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Ex disappeared with my money, and the car I bought him - All Woman - Jamaica Observer
All Woman

Ex disappeared with my money, and the car I bought him

DEAR MRS MACAULAY,

A few months ago my ex said he was buying a car and needed money to help fix it up and put it on the road so it could make money for both of us. I gave him $100,000, with the agreement that if he decided to leave the relationship, he would have to pay me back. Since I gave him that money I haven't seen him or the car. I made numerous attempts to contact him, but all he keeps doing is disrespecting me and blocked my number, and if he does take my calls, it's numerous expletives. How do I get him to repay my money?

I have been dealing with human rights for over 50 years. I therefore consider that I am old enough and experienced enough to ask hard questions of people who behave like you have done, in lending money to your ex in the first place, and then not doing anything at the time to secure your rights in a written document with his full and proper name, his address, and his promise to pay you (properly named) back the sum with interest at a specific rate, if and when the transactional agreement between you both was to fail, and he withdraws from it. Such a document should have been signed by him and his signature witnessed. You could also have insisted that he add your name to the title of the car when purchased and go with him to the Collectorate of Taxes on the transfer of the title to ensure by your presence that you were entered as a joint owner of it.

I am not saying that you did not have a binding agreement with him to repay you, on your oral contract, but that you were making your attempts to obtain your repayment from him, by not having such a written document, much harder.

So, I now ask, what possessed you to lend him money, and what to most people is a large sum? Did you, like some other women, think that it would strengthen your relationship if you helped him out of his difficulty in having his car fixed? Did you in fact know for a fact that this sum was indeed requested by him to fix the said car? How well did you know him and his character? Surely, you must have known that he was not trustworthy? Please, please always use your head and the brains God gave you whenever you are approached by someone who has no real ties to you, to lend them money. The whole transaction was a business one and should have been handled as such. Too many women seem to forget this and end up losing their savings and sometimes even their real property which they permit “their men” to use and borrow. Protect yourselves by treating business as business and romance as romance! They are separate forms of relationships and conduct.

How do you get him to repay your money?

I am sure that you know the answer yourself, which is that you must take him to court. You can in the first instance report him to the police because from the circumstances you have related in your letter, he clearly intended to get the money from you and then abscond with it and the subject vehicle from which when allegedly repaired, you were to both make some money. This was clearly a false pretence. He did not mean it and he did not intend to do anything like that. He therefore obtained the money from you by false pretences. This is a criminal offence and he can be arrested, charged, be tried and if convicted be subject to sanctions for a fine with a term of imprisonment; or he may be permitted in the course of the trial to pay you back in an effort to lower his penalty.

If through the criminal case you do not get repaid in any way or form, after its conclusion, you can sue him for your money, adding a claim for interest from the date of the loan to the date of payment, at a specific interest rate, depending on where you had withdrawn the money and thereby lost interest in having done so. You should also ask for an order for him to pay your costs of the claim. This is where you will see that you made the situation harder, as I said above. You see, since I suspect that you do not know his address and you have not mentioned anything about his working at anything, save for needing to repair a car he was buying, this makes things worse, as you do not in fact know if he actually purchased the car. If he did not buy it, then his criminal intent is made even clearer, if he did not in fact purchase the vehicle, or if he did, that it did not need any repairs or none to the extent of the sum of the loan.

Since you do not seem to have his address, you would also have to apply at the time you file your claim in the Parish Court of your parish, also to have him served by substituted service instead of personal service, by giving notice of your proceedings against him through two or three advertisements in a daily newspaper over a period of two or three weeks, which generally appears in the legal notices sections. Then you will have to prove that you did the adverts by cutting the pages from the newspaper on each of the days it appeared and file them in the court, which will satisfy the order for substituted service. The court may also add that you should have a set of your claim documents served on a near relative of his to try to ensure his appearance in court.

On the return date of your case, if he does not attend, your claim may be dealt with that day or on another date fixed for a default hearing due to his failure to appear. In these proceedings you will give your evidence of the facts of the loan and his agreement to repay you in the event of his decision to leave the relationship, which he did by absconding, and of all your efforts to get him to repay you and his failure to do so and his abuses of you. You should also give evidence of which account you got the money from and of the fact of losing interest on it as a result. You should know the rate of interest as the judge would in all likelihood ask you about this. Then you should say that you want him to pay all your costs of the case. If and when you get your judgment, you should get certified copies of it and as soon as you know where to find him, you can take one certified copy of it to the court and apply for it to be executed by the bailiff of the court.

I would in fact advise you to retain a lawyer to assist you, but you can of course decide to obtain the assistance of the clerk of court to draw up your claim and particulars of claim and your application for substituted service and proceed with your case yourself in court. Every citizen has the right to do their cases themselves but they must make sure that they follow the law and all the rules of evidence and procedure required to do all that is required to successfully pursue the case.

I hope I have answered your question and that you will decide to act against this man, who took advantage of you, with criminal intent. I also hope that you protect yourself better in the future.

All the very best.

Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.

DISCLAIMER:

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.

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