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socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 39169
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I am an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) in California.

Customer Question

I am an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) in California. I left an office where I worked as an independent contrator (not employee) after I discovered insurance reimbersement checks were made to my name, mailed to the office's PO Box (an address I was unaware of although I was the legal party with the insurance companies and to whom the checks were issued from insurance companies w/my business EIN). However, the independent contractor agreement was that I receive 70% and the office 30%. He took his 30%, but by illegally cashing insurance checks made in my name and EIN, leaving me with no way to show my 30% payments to his office.

In March 2009 I received form 1099-misc reporting payments to me of $60,000+, but these monies were paid to me from my own insurance reimburesment checks; = $60k more than I made.

Currently I have checks in my name (and EIN) locked in his office because he is refusing to release my checks to me, demanding I endorse them to him and he will later pay me. I need to have my property released to me. Is this theft---what can I do?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 8 years ago.

It seems as though everything is reversed, i.e., you should have received the checks and paid the office 30% of your revenue and then you would have sent the office a 1099 for the payments.


Anyway, the checks are yours, and his cashing them without your power of attorney is forgery and fraud, but, if you're getting what you agreed to, it's probably a no-harm, no foul, unless the IRS thinks you earned more than you actually did, due to the weird 1099/EIN reporting.


As for the checks that he is holding hostage, that is pure criminal extortion, and you can call the police.


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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you Socrateaser, actually you confirmed what I thought; however, the police in that area are tying to pass the buck saying it is a civil matter. I will attempt to get them to move on the extortion charge. A friend also states holding my mail is a federal postal offense (theft).
Expert:  socrateaser replied 8 years ago.

It's pretty typical for law enforcement to avoid white collar criminal actions, because if they can get you to do discovery as part of a civil action, then the government doesn't have to spend any money investigating.


You could just tell the office manager that you'll sign the check and when he sets them in front of you, you just scoop them up and run. If you have a witness with you and he tries to stop you by force, then you have an entirely different police action: criminal assault.


Of course, I wouldn't want you to get hurt, either.


Re the mail issue, you could try the Postal Inspection Service. Nothing to lose, really.