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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102506
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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A socalled friend in Haifa owes me roughly $ 200,000 I

Customer Question

A socalled friend in Haifa owes me roughly $ 200,000 I loaned him unsecured about 17 years ago to help him
overcome some financial problems. He promised to pay me back plus interest but never did. I am looking for a local lawyer to help me recover the money.
Please contact me.
Thank you
Thomas Boehm
Chicago USA
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Hi Thomas,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

The statute of limitations to pay back a debt in Illinois is unfortunately only 10 years. If you loaned someone money 17 years ago and they have not made any efforts to pay it back, it is too late to file a lawsuit. Most lawyers would not accept this type of case, because they cannot ethically represent a debt as collectible when the statute of limitations has expired. The only exceptions would be if your friend had made some payments during the past 10 years, or if he's moved out of state (because the limitations period is paused while he lives elsewhere). In order to get a judgment, you'd need to get some sort of written promise to resume payments on the debt to give to a judge.

I apologize that this was probably not the Answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand. Please rate my answer positively to ensure I am paid for the time I spent answering your question. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. Thank you.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The debtor lives in Israel. I live in illinois. He has made several small payments some years back
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Then you can file in Illinois, but it'll be tough to collect a judgment unless he still has assets in your state. An Illinois judgment isn't valid in Israel. You may want to talk to an Israel lawyer to get information about filing a lawsuit there and how to collect a judgment if he doesn't have bank accounts or other property located in Illinois.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

If he DOES have assets/bank accounts in Illinois, a good place to find a lawyer who can help you with the lawsuit is

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I thought you were an israeli lawyer in israel. I googled for a lawyer in israel and was connected with you. Whats going on ?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

No. This is a question/answer website based in the United States. I'm not sure how you wound up here, but customer service can close out your question.

Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
Your previous expert has opted out and I have opted in. Ani lo orech din ba-aretz, aval ani yodea kzat shel ha din m'Yisroel ve ani orech din b'USA.
Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.
Do you mind if we "reset" and begin anew? I'd like to ask you a few questions, please. Some of this information you may have already provided, but I want to be double-sure. Thanks in advance for your patience.
1) What year specifically did you loan the money?
2) Was the contract IN WRITING? In an email? Fax? Or simply verbal?
3) Throughout this time, has the borrower ever acknowledged the contract? How - in writing, in an email, via a fax, verbal? If so, when was the last time that he acknowledged this?
4) If the contract was in writing, was it in English or Hebrew?
5) Where were you living when the loan was made? Where was he living?
6) When was the last time that he made a payment?
7) Where do you live now? Where does he live now?
Thanks in advance for your reply.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I only saw your message now. I was about to send a complaint about the service requesting help in Israel and not Illinois.
The answers are:
1 ) 1999
2) in writing
3) in writing in all forms mentioned . many times over the past 10 years.
4)English, some parts in Hebrew
6) I am currently not anywhere close to my files but believe it was 2005 or so
Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Thanks for your response, Tom. On this website, I do not always get to give good news, and this is one of these times.
When you say "USA" in your responses to #5 and #7, I am going to assume you mean "Illinois." If you meant differently, please reply and let me know (and please be more specific, as this can change my answer).
There something called "statute of limitations." This is the time window that you have within which you can file a lawsuit.
Even if you stretch the statute of limitations to begin at time of last payment (which is a common thing to do), this would be beginning in 2005. In Illinois, the statute of limitations if 10 years at the most for a breach of contract. In Israel, the statute of limitations is 7 years at the most for a breach of contract (not relating to real estate).
As such, out of the only two jurisdictions someone in your situation has to file a lawsuit (Illinois or Israel) - both have expired statutes of limitations. Thus if someone in your situation filed a lawsuit now, it would likely be dismissed if the debtor hired a capable attorney.
The only way to possibly re-start statute of limitations is to have him make another payment and/or acknowledge the debt in writing again. If they do so, then the statute of limitations restarts - you could file in Illinois (since the contract took place in Illinois and you still live there) and pursue him for it. An Illinois judgment can then be domesticated in Israel and enforced there if he does not pay. But that is IF he makes another payment and/or acknowledges the debt in writing again - if he does not, the statute of limitations makes such a claim moot.
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