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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I am the victim of a fraud. I have a signed promissory note

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I am the victim of a fraud. I have a signed promissory note for $10k from one person and text messages discussing same. I also have a canceled personal check ($10k) that was signed by the person who signed the promissory note and then by another person whose signature is unintelligible. I have a long history of text messages from a friend of first person that will clearly establish false representations and can argue and perhaps prove that those representations were designed to elicit money from me. The false representations revolve around hardships that never occurred etc. Several thousand $ were given to this second person as a result of the false representations. I have two bank account numbers and a cell phone number of the second person. I believe that a third person is involved (the leader) but have no evidence other than association with the other two. All money transfers, mailings, phone calls and text messages crossed state lines. False representations have been made while the second person mentioned above was in at least 2 different states.

Here are my questions:

1) For a civil case, is federal court going to be the only competent jurisdiction since there are transactions across state lines?

2) If a civil case is filed in federal court, which city/state/district does it need to be filed in? a) My location, b) the location where their misrepresentations started, c) their current location or d) any of the above?

3) I would like to initiate a federal criminal investigation/prosecution and am also considering a civil suit. A large part of any criminal investigation would need to be done at their current location (hundreds of miles from me). Should I approach the FBI office in their location or in my location? Also, how much better would my chances be in getting the FBI to investigate if I had an attorney approach them and provide an affidavit rather than contacting the FBI myself?

4) What kind of lawyer should I be looking for and where is a good place to find same? My preference is to have a local lawyer and file in federal court here for my own convenience but will consider other arrangements as needed.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your situation.

1) For a civil case, is federal court going to be the only competent jurisdiction since there are transactions across state lines?

Not necessarily. This is still in the state court system. the U.S. federal Distinct Court hears:

Cases that deal with the constitutionality of a law;
Cases involving the federal United States Code and treaties of the U.S.;
Cases involving ambassadors and public ministers;
Disputes between two or more states (not individuals, but states);
Admiralty law;
Bankruptcy; and
Habeas corpus issues.

This is arguably fraud, and is a state court issue. Plaintiff can file either in NC (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-75.4), or perhaps their state, depending on which state it is. Practically, it would make sense to file in NC.

2) If a civil case is filed in federal court, which city/state/district does it need to be filed in? a) My location, b) the location where their misrepresentations started, c) their current location or d) any of the above?

This would be in civil court, and as such, assuming you wish to file in NC, in your county's District Court (if $10k or less) or Superior Court (if $10k or more).

3) I would like to initiate a federal criminal investigation/prosecution and am also considering a civil suit. A large part of any criminal investigation would need to be done at their current location (hundreds of miles from me). Should I approach the FBI office in their location or in my location?

Their location.

Also, how much better would my chances be in getting the FBI to investigate if I had an attorney approach them and provide an affidavit rather than contacting the FBI myself?

There is no difference, actually. The FBI and other agencies will investigate a matter regardless if the complaint is lodged by the victim or their representative.

4) What kind of lawyer should I be looking for and where is a good place to find same? My preference is to have a local lawyer and file in federal court here for my own convenience but will consider other arrangements as needed.

May I recommend the NC Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Thanks for the quick reply.


 


Is federal court an option and if so, is there an advantage over state court?


 


The amounts are over $10k. I'd estimate ~$50k total.


 


The charges in the criminal case, if there were to be one, would include wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit each - 3 conspirators - which are covered by US Code. I don't know what the claims would be in a civil suit other than fraud and breach of contract.

Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Thanks for the quick reply.

You are very welcome.

Is federal court an option and if so, is there an advantage over state court?

No, it is not an option. As stated in the original answer, this is not a federal civil matter, but a state civil matter.

The charges in the criminal case, if there were to be one, would include wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit each - 3 conspirators - which are covered by US Code. I don't know what the claims would be in a civil suit other than fraud and breach of contract.

To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.

Here, this seems like common law fraud. The essential elements of fraud are: 1) False representation or concealment of a material fact, (2) reasonably calculated to deceive, (3) made with intent to deceive, (4) which does in fact deceive, (5) resulting in damage to the injured party. Terry v. Terry, 302 N.C. 77, 83, 273 S.E.2d 674, 677 (1981) (quoting Ragsdale v. Kennedy, 286 N.C. 130, 138, 209 S.E.2d 494, 500 (1974)); accord Cofield v. Griffin, 238 N.C. 377, 379, 78 S.E.2d 131, 133 (1953).

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 86566
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Ely and 4 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your gratuity.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Ely,


 


The lawyer referral service you referred me to flat refused to give me a referral on the basis that the matter involved people in other states. I was shocked to have a no -lawyer declare that I would not be able to sue for fraud or breach of contract in my own state because the other party lived in a different state.


 


Can you get back to my original question which was intended to ask what specialization(s) should i look for in selecting an attorney? Also, another referral service or source for qualified people would e helpful.

Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Well that is unusual.

One can try the Martindale directory here, perhaps.

Specialization - "general practice" or "litigation."

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