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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 117370
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Customer Question

I already thought I sent this but perhaps it didn't go thru. starting again: My husband died in 2011. He had two partnerships with his siblings, one with his brother only and the other with brother and sister. My husband left everything to me to use as I see fit for our family. This included whatever was his share of monies in the partnership checking accounts. His siblings felt otherwise and took advantage of a situation to use the monies in the checking accounts of both partnerships to benefit the sister. Everything they did was violating the partnership agreements. She wrote checks for personal espenses, etc. He allowed her to remain in a rental that the brother and my husband owned and without paying rent for the entire year of 2011. The monies in the account went to pay for property tax and insurance etc. , using my funds so she could live there with no cost, not even paying the expenses. My sister in law later used the two way partnership checking account to phone pay a bill which wasfor her with my brother in law's help as he gave her the account number to do so. I found the receipts with her hand writing indicating the confirmation number of the phoned in paymnt! I found a spread sheet showing that My brother inlaw "gifted" her a sum of $13K and her son another $3K from the two way partnership, saying it was from both he and I! I never gave permission to do this and I believe gifting from a company is illegal, not to mention this being theft. I, so far, cannot find how he did it but am awaiting some statements from the brokerage firm where the account was. So far, all I have to show what transpired are copies of the checkbook stubs, but not the checks . I am working on getting them as well. The reason it took me so long to get up enough nerve to try and recoup is that I was so devastated at the loss of my husband, and my mother who was dying at the same time. These people go t together numerous times while I was caring for my mother at home on Hospice immediately after my husband died. These people had not only intimidated me, but held something over my head w hich was enourmous. There was a considerable amount of a particular stock held by both brothers and some was tenant in common and joint tenant in common. It was said to me "we could just keep it", so I felt I couldn't stir things up by complaining about all the check writing. I finally got my husband's share because the income was reported under a tin number, showing it was in the partnership as always. Furthermore, my kids wanted me to let it go so I would be able to move forward and enjoy my life. I tried, but these people never stop. I also found a hand written note by my sister in laws son, which indicates that he was questioning the brother in law about having to pay interest on a $90K loan. The note reads "Is my understanding correct that I need only pay the interest on the $90K loan for the year 2012 as the partnership covered for theprevious years?" This indicates that there were some s henanigans there as well. All without my knowledge. I can't go back before my husband passed, but I feel I have every right to have a say in what happens after he died. Now, my sister in law wants me to pay for her expenses (1/2) for driveway maintenance (there is a ROW THAT I USE) and I refuse to do so because I did take care of half of the driveway my own way and my own expense. She is now telling people that I owe her money! She also put an illegal shed in front ofmy home with all sorts of junk behind it in full view of my house. I was so fed up that I called the town and they made her move it forward but the junk is still there. Of course, as the usual, the person who does somethng illegal and gets caught and fined is now "the victim" and because of this, I am the bad guy. Since I am trying to sell my place, this is detrimental to the salebut sh e says if Ipay her, she will "consider" doing something about the junk. I will not be blackmailed into paying her when I did half the driveway, so now Ive had it. What I want to do is to surface all the checks that were illegally written, including the one my brother inlaw used to give her another $13K but I have to find it first. There are many things they did which was to defraud the IRS, making false figures on the partnership tax returns, etc etc but I don't want to get into all that due to the stress it will put on me. These people have cost me so much that I don't want to have to hire a lawyer wh o wil just suck my funds dry but to the proper authorities who will handle it . I need leverage. can you advise? I was also thinking of going to the Dept of Senior Services and making an elder abuse claim as they have suggested. They have the power to get bank records, etc. but some of these people are on a p;ower play and get carried away, not staying n the perameters o f what they should. Any ideas? I'd like to get back what my brother in law gifted plus my share of all the checks she wrote for her and my share of what she was to pay for rent that she never paid. The other lawyer said I' d have to get a forensic accountant but that would be so costly. As long as I have the stubs, can that suffice or do I have to get the cancelled checks?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

I am afraid that the first thing is that the lawyer you spoke to is correct, this is going to be a costly endeavor for you to start. Now, with that said, if you are able to prove the fraud that took place here that you describe, you have the potential to recover any attorney's fees and costs that you incurred in suing.

The partners cannot self deal and embezzle money from the corporate accounts for their personal expenses. That is embezzlement/theft and even fraud. You can sue them as a succeeding member of the partnership, even if you are only a member entitled to proceeds, for the damage done to the partnership and theft and conversion of your share of the partnership assets. You need to hurry, the statute of limitations for fraud is getting close to expiring as is the limitation for breach of contract, both are 6 years from the date it occurred. So if this happened in 2011 and 2012, the time is getting close and you need to get a local attorney as soon as possible to file suit.

You should be looking for a corporate law attorney more than a real estate attorney and they can pursue the partnership and other business violations committed by his siblings.