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this is a legal question that has to do with taking something

that belongs to a family...
this is a legal question that has to do with taking something that belongs to a family member. I took from my younger brother a coin collection that was in a safe deposit box. I had the authority to go in the box which was located at bank in Chicago. This happen in Dec in 2010. It was found out about a year later Dec 2011. This happen in Chicago, IL and I live now in Los Angles, CA. Its not that I don't want to pay it back by replacing the coins if I can find the actual coins that were stolen, but he is still angry and is threatening me with turning me in. I know that there is a statue of limitations which is around 2 years. He is calling me now and telling me I have 9 months to get this done. Certainly he has someone giving him advice. I know he is angry and has the right to be. But I do not want to start the process of returning the coins and he turns me in anyway. That is his choice but wanted to know what he can do to be legally. I am in the financial business licensed in the state of IL and CA and that could hurt me with a felony conviction.
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Answered in 6 minutes by:
4/1/2013
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31,008
Experience: Lawyer
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Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

If this happened in Illinois, then it is the Illinois statute of limitations that applies. The statute of limitations for a felony is three years from the date of the offense. 720 ILCS 5/3-5. The time for filing a civil suit for conversion, which is the civil equivalent of theft, is five years. 735 ILCS 5/13-205. However, the statute of limitations does not run when a person is not physically present in a state for an extended period of time.

If you have any questions at all about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for helping you today. Thank you.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

you need to expand on this...can he come after me since I live in LA?....does the statue apply to me bc of my situation being in CA..I am not a resident yet...but will be soon once I get my driver's license....is the date of the offense the date he files the complaint?

Customer reply replied 4 years ago

keep this in layman's terms not giving me a statue

The date of the offense is when the item was allegedly taken.

If your brother wants to sue you, even though you live in LA, he may do so. He can file suit in the Illinois courts, and serve you with notice of the suit in California. If he gets a judgment against you in Illinois, the California courts are required by the Constitution to enforce it. That means that your brother could put a lien on a house owned in California or garnish your California wages.

As far as criminal charges go, the statute of limitations is tolled during the time that you live in California, which means that, since the Illinois police can't knock on your door and arrest you in California, they would get extra time to prosecute. The statute would start running again after you return to Illinois (if you ever do so). It's basically paused on the date you move out of state.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

so how do I remedy this situation...he certainly wants his money back in repurchase of coins that were stolen...and I have no problem in doing that but how do I protect myself with any after effects that he decides he wants to do to me

Customer reply replied 4 years ago

what is the worse that could happen to me since I have no record at all on stealing...could I go to jail?...you say arrested?....am I forced to go to court?

Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I didn't move out of state bcause of this situation...I am on a commission basis so I do not get any steady paycheck

The reason for moving out of state unfortunately doesn't have any impact on the statute of limitations. The best way to protect yourself is to take steps to repay him. There really isn't any way to stop a person from pressing charges against you or suing you. But, if you have an agreement that he will not do anything as long as you make payments, that can help if he tries to sue and you have not missed any payments.

If the state files criminal charges, yes, you will have to go to court. The DA often will not ask for jail for a first offense, but it depends on the facts of the case. If these are extremely valuable items, that makes jail more likely. With a first offense, many people are able to negotiate a suspended sentence, where you serve probation and repay the money - maybe pay a fine or do community service, instead of going to jail.

I have to sign off for a few hours for an appointment. If you have additional questions, I will answer them as soon as I return.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

can you draft a document for me to give to my brother...stating payment arrangements with the understanding that some type of activity needs to be taking place?

I apologize, but we are not able to draft documents for customers. We are only able to provide general information in response to questions.

If you would like to have a lawyer write something up, a good place to find someone is http://www.martindale.com.

Please rate my service positively before signing out, as this is the only way that I get credit for the time I spend helping you. I hope that you are 100% satisfied - otherwise, please reply so we can continue the conversation. Good luck.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

if I put a letter drafted up by an attorney..does it matter where the attorney resides.....my brother stated that the letter should be filed in ct...I don't want to do that....I would have the letter drafted up stating all the facts and his agreement that as long as he gets the replacement of coins back he can not press charges. I would think as long as I abide by the letter even if it goes past 3 years and statue is gone the letter would hold me to the agreement in court right?..he could still sue if I break agreement right?

Since this all happened in Illinois, you would want to talk to a lawyer licensed in Illinois. You can include a clause in the agreement that states that you agree not to raise statute of limitations as a defense if he sues. He could also sue for the breach of contract, and that statute of limitations would start to run when the payment was missed. Anything that you both agree to and sign voluntarily is enforceable against you both.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

to put a letter like this together...ball parkish what would the cost be?...I do not want to be taken advantage of by an attorney in IL...and does this letter that we both sign have to be filed in court? or is it just based on both parties agreeing and holding each other accountable.

Attorney's fees vary dramatically, based on a number of factors. The best way to find someone is to call around. We're unfortunately not able to give estimates.

What you're really talking about is an agreement or a contract, not a letter. It does not need to be filed with the court unless one party violates the agreement and the other is seeking to enforce it.

Please rate my service positively before signing out, as this is the only way that I get credit for the time I spend helping you. I hope that you are 100% satisfied - otherwise, please reply so we can continue the conversation. Good luck.
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31,008
Experience: Lawyer
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I have been in contact with my brother and were starting to agree on the items that needs to be returned. You mentioned that the statue of limitations is 3 years from the offense...is that 3 years from when it was found out?...coins were taken in 2010, a year later 2011 he found out about it, that's because he is out of state. So it would be from 2011? In your opinion how should the letter be structured, what items should be covered in the letter that protects him and me. When I contact an attorney in IL on this matter what do I tell them so a letter can be constructed?....Thanks

Again, the statute of limitations does not run when a person is living out of state and therefore cannot be arrested or served with notice of a lawsuit. Typically, the statute of limitations begins to run when the crime occurs. For a civil case, the statute can be delayed to the time when a person reasonably should have discovered the loss.

Any lawyer that you contact will have their own letter-writing style. Even if I were able to give you an exact format, they likely wouldn't follow it. Essentially, you're asking that they draft an offer to negotiate a settlement. The lawyer will ask questions to get the information they need to draft the letter. If you start by explaining the situation, any lawyer that you hire will take you through the process.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I have no clue what my brother has done behind the scenes...being that he is a carpenter living in NV and I am in CA. He could use the union to help him with the situation. He would have to file a complaint in IL right?...I know he went to the police dept but again I am here in LA. So nothing has come to me in a form of a letter. I am being pro active and want to start giving him some compensation for the coins that have been taken before I send the letter. I am sure the letter is not something that is just going to be done real quick. As I contact a lawyer I do not want to be taken advantage either. This is just a letter with verbiage that protects me no matter where I live and protects him that if I don't come up with what he wants in a reasonable amount of time he can come after me. I am on a commission basis so I have no salary per say from an employer, nor do I have a house, I just rent. The main thing here is I want to make sure that a felony does not get filed against me, that could hurt my license. As long as I am acting and communicating that should not happen. He just wants his coins back with interest.

I can certainly understand why you don't want him to charge you with a felony. Unfortunately, there is no unilateral way for you to stop him. You can pay him for the coins, or return anything that you have, but he has to be willing to negotiate. That's where a local attorney can help. If you talk to a few different lawyers, you may find someone who is willing to negotiate/write a letter for a flat rate, with additional charges if you require more assistance later. How long the process takes will depend in part on your brother and how willing he is to negotiate/listen, which makes it hard to estimate.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

for the process to take place he would have to file something in IL first right?....can he or someone contact the police dept in CA and knock on my door without an order? You mentioned in an earlier response that he can has to file the suit first in IL, then the order can go to CA and be pursued here correct? If I visit Chicago...it would probably be in my best interests that I do not tell him that I am going to Chicago right? I worry about a warrant for my arrest...can that happen while I am visiting? I would only be there for a few days.

Yes, you could be arrested in Chicago if you were there, even if only for a few minutes. If Illinois has a warrant for your arrest, and you are apprehended in California (or even, for example, stopped for speeding), the law allows California to transport you back to Illinois to face the charges.

Police do not need a court order to knock on someone's door and have a conversation. They only need a warrant to enter without permission.
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