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20 years ago, I was charged with conspiracy to commit food…

20 years ago, I...

20 years ago, I was charged with conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud and a judgement was filed against me, my husband, who is now deceased and others involved. My judgement is about to expire. I am now a widow, living on a small social security check. Can the government legally seize my share of my mother's estate, around $20,000, after I cared for her for 5 years?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Louisiana

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?

The lawyer handling the succession and representing the title company doing the research say that they can. I have no money to hire a lawyer.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Only that in a few months, the judgement will expire and I am afraid they will renew it because of the possibility of my inheritance. I have lived with this sentence for 20 years and spent time in a Federal Prison Camp, on probation for 3 years and am now 74, widowed and desperately need this money.

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Answered in 9 minutes by:
9/8/2017
Nisha Jones
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,389
Experience: Managing Attorney at Nisha Jones Law, LLC
Verified

Good morning, I am a Criminal Defense attorney and former Prosecutor for the State Attorney's Office, and I'll be answering your questions today. Keep in mind this is for informational purposes only and we do not have an attorney-client relationship. Please allow me just a few minutes to review your question, thank you!

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Good morning

I'm happy to help with your question, was this charged as a state or federal case?

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Federal
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
It was in 1995

Okay, thanks for the additional information! Was it ever converted to a civil judgement or did it remain part of criminal court restitution?

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I'm not sure about that, but it was handled through the Federal district attorney's office out of Shreveport, La. The restitution amount was to be paid to them.

Okay, thanks. Give me just a few minutes to prepare some information for you, thanks!

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I also would like to know if I have any legal recourse as to preventing them from taking the whole amount of my share of my mom's estate, which is only $20,000.

Okay I understand, give me a few minutes to type some information up for you, thanks!

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Sorry for the delay, I was away from the site for a moment.

Unfortunately even though 18 U.S.C.A. § 3613 states that a restitution order lasts 20 years, it is possible to extend the order further.

This means that yes, the US attorney's office or the court may decide to renew the restitution order.

It is also quite possible though, that they may not decide to or that your case may go unreviewed and the order terminated. That would be the best case scenario for you.

As far as your inheritance goes, unfortunately yes, money or property that's inherited can be seized in full by the federal government in order to pay restitution. There is not much recourse for this, and absent cash payment for the balance of the amount, there's nothing that can be done to prevent the federal government from seizing assets and property.

The only loophole to this would be if you were to inherit the funds after your restitution judgment expired, and if it is not renewed.

I'm sorry to not have better news, unfortunately the law in this area is not in your favor.

I hope that information helps! You at least know the law now and what the potential outcomes and possibilities are.

Please let me know if you have any other questions. Also, please take a moment to rate me using the stars at the top of the page, as it's the only way experts are compensated for our time on the site. I do not receive a salary here at JustAnswer, and am only compensated for my time after receiving a rating of 3 stars or more (5 stars are always appreciated). The question won't close after rating, so you can still ask follow-up questions after. Thanks, ***** ***** it!

Nisha Jones
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,389
Experience: Managing Attorney at Nisha Jones Law, LLC
Verified
Nisha Jones and 87 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Is it common for a 20 yr judgement to be renewed?

I don't want to give you a definitive answer on that -- as it really can go either way.

In my experience, it tends to depend on how much money is owed, and how much the other party (in this case the federal government) wants the restitution repaid.

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