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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:53 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 5:50 am
Posts: 295
So not only did they defraud your wife for $17,000, but they are also holding your niece hostage? Oh, that's just lovely.

I would not play their game. I just wouldn't. You have to stand up for yourselves first and report the fraud. Maybe in a few years it will all be forgotten. If not, it is their loss.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:25 am 
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Posts: 171
Location: Colorado
Yikes, that's a rough one to deal with.

This nasty situation is entirely of their doing though, not yours. Only they can really take reponsibility and see it resolved in the best way for you. If they are truly willing to work towards having the debt transferred to their names, then I also suspect the credit card companies will find a way to work with you.

My guess is they aren't going to be willing to work with you, either blatantly refusing or passive aggressively sabotaging the process. If this is the case, then the gloves have to come off. Police report, the works. If I smelled even a hint of unwillingness to accept responsibility, I'd go this route. Family or not, these people have stolen from you. If you take on this debt, you're saying you'd rather they had all the crap they bought instead of the things you'd do with that money, like college funds for your kids, IRA contributions, or even just a trip to Disney to see Mickey with the kids. Personally, I ate enough rice and beans getting myself out of debt that I'm sure as hell not going to do it for someone who stole from my wife and kids.

Having said that, I'm not against considering helping them out after they assume full responsibility for their actions. But the form that help takes will be my decision, and not theirs.

Best of luck, hope this one works out for you. I'd be interested in the follow-up.

regards,
Zulu


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:40 am 
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Location: Birmingham, AL
Jericho is right.

If the in-laws truly cared, they wouldn't have committed fraud. That pretty much seals it up.

Contact the card companies, cancel the cards, and protect yourself. Blood is thicker than water, but not if it has done you and your wife wrong.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:57 am 

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 10:52 am
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As others have pointed it I guess it really comes down to is your wife willing to pay the 17.000 on their behalf becuse it's pretty much assured they won't.

When people talk about being between a rock and a hard place I think this is what they had in mind.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:19 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:14 pm
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Location: Maryland
You need to have a serious 1 on 1 conversation with your wife. She is obviously putting her families interests ahead of both of you. And that will affect your marriage and your financial well being. Family is very important but when you are married that nuclear family (you and you wife and your children) need to be #1 to anything else. Her family obviously didn't care about her well being.

I'd tell the wife she has two options

1. call the credit card company
2. call a good divorce lawyer

Maybe she will realize how serious the situation is then.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:31 pm 
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I feel very sorry for your wife. Through no major fault of her own, she is being asked to choose between her relationship with her family of origin and $17k.

I appreciate that it's not you that's making them choose, and if one could be objective about it then the solution is probably to choose the $17k, since they have committed fraud. On the other hand, it's almost impossible for someone in your wife's situation to be objective about it. Who wants to choose between money and family?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:44 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:14 pm
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Location: Maryland
plonkee wrote:
I feel very sorry for your wife. Through no major fault of her own, she is being asked to choose between her relationship with her family of origin and $17k.

I appreciate that it's not you that's making them choose, and if one could be objective about it then the solution is probably to choose the $17k, since they have committed fraud. On the other hand, it's almost impossible for someone in your wife's situation to be objective about it. Who wants to choose between money and family?


Sadly I think her family already made the choice for her. :evil: If my family members stole $17k from me I would be livid. The fact that your wife is not being "aggressive" as you put it worries me. I would be at their door demanding answers.

You two have the leverage here and it sounds like your wife is afraid to use it. Its very simple you tell them they have 5 days to find $17k on day 6 you make a call to the police and the credit company. Since they are family you are being nice by offering 5 days. If these were strangers you would have called in 5 minutes correct?

If your wife refuses to do this you have serious problems.. and this will happen again and again.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:19 pm
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I'm with Jericho, too. :(

The problem is, you have no reason to believe they won't do this again. Nor do you have any reason to believe they won't do this to your niece. Trashing the credit records of minor children is increasingly common. http://www.idtheftcenter.org/artman2/publish/v_fact_sheets/Fact_Sheet_120.shtml

Covering the 17K isn't going to protect your niece; there will always be some other emotional blackmail that can be applied. Your niece does not deserve to be used like this, but you can't stop it. The only thing you can do, in my opinion, is walk and hopes this brings them back to their senses before they really mess up her life. The best thing I think you can do for your niece is to do your damnedest to stop this now.


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 Post subject: Tell your wife it's for their own good :(
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:13 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:24 am
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I know how horrible a situation this is for you... about 5 years ago, I noticed my checking account was quite a bit lower than it should have been. When I checked the transaction history, I discovered a number of checks had cleared which I had not written. Long story short, turns out my sister had stolen one of my checkbooks and was writing checks on my account. Unfortunately, this was just one more step in a long process of selfish choices that my sister had been making for years. She also has a daughter, and our family spent ungodly sums of money bailing her out of trouble for the sake of my niece.

The problem is, bailing them out only encourages more of the same behavior.

I did end up filing a police report (had to in order to get my bank to return the money to me). Not much came of it, probably because when I first filed the report, I didn't have any proof that it was my sister. As a result, she suffered no consequences for her actions. Shortly afterwards, she stole money from a friend of our mother's while house-sitting. The lady also filed a police report... but she pushed. She took it to court, and my sister had to deal with some SERIOUS consequences. She had to pay the lady back, pay all court fees, pay a fine, and it went on her criminal record (but no jail time, I don't think your wife should have to worry about that).

The thing is, in the end it was a really great thing that she was caught and prosecuted. Experiencing suffering as a result of her actions made her realize how bad her choices had been. In the last few years she has completely changed; she's gone from someone that I can barely stand to be around, to someone I actually enjoy hanging out with and am proud to call family.

There's no guarantee that your MIL or SIL would have the same reaction, but you can certainly guarantee that if they get away with this they will only continue in this behavior. It's quite likely they would actually get worse :( Try explaining it to your wife from this perspective... it might help.

And good luck!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:47 am 
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Woodchuck312 wrote:
plonkee wrote:
I feel very sorry for your wife. Through no major fault of her own, she is being asked to choose between her relationship with her family of origin and $17k.

I appreciate that it's not you that's making them choose, and if one could be objective about it then the solution is probably to choose the $17k, since they have committed fraud. On the other hand, it's almost impossible for someone in your wife's situation to be objective about it. Who wants to choose between money and family?


Sadly I think her family already made the choice for her. :evil: If my family members stole $17k from me I would be livid. The fact that your wife is not being "aggressive" as you put it worries me. I would be at their door demanding answers.

You two have the leverage here and it sounds like your wife is afraid to use it. Its very simple you tell them they have 5 days to find $17k on day 6 you make a call to the police and the credit company. Since they are family you are being nice by offering 5 days. If these were strangers you would have called in 5 minutes correct?

If your wife refuses to do this you have serious problems.. and this will happen again and again.


This is all true, but I think when it's your own family it can be hard not to see the wood for the trees, so to speak. We shouldn't judge his wife for making what is clearly for her, a difficult choice. It is very difficult to accept and believe that your own family is not looking out and caring for you.

Southerngent: I think it would be a really bad idea to *make* your wife do anything she doesn't want to. I think it will backfire against you. I'm not suggesting that you are going to, simply that you (and anyone else in a similar circumstance) shouldn't.

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In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them. John von Neumann

http://plonkee.com and http://thereligiousatheist.com


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:24 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:47 am
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Hello Southern Gent,
This reply is my first post. I, like you, have been a long time lurker (Thanks for a fabulous site, Mr. GRS! I really, really like your articles!)
I am not going to post advice about how to get out of your particular financial crisis, because I haven't been there. But I am going to ask you to consider trying the following:

1) Start calling the woman whom you refer to as "her mom", "my MIL" by her first name (at your house, not here on the boards), because she has not earned the title "mom" and she is not acting like a mom. Same with your SIL. This will help your wife to see these people as regular people, not as people with special powers & rights. I am going to go out on a limb here and guess (because I have been here) that the woman who gave birth to your wife has never treated her with respect and that she has always stolen her identity,
it's just this time she got money for it.

2) Ask your wife what advice she would give her niece, if someone did that to her?

and 3) Ask your wife if she is setting a good example of self-respect for her niece.

...then post MIL/SIL's cars for sale on Craigslist!
:wink:

I hope you find a way to get these Emotional Vampires/Sociopaths out of your life! Good Luck!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:35 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:59 pm
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I feel very bad for your wife in this situation, and like a previous poster, I think it would be a bad idea for you to force her to take action against her family. I dearly love my husband, but I also love my parents and siblings no matter how badly they treat me. I don't think I could report them to the police over money - even this much money. Do they have a car or something else of value they can "give" you until they pay off the $17,000? If they have no assets and are unwilling to pay you back, I would protect myself from this in the future but pay off the money myself. I would let your wife know that if they do this again, you will be forced to take legal action. Your marriage and your wife are more important than this money. You don't want her to end up resenting you even though you are right and her mother and sister are wrong.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 7:30 am 
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rxchick wrote:
I feel very bad for your wife in this situation, and like a previous poster, I think it would be a bad idea for you to force her to take action against her family. I dearly love my husband, but I also love my parents and siblings no matter how badly they treat me. I don't think I could report them to the police over money - even this much money. Do they have a car or something else of value they can "give" you until they pay off the $17,000? If they have no assets and are unwilling to pay you back, I would protect myself from this in the future but pay off the money myself. I would let your wife know that if they do this again, you will be forced to take legal action. Your marriage and your wife are more important than this money. You don't want her to end up resenting you even though you are right and her mother and sister are wrong.

No offense, but can I join your family? I'd love to be able to defraud someone for a free $17,000 with no repercussions.

You shouldn't force you wife to do something against her will. I agree. But you also shouldn't let your wife's family affect your family like this. Someone above asked some good questions to share with your wife like what does this teach the niece, anyways?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 7:43 am 

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I think it is easy to say that you would call the police on your wife's family, but when you are actually in the situation, it is not so easy. What if his wife agrees to call the police but then resents him for it later? I am not suggesting that they get away with this. Try to take something of value from them and wait for karma to take its course. Yes, it is not fair but you have to protect your relationship with your wife.

As far as what the niece will learn, her mother will probably tell her that her mean Uncle and Aunt put Mom and Grandma in jail because they really needed money. I doubt the niece will get the real story no matter what happens.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:31 am 
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rxchick wrote:
I think it is easy to say that you would call the police on your wife's family, but when you are actually in the situation, it is not so easy. What if his wife agrees to call the police but then resents him for it later? I am not suggesting that they get away with this. Try to take something of value from them and wait for karma to take its course. Yes, it is not fair but you have to protect your relationship with your wife.

As far as what the niece will learn, her mother will probably tell her that her mean Uncle and Aunt put Mom and Grandma in jail because they really needed money. I doubt the niece will get the real story no matter what happens.


How do you take something from them without ending up as the meanies anyway? To me that sounds like replying to bad behaviour with worse. Also sounds like an escalation such that they could then have some justification into going to the police.

I'm not trying to be a jerk, just not really sure what you mean. If they're willing to hand over their car, shouldn't they be just as willing to have the debt signed over into their name? If truly willing to take responsibility, I doubt the police would ever be involved.

The niece is probably going to end up with anything but the real story, I agree. But I do think that the best chance of her coming out ahead longterm is by SouthernGent and his wife holding the MIL/SIL responsible for their actions, even if that means the authorities get involved. My $0.02.

Zulu


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