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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12844
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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My question may seem rather convoluted but I will try to make

Resolved Question:

My question may seem rather convoluted but I will try to make it simple. I was named co-defendant in a criminal case in 2003 for alleged crime in 2002. My co-defendant was my boss at work whom I was romantically involved with. It is believed that I was named co-defendant because the company was actually "going after" him. At his urging and the Lawyer's, I pled to two lessor charges of Theft F4 and misuse of Credit Cards. During which time, he supposedly was speaking with a lawyer but his case seemed to be continued constantly. At any rate, I was subsequently sentenced to work release with 5 years of probation and thousands of dollars in restitution. Needless to say he never went to court. While I was serving my sentence, he was living in my home taking care of the bills etc. Mind you he was unemployed and I had taken other employment which was a condition of my probation, Difficult to say the least with a felony. He killed himself in my home leaving me "holding the bag". My house was foreclosed upon, I sent my children to live with their father as it was best for them. The co-defendant racked up all of my credit cards in addition to these other noteworthy events. At this point in time, almost 10 years later, the "victim", my previous employer, who was the recipient of the restitution wants repaid and threatening civil charges. When my probation ended after 5 years, I was asked to sign a promissory note for the restitution, which I did. The agreement stated that I would pay $125/month until paid, an increase of what I had previous paid per month. I have been religious about these payments up until this last year. I have struggled immensely and had many family issues, yes, I realize there is no good excuse. I decided to forego the holiday this year and took the funds from gifts received and what I had saved for my children and sent in on my restitution which was about 12 months and brought me current. I received a letter from an Attorney that had now has the file due to my lack of payments that I just found out yesterday. I spoke with him today and I am to call him tomorrow with a resolution to pay over $56,000, the balance of the restitution. He was pleasant and said they did not want to do further harm, just wanted this to come to an end. The Attorney wants me to sign a new agreement and also a "permission slip" to look at the case. Would he not already have access to this information if he was given the case by the State(Ohio) for collection of the Restitution Payment? Should I sign these documents and what is the Statute of Limitations for the "victim" to sue me in Civil Court? Any advice would be appreciated as, at this point in time, I have nothing. There is not personal property as there was a foreclosure. I do not have a checking account, I live with a friend and just pay what I can. My kids are grown now and making their way as we continue to work on repair in our relationships. Please help. Thank you!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. Kindly use CONTINUE or REPLY button to ask for clarification or follow-up questions.


Could you clarify?

Is your previous employer the state of Ohio?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No my previous employer was a private company but the Case was the "State of Ohio vs Me and the co-defendant". The company has never filed against me in a civil action, just had me prosecued by the state.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the clarification.


Your Questions:


My question may seem rather convoluted but I will try to make it simple. I was named co-defendant in a criminal case in 2003 for alleged crime in 2002. My co-defendant was my boss at work whom I was romantically involved with. It is believed that I was named co-defendant because the company was actually "going after" him. At his urging and the Lawyer's, I pled to two lessor charges of Theft F4 and misuse of Credit Cards. During which time, he supposedly was speaking with a lawyer but his case seemed to be continued constantly. At any rate, I was subsequently sentenced to work release with 5 years of probation and thousands of dollars in restitution. Needless to say he never went to court. While I was serving my sentence, he was living in my home taking care of the bills etc. Mind you he was unemployed and I had taken other employment which was a condition of my probation, Difficult to say the least with a felony. He killed himself in my home leaving me "holding the bag". My house was foreclosed upon, I sent my children to live with their father as it was best for them. The co-defendant racked up all of my credit cards in addition to these other noteworthy events. At this point in time, almost 10 years later, the "victim", my previous employer, who was the recipient of the restitution wants repaid and threatening civil charges. When my probation ended after 5 years, I was asked to sign a promissory note for the restitution, which I did. The agreement stated that I would pay $125/month until paid, an increase of what I had previous paid per month. I have been religious about these payments up until this last year. I have struggled immensely and had many family issues, yes, I realize there is no good excuse. I decided to forego the holiday this year and took the funds from gifts received and what I had saved for my children and sent in on my restitution which was about 12 months and brought me current. I received a letter from an Attorney that had now has the file due to my lack of payments that I just found out yesterday. I spoke with him today and I am to call him tomorrow with a resolution to pay over $56,000, the balance of the restitution. He was pleasant and said they did not want to do further harm, just wanted this to come to an end. The Attorney wants me to sign a new agreement and also a "permission slip" to look at the case. Would he not already have access to this information if he was given the case by the State(Ohio) for collection of the Restitution Payment?


Response 1: Yes, he should. So, I am not sure why he asking for a "permission slip."



Should I sign these documents



Response 2:
No, you should not and in any event, not without an Attorney reviewing the documents first. Also and more importantly, if you do not have any assets to pay for the Restitution, any paper you sign to pay the debt is basically worthless.


and what is the Statute of Limitations for the "victim" to sue me in Civil Court? Any advice would be appreciated as, at this point in time, I have nothing. There is not personal property as there was a foreclosure. I do not have a checking account, I live with a friend and just pay what I can. My kids are grown now and making their way as we continue to work on repair in our relationships. Please help. Thank you!


Response 3: The Statute of Limitations is 4 years. See Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.09. However, I do not see any reason why your former employer would be suing you since it already has judgment for Restitution and more importantly, you do not have any assets to satisfy any Judgment.



http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2305




You may consider filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection to discharge this debt. The debt would be dischargeable in bankruptcy assuming that the employer does not file objection to the dischargeability of the debt in bankruptcy because the Restitution is not to State of Ohio, but to a private company. See 11 U.S.C. Section 523(a)(7).


http://doney.net/bkcode/11usc0523.htm.




You would be eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, if you meet the Means test—the income test. If your income is equal to or less than the current income guidelines for your family size in your state, you would be eligible to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy all things being equal. The income used in calculating the means test is the income for the 6 months before the filing of the bankruptcy petition. This means that if you are filing for bankruptcy protection this month, February 2013, the income that would be used is your income from August 2012 to January 2013. If you are filing next month, March 2013, the income that would be used in the means test calculation would be the income from September 2013 to February 2013, etc. In Chapter 7, if the Court grants you a Discharge your debts will be wiped out with some exceptions such as some taxes and alimony, which are not dischargeable. You would get a clean state, a fresh start.

The filling fee for Chapter 7 is $306.00. You may able to waive this filing fee if your income is 150% below the current poverty guidelines. Click here for current poverty guidelines:

http://www.uscourts.gov/bankruptcycourts/resources.html



These are current income guidelines for the State of Ohio:

Family size of one person $41,748.00
Family size of two persons
$51,839.00
Family size of three persons
$60,219 .00
Family size of four persons
$72,827.00
Add $7,500.00 for additional individual

You must receive budget and credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency and obtain a Certificate of Credit Counselling to be filed with his bankruptcy case. The agency will review possible options available to you in credit counseling and assist you in reviewing your budget. Different agencies provide the counseling in-person, by telephone, or over the Internet.

It is usually a good idea for you to meet with an attorney before you receive the required credit counseling. Unlike a credit counselor, who cannot give legal advice, an attorney can provide counseling on whether bankruptcy is the best option. If bankruptcy is not the right answer for you, a good attorney will offer a range of other suggestions. The attorney can also provide you with a list of approved credit counseling agencies, or you can check the website for the United States Trustee Program office at http://www.usdoj.gov/ust/eo/bapcpa/ccde/cc_approved.htm

After your case is filed, you must complete an approved course in personal finances. This course will take approximately two hours to complete. Your attorney can give you a list of organizations that provide approved courses, or you can check the website for the United States Trustee Program office at http://www.usdoj.gov/ust/eo/bapcpa/ccde/de_approved.htm

Consult a local bankruptcy attorney for further explanations of your rights and responsibilities.

The sites below are good resources for finding bankruptcy attorneys in your area:

http://www.nacba.org/


http://www.naca.net/


http://www.justia.com/

http://www.lawyers.com/

If you cannot afford an attorney, then the next best alternative will be to use bankruptcy petition preparer. Bankruptcy petition preparers prepare bankruptcy forms but they cannot give you legal advice because they are not attorneys. Click on the links below for some of the bankruptcy petition preparers. You can do some searches on Google or Yahoo if you do not like the ones on the links below.




http://bridgeportbankruptcy.com/bridgeport/index.asp


http://usabankruptcyassociates.com/usabk/moreinfo.asp#wedo

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I believe in the Promissory Note, it states that I cannot discharge the debt in a bankruptcy. I realize you cannot be too specific since you do not have the file in front of you. However, this has gone on for so very long and I just want to clarify...what may happen if I state tomorrow that I cannot pay any more than the 125/mo? Can they send me back to prison? I desperately wish I had not fallen behind on the payments but the account is current now. If I offer them a settlement of 2k (try to borrow from my family), can it be released from the court and done? I pay the State of Ohio every month and they send it on to the company, so I believe the judgement is to Ohio but in reading through the court docs it states the court assigned the restitution to the company. I dont have the money to retain a lawyer unfortunately but am grateful for your time.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I believe in the Promissory Note, it states that I cannot discharge the debt in a bankruptcy. I realize you cannot be too specific since you do not have the file in front of you. However, this has gone on for so very long and I just want to clarify...what may happen if I state tomorrow that I cannot pay any more than the 125/mo? Can they send me back to prison?


Response 1
: Unfortunately, yes, they can send you back to prison. However, I seriously doubt it. If you are making good faith efforts to pay the debt, it is highly unlikely for the DA to throw you back in prison.



I desperately wish I had not fallen behind on the payments but the account is current now. If I offer them a settlement of 2k (try to borrow from my family), can it be released from the court and done?




Response 2:
I seriously doubt that the amount can be reduced to $2,000.00. However, it does not hurt to ask. Yes, if they do take $2,000.00 as the settlement, your case would be completed and could be “released from the Court.”


I pay the State of Ohio every month and they send it on to the company, so I believe the judgement is to Ohio but in reading through the court docs it states the court assigned the restitution to the company. I dont have the money to retain a lawyer unfortunately but am grateful for your time.



Response 3: Thank you for the clarification. Then the debt would not be dischargeable in bankruptcy if that is the case


Let me know if you need additional clarification,

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your time. I appreciate the clarification. Have a good evening.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
You are quite Welcome!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

One other thought, wouldn't the company have had insurance and recovered their loss? Would they be able to collect the restitution if they had filed a claim or wrote it off as bad debt on their taxes? I am sorry, my brain is on overload and just scared. I promise I will leave you be. :) Again, many thanks!

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.

One other thought, wouldn't the company have had insurance and recovered their loss? Would they be able to collect the restitution if they had filed a claim or wrote it off as bad debt on their taxes? I am sorry, my brain is on overload and just scared. I promise I will leave you be. :) Again, many thanks!


Response: There is no need for an apology. I am here to assist. The issue that you are raising is reasonable. However, the issue is properly raised in a civil case and not in a criminal case. The Restitution is the result of your criminal case. So, the issue of insurance coverage does not apply.

Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12844
Experience: B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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