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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33234
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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Aloha, My 18 year old son was being treated for bipolar

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My 18 year old son was being treated for bipolar disorder symptoms during the past two months. He was hospitalized for a week during March. He has been seeing a therapist at least one a week for the past five months.

While under our watch at home two weeks ago he managed to steal two credit cards, go online and hack my United Airlines account; and slip away in the night and fly from Honolulu to St. Louis where he has a friend.

He was five weeks from graduating high school, where he was a B+ student and President of the student council. He had received a $9,000 a year scholarship credit to a local private college for next year. Now he is in St. Louis, and will not graduate.

During his escape he went/tried to go on a spending spree - attempting to buy electronics, and goodness knows what.

When contacted by credit card companies I quickly declined authorization, even to the purchase of the airline ticket, but aparently it was too late (he got there).

I have closed out my major credit cards. (quickly that day, a Sunday).

Am I liable for his purchases? - Airline tickets, and other items. There was a $540 charge that somehow made it through at a St. Louis Walgreens. How could they accept a charge like that with no identification?

What's my liability, and what 'next steps' do I need to protect myself and my family.

JD 1992 :

Aloha back and I hope things are well in the Pacific. No, you shouldn't be liable for them but the credit card companies may require you to sign an "Affidavit of Fraud" so they can prosecute him for the money they will lose.

JD 1992 :

You probably want to send them a letter or better yet have a local lawyer send them a letter stating that permission to use the cards was not given and that the merchants obviously failed to check ID and that you aren't responsible for the charges.

Customer: So I have to turn in my son and have him arrested? He's sick and was not given permission (of course)
Customer: Should I secure a lawyer for this purpose?
JD 1992 :

You don't have to turn him in but for the credit card companies to excuse you paying they usually require an affidavit stating that you didn't use them or authorize them to be used and they then use the affidavit to try and prosecute.

JD 1992 :

There is really no need to hire a lawyer other than to send the letters for you. The companies take it more seriously when it comes on a lawyer's letterhead.

Customer: Do I place my son in legal jeopardy?
JD 1992 :

Yes, unfortunately so.

JD 1992 :

There is really no way to escape the obligation without placing him in jeopardy.

JD 1992 :

Your lawyer may be able to duck and dodge around saying what you think happened but if you have already told them that he did it then it is probably too late to avoid paying AND keep him out of it.

JD 1992 :

Are you still there?

Dwayne B. and 3 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I Have not indicated it was a family member other than to say it was not auhorized
You may want to consider getting an attorney, explaining the issue to them, and then letting them run interference for you. By doing that you may be able to avoid saying what you think happened and the attorney can just refuse to let them talk to you without him present and he can handle anything that pops up.