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N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 9332
Experience:  attorney at self
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I'm in a complicated situation, but will try to give the

Customer Question

I'm in a complicated situation, but will try to give the most pertinent facts initially.
The husband of a woman whom I consider a good friend found out about 16 months ago that his SSN had been mixed up with that of a person who died. So as far as SSA is concerned he's dead, despite the fact that he's been to SSA offices on many occasions trying to prove he is in fact alive and well. SSA has of course been of no help in resolving this problem, and as a result he's lost access to his retirement account/pension/all other funds, and they lost their house. He had been retired from the military, but has gone back to work doing consulting & trying to find creative ways to get paid.
He asked 3-4 months ago to borrow a large sum of money from me ($27K initially, then another $13K a few days later). He dropped some comments about an IRS bill and something else coming due soon, but offered no real specifics, other than to say they were about to be evicted from where we're living, that he was "in a desperate situation", that he really needed my help, and that he could repay me with some moneies he had coming in by the end of this year. I explained that to loan him that money I'd have to withdraw it from my IRA (and since I live on SSDI and don't work, that money cannot be placed back into the IRA). He told me I could instead set up a (some kind of) Trust that would actually be better than an IRA, and that he would help me do that. (He claims to have had some very high level experience with at least the regulatory side of banking in a past job.) When I asked about documentation of our agreement, he said he'd be glad to sign an Unsecured Promissory Note. Since I trust her implicitly and care for her dearly, and she has a number of medical issues, I panicked at the thought of her being homeless, and withdrew $27K the next day and gave it to him. He asked that I not tell her about our arrangement, saying she doesn't want him to bother her with details of how he's paying their bills, and becomes very upset if he does.
I started coming to my senses soon after that, and began having some concerns. I refused to sign the Promissory Note he presented me a few days later because it was not sufficiently detailed, and he had made it out to reflect a one year loan term. I'll save other details for later, but my concerns have grown over time, and I no longer trust this man as I once did. I have subsequently told him I cannot lend him the other $13K he initially requested until I get another opinion, and that clearly upset him. I am not well myself, and have already let this situation go too long without clarification; but it's clear I need to get moving on this matter ASAP. My questions are these: 1) Is an Unsecured Promissory Note the best option for documenting our agreement? I'm thinking it is not, but I don't know what other options I have. 2) Should I seek the counsel of a professional (attorney, CPA) before I go any further? If an attorney, what legal area do I need? 3) Since the first date by which he told me he could repay/start repaying me has passed, should I email him and ask when I can expect payment, or should I wait until I've spoken to a professional? I don't want to make him feel threatened or offended, possibly giving him a reason to get angry, NOT start paying, etc. 4) Are there other things I need to know that I'm not asking?
Thanks in advance,
Nikki C
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Attorney2 replied 8 months ago.

Welcome to JA and thank you for your question. I will be the Attorney that will be assisting you.

Expert:  Attorney2 replied 8 months ago.

The first thing I would do is see if he ever reported the SS number issue to the property law enforcement authorities. Even if Social Security won't do anything the Federal govenment will. Unless he has contacted the property I am suspect of his story from the get go.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
1) What "property law enforcement authorities"? The local police have no jurisdiction over the SSA, and I'm not sure what "property law enforcement authorities" means. I've done some of my own research on this issue, and there is no federal law enforcement authority that has jurisdiction over the SSA. (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/social-security-mix-heres/) (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/getting-social-security-admit-youre-alive-killer/) (http://oig.ssa.gov/newsroom/blog/2014/10/title…explaining-our-law-enforcement-authority-again) Even if there were, how would I find out that information? Give me specific information, please. I don't think you have a clue what you're talking about here.2) I've seen some of the stack of papers he's written to the SSA, the IRS, etc. I believe his wife 100%, even if I have some doubts about him. He's a former ranking military, officer and not only can they also not help him, they can't tell him who to talk to other than the SSA. There are a number of other factors that make me believe his SSA problem is real, so let's not debate that aspect of my situation.3) You say "Unless he has contacted the property..." WHAT "property"? If you are an attorney, you have unacceptably poor communication skills.4) I don't think you really read my question. Assuming that his SSN HAS IN FACT been mixed up with someone else's, could you please just answer the questions I asked about the appropriate legal document, my possible need for professional counsel, etc.?
Expert:  Attorney2 replied 8 months ago.

My apologies "proper"

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
No crime has been committed here, so no law enforcement agency would or could get involved. It's a clerical error at best on the part of the SSA if they transposed one digit of someone's SSN.
Please have me transferred to a more suitable attorney. You don't seem qualified to answer my questions.
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 8 months ago.

New Expert here.

I am not sure that no crime was committed, he may have obtained the money from you under false pretenses, which is a type of theft. Replacing a social security card does not seem very difficult, see

https://faq.ssa.gov/ics/support/kbanswer.asp?QuestionID=3755

You asked:

1) Is an Unsecured Promissory Note the best option for documenting our agreement? No. A secured note is much safer.

2) Should I seek the counsel of a professional (attorney, CPA) before I go any further? Yes

If an attorney, what legal area do I need? A collections attorney.

3) Since the first date by which he told me he could repay/start repaying me has passed, should I email him and ask when I can expect payment, or should I wait until I've spoken to a professional? I would wait until after you consult a local attorney.

You can get a free consultation from some of the collections attorneys listed by location here.

I hope this information is helpful.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Unfortunately, no, it's not helpful. You apparently didn't read my original scenario OR the entire subsequent conversation.1) This isn't a matter of replacing a social security card. I'm not ignorant. The SSA has incorrectly declared this man DEAD, so he has no access to ANY of his assets, including his SSA benefits, military pension, any paycheck, etc. Getting SSA to correct this situation is virtually impossible. PLEASE read ALL the previous info, including the links I sent the previous attorney, to understand the situation in its entirety.2) Getting a Secured Note isn't possible, since he is officially "deceased" in every official database there is, and has no access to any of his assets. What is he supposed to secure it against? (Again, please read the preceding thread in its entirety.)3) If he did obtain money from me under false pretenses, how would I go about proving that? What kind of theft is that considered? To whom would I report that, and with what besides "he said, she said" as documentation? I don't believe any reasonable law enforcement person would/could take action in this scenario. If I'm wrong, please tell me how.4) A collections attorney sounds like it might be the best option; but given that your preceding answers weren't based on an accurate understanding of my scenario, I'm not sure that's the case. So I won't proceed with this until/if I receive a corrected response from you.5) Thanks for the reference to the collections attorney listings. That may (or may not) prove to be helpful.PLEASE don't reply to this unless you're willing to take the time to read everything I've written and understand the situation correctly. Just sign off the case so I can get a refund. I'm ill, and can't spend any more time dealing with people who aren't doing their jobs properly.