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Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
Can you tell me what state this is in?
Ok, in CA, that is correct, you have up to ten years to enforce a judgment under CA Civil Code 337.5. So you still have plenty of time to try to collect.
The problem is in finding the defendant so you can get a writ to seize bank accounts or a wage garnishment. In most situations like this, you would need a professional investigation company to track them down if you can't locate them yourself and don't know where they work.. They do what is called "skip tracing" where they take the tenant's personal information like DOB, SSN, utility records, etc. and then use that to locate them. I have no idea how they do that as it is a closely guarded secret, but I suspect that they have friends at the utility companies and contact them to run their info to find out where they have cable or utilities in their name..
I don't know if a cell phone number can be traced back to their address as they aren't fixed like landlines used to be. But the PIs may have contacts in the cell industry who could do this..