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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 17516
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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I haven't worked in 3 years due to serious health issues

Customer Question

I haven't worked in 3 years due to serious health issues and, with the help of my doctors, I am currently going through the steps of going on disability. I have credit card debt and the credit card company took a significant amount of money from a joint
bank account that I share with my roommate to pay our monthly bills. He, along with my family, have been very patient and generous regarding my situation and have helped me to get by until now. My roommate recently deposited a significant sum into the account.
So the money that the credit card company took was his, NOT MINE. The account is in his name and I am a co-signer. We are not married, but simply good friends. Being that he has let me slide on my portion of the bills on several occasions and has been very
supportive of me during an incredibly difficult time just makes me feel even more mortified and horrible about the situation. I'm experiencing tremendous guilt and shame over the fact that thousands of dollars have essentially been stolen from him and it's
completely my fault. If anyone could help me figure out what remedies, if any, are available to me, I'd be sincerely ***** ***** you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello: This isCustomer I am a licensed Attorney and I will be assisting you today.
Could you explain a little more?
I do not understand why your friend's bank would honor the levy on his/her bank account when he is not the one owing the debt?
Is there even an Order of Garnishment by the Court?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The bank received something titled: "S NY restraining order without subpoena". The bank honored it.My roommate (Ed) opened the account and several months later I became a cosigner for purposes of apartment expenses. The money Ed put in the account was made out to his name and was the only money in the account (i.e. before he deposited his check the balance was at 0).The bank told Ed that the money could be taken because my name is ***** ***** account even though it's not my money and we're not married. The bank then referred Ed to a law firm. He spoke to an assistant there and explained the situation. She said she could find out if there was a possibility of returning the money to Ed as long as a payment plan for me was put into place. He explained the urgency of the situation and she said she'd get right back to him.I also spoke to her briefly, essentially to confirm that he could speak on my behalf. The only portion of interest in my conversation with her was that she said their records showed us as married. I corrected her and explained we are roommates with an apartment account. To date, the assistant has not called back. Ed has followed up several times but no calls have been returned.To be honest, I'd forgotten about the card. According to my records, I tried to make a payment plan with them a couple of years ago when I realized that I would not be returning to work anytime soon. Even knowing about my medical problems (verified by 2 of my doctors) they were unwilling to budge in any way. Since then, I haven't heard from them. I've received no bills, no overdue notices, no referral to bill collection notice, nothing.I also had no idea (and in no way was notified) that they were seeking a judgement against me. I didn't find out until Ed sat me down and told me they had taken $8,000 from his account. This is a tremendous amount of money for him and for me since, as I mentioned, when he can afford it, he doesn't ask me for my half of the apartment expenses or only asks me to pay the cable, etc. Since I am currently living on the kindness of family and friends and am unable to work, I'm at a loss as to what to do.The money they took is the equivalent of 6 months of apartment payments and was designated specifically for that purpose. We currently have no way to pay bills, no way to live. Since Ed is kind enough to lend me the money for my portion of expenses whenever he can, pay all the bills himself and essentially treat me like a house guest (except for the little bit I give him when I can).The bank's action has put us in severely dire straits and very real danger of losing our apartment. I am beside myself and totally at a loss as to what to do or even if there is anything I can do. I just can't understand how it can be legal to go into an account with someone else's name on it and take money that was deposited by Ed. I could see if we were married or if the check on the deposit had been made out to me... but since neither scenario is the case, how can this possibly be legal?No less, how can it be legal to make a court judgement without any notification to me whatsoever? Don't I have the right to be in court and perhaps, with the help of counsel, try to prevent them from taking money that is not mine?Whatever help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
PS Sorry, there is also a Levy # ***** in the account under "S NY restraining order without subpoena"
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
PPS I just received a text from my sister. My mother has an account that my sister and I are cosigners on. Apparently they took money from that account as well. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to get details from my mother.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the information.
You need to go back to the Court that issued these levies on the accounts that you are only co-signer on and request that these levies be lifted and funds taken from the accounts be returned. Your roommate and your mother need to intervene in the case and file papers for the funds wrongfully taken from their accounts be returned. The law firm/the debt collector ("they") here is not your friend. They are looking to collect a debt and you should not be speaking with them about returning the funds because they would put unnecessary conditions on the return. You, your roommate, and mother need to go to Court and file papers to vacate these levies and for the return of the funds.
In the meantime, your mother and roommate need to open new accounts without your name so that those accounts would not be touched. You should not sign on to be co-signer with any person until this debt has been settled and take care of.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I found out this morning they only took $15 from my mom's account so that is no longer a concern. I have a few questions:1. How do we find out what court issued the levy?
2. Does Ed need an attorney to file these papers to get the money returned?
3. This process sounds lengthy, am I correct? Is there any way to expedite it as the situation is urgent regarding the possibility of losing the apartment which would be disastrous because it has an enormous amount of equity in it.
4. Was it even legal in the first place for them to take Ed's money?
5. Shouldn't I have been notified at some point that they were moving for a judgement against me so that I could have possibly prevented this from happening in the first place?
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I found out this morning they only took $15 from my mom's account so that is no longer a concern. I have a few questions:
1. How do we find out what court issued the levy?

Response 1: The Court where Judgment was obtained against you issued the Order. Ed can also get this information from his bank because the Order was served on the bank in order for the bank to seize the funds in the account.
2. Does Ed need an attorney to file these papers to get the money returned?
Response 2: No. You need to go to the Courthouse and obtain forms for filing Motion to Vacate the Order of Garnishment and for return of the funds wrongfully taken from the account. You can obtain forms at the Courthouse in the Clerk’s office.
3. This process sounds lengthy, am I correct? Is there any way to expedite it as the situation is urgent regarding the possibility of losing the apartment which would be disastrous because it has an enormous amount of equity in it.
Response 3:You need to file Motion to Vacate Garnishment along with that file Motion for Expedited Hearing on the Motion to Vacate and tell the Court what the urgency is, just like you did on your post here.
4. Was it even legal in the first place for them to take Ed's money?
Response 4:They do not know. You are on the account. However, there is a rebuttable presumption that 50% of the funds in the account is yours. The bank should not have seized 100% of the funds in the account.
5. Shouldn't I have been notified at some point that they were moving for a judgement against me so that I could have possibly prevented this from happening in the first place?
Response 5: You must be notified of ALL filings in the case. If you were not notified, then that is yet another reason for you to file Motion to Vacate the Order of Garnishment. You should in the alternative file Motion to Vacate the Default Judgment on the ground that you were not served with the notice of filings in the case. If the Court grants your Motion to Vacate the Judgment, then the Writ of Garnishment will be vacated and ALL funds garnished must be returned.
The forms for filing the Motion are available at the Courthouse in the Clerk's office.