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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 53692
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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I sent a check for $5000 to an address in california as "earnest

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I sent a check for $5000 to an address in california as "earnest money" for a deposit on a lake cabin here in MN. The check was cashed and two weeks later I got an letter that the cabin was not for sale anymore. The owner had "changed his mind". Is there any way to get my money back and is there any legal action I could take? I know I did a stupid thing.
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good morning. Just to be clear.....the seller has taken the cabin off the market and is refusing to return it to you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Refuses to return the earnest money check. Said he "changed his mind". He lives in california, I live in mn, the property is in mn. I should not have been so dumb as to send the money to an address in Calif. pretty much sure I am out the $5000, but I thought I would ask anyway. one of my friends told me to come here for advice,

Thanks for responding. He has no legal right to refuse to sell the property and keep the deposit. You'll want to file suit against him, but in doing so, you will want to raise the stakes on him. File suit against him not only for breach of contract, but also for fraud and bad faith. That will entitle you not only to receive your deposit back, but to also be awarded punitive damages. Once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor, and if the losing party doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on the losing party for a debtor examination. That forces the losing party to meet the judgment creditor in court and answer questions under oath about the losing party's assets. After that information is obtained, the judgment creditor has the power to garnish wages, attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any non-homestead property to satisfy the judgment.

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