there are some moments of magical reality which may not cater to everyones tastes, but worked for me.

All in all I had a far better time than I expected. While it perhaps is not original enough to be considered brilliant, it is a fun film and very well made. In the world of Aanmodderfakker, sweet never becomes cloying, damage is done, reality can never be escaped indefinitely, and the passage of time doesnt just instigate growth: it clearly demands it.