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I live in Illinois. Recently had work done on our heating/cooling

I live in Illinois....
I live in Illinois. Recently had work done on our heating/cooling system. Work was not good and did not work. Contacted the person (his own business) he came checked it out stated that system was no good would require $5000 + $1600 (what we already paid). I filed a small claim (he did not show for court) and judgment was awarded to us. We are not the only people he has done this to. In the past two months there are two judgments (ours and 1 other for over $12,000). I have contacted the State's Attorney (can't help - civil), Attorney General (can't help- already been to court), and in another state he has so many things against him he is "untouchable" is what I was told. I have filed a complaint with the State of Indiana (that is where he lives and business is operated). I will have no heat come winter because of this man-business. I do not have the money nor am in the position to borrow any to get our system in working order. What is my recourse?
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Answered in 1 minute by:
7/29/2013
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34,305
Experience: Began practicing law in 1992
Verified

JD 1992 :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

JD 1992 :

What is your recourse as to what?

Customer:

How can I get my money back and prevent him from doing again?

JD 1992 :

You can't really prevent him from doing it to someone else although posting reviews about him on places like yelp.com, angieslist, etc. will probably help.

Customer:

How do I get my money back?

JD 1992 :

What you are going to need to do is 1) do post-judgment discovery to determine where his assets are located, 2) register your judgment as a foreign judgment in his state, and 3) begin garnishing bank accounts, seizing accounts receivable, seizing equipment, etc.

JD 1992 :

Did you get the judgment against him or against his business or both?

Customer:

Can I do this myself or do I need an attorney? Judgment was against both.

JD 1992 :

You are allowed to do it yourself but it is very, very difficult. If you get an attorney to do it then you can ask the court to award more money for attorney's fees.

JD 1992 :

You would be much better served by hiring an attorney who specializes in collections work.

Customer:

How can this individual be "untouchable" with so many judgments against him?

JD 1992 :

The most likely way is he doesn't have any assets, he lives hand to mouth. Many contractors use the money from one job to pay for another one and they never put anything in the bank, don't own anything worthwhile, etc.

JD 1992 :

However, if you garnish bank accounts or seize property you are usually the first one paid out of that.

JD 1992 :

Sometimes money he owes to the government comes first but not usually.

Customer:

What about tax returns, would I be able to garnish those?

Customer:

I am sorry, tax refunds?

JD 1992 :

No, creditors can't garnish tax returns from the IRS. Only for taxes, student loans, and child support

Customer:

So come January he will have a sizeable return (he has 6 dependents) - I would not be able to touch that? He has a business (IDK if it is registered anywhere except in his head) what can I do there?

JD 1992 :

No, you can't garnish his return directly from the IRS. If you can time it just right you can seize the bank account when he deposits it and that is allowed.

Customer:

This man is a conartist. There are 27 judgments against him in my county alone.

JD 1992 :

If the business is not a corporation then you can seize any accounts it has, property it owns, if you can find money he is owed you can garnish that, etc.

Customer:

No, it is not a corporation. Just a small town business. Can I publicly warn people against him and not get into trouble?

JD 1992 :

Sure, as long as you tell the truth there is nothing he can sue you for.

JD 1992 :

Not successfully anyway.

Customer:

Facebook is a mighty powerful place to get the word out.

JD 1992 :

It is, as is Yelp.

JD 1992 :

What you probably want to do is make an appointment and talk to a collections lawyer and see if they are interested.

JD 1992 :

They will charge you a portion of what you collect but not having to mess with it is worth a lot.

Customer:

Not familiar with Yelp, but I will be before the day is over. I have an appointment with an attorney in my town today. So I will be following your suggestions. I just need our heating/cooling system replaced and they can have the rest. I am just still confused as to how this person continues to be "untouchable". This is a crime as to what he is doing to people. He is conning people and continues to get away with it. I am determined to find a legal way to stop him.

JD 1992 :

If he is licensed, bonded or insured you could explore looking into that and filing complaints. If he is bonded or insured (which is unlikely) you can file a claim with them. I see you have already filed a complaint with his state but find the specific department that licenses contractors in that state and yours and file the complaint directly with them.

JD 1992 :

If he is required to get permits in towns to do the work then you could file a complaint with the individual towns and let them know he is a con man.

Customer:

Ok, I will look into that. Where do I go to see if he is licensed, bonded or insured?

JD 1992 :

You will have to do that in the post-judgment discovery.

JD 1992 :

There is a website that lists the departments which license contractors for each state at http://www.clsi.com/state_contractor_license_board.htm

JD 1992 :

But the bonding and insurance will have to be done through discovery unless the state requires them to prove the info to them.

JD 1992 :

That website has the correct contact info but they are not always up to date on what fields are required to be licensed and not required.

Customer:

Ok!!!! I thank you very much. You have provided more information and help than I received from my state officials. I am just frustrated that there are people out there that do this. This person was a childhood friend of our children and came recommended. But after what happened I contacted the person who recommended and he did tell me that this person "screwed" him over but had forgiven him. I told him what this person told us about him not paying his bill. Which was so not true. I paid for a service in advance and should have paid after job was complete and done right. Again thank you for your assistance. I must leave now I have to pick my granddaughter up.

JD 1992 :

You're very welcome and I hope you get your money back from them!

JD 1992 :

Best wishes to you on this and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I get credit for my work.

Customer:

Me too!!!! And I will.

Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34,305
Experience: Began practicing law in 1992
Verified
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Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34,305
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Experience: Began practicing law in 1992

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