Brandon M. : Hello there.
Brandon M. : Hello, thank you for your question.
Brandon M. : I should start by saying that because the nuances of every situation are different, this information should not be construed as complete or advice without consulting in person with counsel. That said, when someone has been defrauded through the mail, there are two potential legal options. The first is civil and the second is criminal...
Brandon M. : The civil route is to sue the defrauder for any damages suffered. This would typically be for the value lost. However, a civil judgment can be tedious and difficult to enforce, especially across state lines. To be clear, it can be enforced, but it is at the very least time consuming and potentially expensive to do so.
Brandon M. : The criminal option is usually much better when available. If law enforcement investigates and determines that there is sufficient evidence to pursue, the guilty party is ordinarily ordered to pay restitution upon conviction. This is the best option because they have to repay the money and law enforcement will see to it that the money is repaid.
Brandon M. : You have already filed a complaint with the USPS. Do you have any interest in pursuing a civil suit?
Customer: I would like to see this guy behind bars. He has a long rap sheet of fraud and deception. My first thought is why is this guy still able to acquire fire arms if he has a felony conviction?? I do want to pursue what ever it takes to get my money back and see this guy to justice. Do I need to talk to my local law enforcement here first and seek a lawyer here or in PA??
Customer: I also contacted Guns America, but they have not responded to me.
Brandon M. : If you want to take the criminal route, and if you have already notified the USPS, start with your local law enforcement first.As for pursuing a civil suit, Mississippi small claims court can handle disputes up to $3,500, and a small claims judgment is just as valid and enforceable as any other type of civil judgment. For a $1,230 dispute, most people would go the small claims route because it is by far the fastest and cheapest means of enforcement. Customer: Would they subpoena this individual to court here in MS to pay restitution or just serve his a summons and court order to pay?? Brandon M. : Parties to a case are not subpoenaed. Subpoenas are actually for non-parties only. If the USPS is involved and if, upon the conclusion of their investigation, they find that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, the prosecution will likely take place in a federal court. Whether the court gains jurisdiction through a summons or arrest depends on the situation, but it would most likely be by summons. You mentioned that the person in question has a criminal record. Do you know when the most recent conviction occurred?
Customer: yes. Im looking at it now...
Customer: 2009 for FRAUD OBT FOODSTAMPS, THEFT by DECEPTION-FAIL to CORRECT also
Customer: He offered to send me a check...I told him no...what he didnt know was that I saw his record for BAD CHECKS - COURT CASE
Brandon M. : Well, if his most recent conviction was in 2009, there's a decent chance that he's still on probation or parole. If that's the case, he would be looking at some hard time.
Customer: Ok, I guess I will file a local complaint here in Columbus MS, and talk to a lawyer here as well. I appreciate your time and you have given me some confidence to go through with this.
Brandon M. : Certainly. I hope that this was helpful.
Customer: Thanks again, have a good night.
Brandon M. : It was my pleasure. I wish you the best.