Las Vegas woman humiliated by mail she received

Michael Lopardi

Las Vegas woman humiliated by mail she received

CREATED Feb. 22, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A Las Vegas woman said she is shocked and humiliated by what she received in the mail.

"I've just never seen anything like this before," said Wanda McRoyal.

It wasn't the letter, but the way it was addressed, that has her searching for answers.

"My middle name is not bankrupt. My middle name is Lynn," said McRoyal.

She's referring to a bill she received last month. It's addressed to "Wanda *Bankrupt* McRoyal." The word "bankrupt" is listed as her middle name, and visible from outside the envelope to people like the mail carrier and her grandson. McRoyal opened the envelope during her meeting with Action News; inside, a past due bill for $215 from a drinking water company.

"I just thought that was very unprofessional and it just humiliated me," said McRoyal.

Even if bankrupt is not her middle name, McRoyal admits that she was bankrupt. Records from U.S. bankruptcy court show McRoyal filed for chapter seven bankruptcy on Sept. 13, 2012. But McRoyal said the letter went too far. She contacted the water company, Tahoe Springs Water, to complain, but was unhappy with the apology she got. So she emailed Action News.

"I just couldn't believe that they sent me a letter like this," said McRoyal.

Court records show McRoyal listed Tahoe Springs as a creditor, or someone she owed money, in her bankruptcy filing. But how did it show up in her name? Action News paid a visit to the company to find out.

"I apologized to her," said Tahoe Springs office manager Nina Aryaie. "I even send a letter to her bankruptcy lawyer. This was a mistake. It was an honest mistake."

Aryaie said company procedure calls for the word "bankrupt" to be put next to a customer's name once they are notified by the court that someone has filed for protection; the mistake - the company said it should not have sent out a statement. Aryaie said she will make sure another statement is not sent out.

"I'm sorry," said Aryaie. "This was an honest mistake. That's all I can say."

Attorney and Action News legal analyst Al Lasso said federal law prohibits creditors from contacting someone once that person has filed for bankruptcy.

"But if a mistake goes out, and it's an oversight, and you call the company to say, 'I'm in bankruptcy. I've already notified you. Do not send anymore,' and it stops, one letter is not going to get any type of lawsuit against them," said Lasso.

Action News asked McRoyal if an apology would suffice.

"Possibly," said McRoyal. "A sincere apology."

Lasso said bankruptcy filings are public information. Still, McRoyal said she's considering legal action against the water computer.