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  #1  
Old 03-18-2020, 10:31 PM
big401 big401 is offline
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Default Restitution and Coronavirus Stimulus, Inheritance?

When I was 18 I was convicted of wire fraud (ebay) and sentenced to 30 months, $300K restitution and 3 years supervised release. The 300K was grossly overcalculated and there was no way to fight it.

I am now 36 years old and I never really recovered from it because of the handicap it caused on me in life.

Upon my release, I was ordered to pay $200 a month which I did. I attempted to start a painting business which I still do. I knew my options were limited and my probation officer deliberately tried to make me fail. He would show up at my job sites in his probation vehicle to "watch what I was doing" weekly. He also made me drive downtown once a week to do drug test which I never have done drugs before. If I had a job scheduled he basically told me I had to show up to be tested or violated. He basically told me he didn't care about my life, only thing that mattered was that I pay $200 a month.

I lost many jobs due to this but realized it was just for 3 years. On my last month, my probation officer violated me saying that I missed a payment on the final month of probation. He wanted to extend the probation another 3 years, obviously this was just a way for them to keep the money coming in. Luckily the judge overturned it because I had proof of money order that I mailed. They were trying to say they never received it and I was finally released.

I was advised by my lawyer to stop paying the restitution, simply because it would never be paid back even if I paid the $200 month. The 300K also has a rolling 6% interest and has ballooned up to a balance of $881K as of today after 18 years.

I was lucky to get married and found a good soulmate who understands my situation. The only way I can live is through her. I don't own anything at all in my name. I periodically get subpoenas from the Financial Litigation Unit on my credit card and bank account, however I have almost no balance so it leads to nothing. I get letters, however I never respond.

When we file joint tax returns, our tax refunds get seized via the Treasury Offset Program. The only way to avoid this is to adjust our withholdings so that we always owe money. Any federal payment automatically gets seized.

So with this coronavirus issue, they are going to be sending everyone $1,000 stimulus checks. My understanding is that they are going to seize my $1,000 because its coming from the Federal Treasury. What makes it even worse is that now I have to pay taxes on that seized money. This is frustrating!

Also, my parents are getting older. They understand I made a mistake and I am getting crushed for a lifetime for this poor decision I made. We are trying to plan for the future incase something happens to them if there is any money left over. They do not want to see the government take it.

Does anyone have any tips or similar situation? Really sucks
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Old 03-19-2020, 04:53 AM
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The US Attorney in Alaska posted this:
https://www.justice.gov/usao-ak/restitution

"The U.S. Attorney's Office Financial Litigation Unit (FLU) is charged with enforcing orders of restitution, and monitors efforts in enforcing a Judgment if defendant assets or income are identified. FLU will pursue various means to enforce restitution, as its resources permit, on behalf of identified victims for 20 years from the filing date of the Judgment, plus the time period of actual incarceration, or until death of the defendant."

Ask your lawyer when the government can no longer collect restitution from you under the laws as they are today. 20 years plus the 30 months of your sentence (if that's the answer) is better than forever.
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Old 03-19-2020, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big401 View Post
When I was 18 I was convicted of wire fraud (ebay) and sentenced to 30 months, $300K restitution and 3 years supervised release. The 300K was grossly overcalculated and there was no way to fight it.

I am now 36 years old and I never really recovered from it because of the handicap it caused on me in life.

Upon my release, I was ordered to pay $200 a month which I did. I attempted to start a painting business which I still do. I knew my options were limited and my probation officer deliberately tried to make me fail. He would show up at my job sites in his probation vehicle to "watch what I was doing" weekly. He also made me drive downtown once a week to do drug test which I never have done drugs before. If I had a job scheduled he basically told me I had to show up to be tested or violated. He basically told me he didn't care about my life, only thing that mattered was that I pay $200 a month.

I lost many jobs due to this but realized it was just for 3 years. On my last month, my probation officer violated me saying that I missed a payment on the final month of probation. He wanted to extend the probation another 3 years, obviously this was just a way for them to keep the money coming in. Luckily the judge overturned it because I had proof of money order that I mailed. They were trying to say they never received it and I was finally released.

I was advised by my lawyer to stop paying the restitution, simply because it would never be paid back even if I paid the $200 month. The 300K also has a rolling 6% interest and has ballooned up to a balance of $881K as of today after 18 years.

I was lucky to get married and found a good soulmate who understands my situation. The only way I can live is through her. I don't own anything at all in my name. I periodically get subpoenas from the Financial Litigation Unit on my credit card and bank account, however I have almost no balance so it leads to nothing. I get letters, however I never respond.

When we file joint tax returns, our tax refunds get seized via the Treasury Offset Program. The only way to avoid this is to adjust our withholdings so that we always owe money. Any federal payment automatically gets seized.

So with this coronavirus issue, they are going to be sending everyone $1,000 stimulus checks. My understanding is that they are going to seize my $1,000 because its coming from the Federal Treasury. What makes it even worse is that now I have to pay taxes on that seized money. This is frustrating!

Also, my parents are getting older. They understand I made a mistake and I am getting crushed for a lifetime for this poor decision I made. We are trying to plan for the future incase something happens to them if there is any money left over. They do not want to see the government take it.

Does anyone have any tips or similar situation? Really sucks
Your parents need to talk with an estates attorney. They need wills. Depending on the depth of their estate, they may need to create a trust to prevent their estate from going directly to you.
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Old 03-19-2020, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
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Your parents need to talk with an estates attorney. They need wills. Depending on the depth of their estate, they may need to create a trust to prevent their estate from going directly to you.
Thats what we are currently exploring is setting up a Trust...Just trying to figure out the best way to go about it. I don't have extensive knowledge of how trust work. We were thinking of leaving the trust to my wife name...I have no kids.

I also understand that my social security is going to get garnished. Looks like 15% ? I've read about the 20 year collections, however the law is written that they can extend and its wish washy. I am also in the Treasury Offset program and I don't think I can get out of that database.

Technically I had no victims, therefore nobody is pursuing the restitution other then the Financial Litigation Unit. I wrote a software program when I was 16 years old that put "affiliate cookies" on people's computers. When they purchased items from eBay I was paid a small referral commission from eBay...At the time I didn't even know it was illegal to do. I was a smart, dumb kid...Of course the FBI waited to arrest me until a month after I turned 18 years old to arrest me.

I would love to get any advice on what other people are doing. I'm just trying to live a basic productive life..Very frustrated

Last edited by big401; 03-19-2020 at 06:43 PM..
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  #5  
Old 03-22-2020, 11:45 AM
rockchalk1 rockchalk1 is offline
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Your parents need to talk with an estates attorney. They need wills. Depending on the depth of their estate, they may need to create a trust to prevent their estate from going directly to you.
I was going to say the same thing. Your parents should create a trust FBO you but that someone else is the trustee. That way it cannot be seized by them and it can only be distributed by someone else for your benefit (That's what FBO means..for benefit of).

My husband paid his restitution in full before he went to prison, but because he has an outstanding civil case, and a pain in the ass ex-wife, he never knew if things in his case were going to cause issues so because I needed to be the POA for his mother while he was in prison, he also made me the beneficary of her estate (which is nominal anyway). Well, his civil case ultimately settled, but the IRS came hunting for something else..it worked out and was also settled through his old company and he didn't pay, but they have f'd up and assessed him a fine instead of crediting his account. So now they have this impending lien coming up against his assets. We keep saying how happy we are that everything is still set up as it is because even though they are trying to fix it, we know how slow the IRS acts and it is a pain in the ass to reverse it. He isn't even paying anything with his tax return (thanks to corona we at least get that delay) because they will just take it for this penalty they think he owes. We have always filed separately and this is the year we were going to finally start jointly, but now until this is resolved no way no how.

My estate plan is also going to have everything FBO for him (at least what doesn't go to my kids), because if I die first, I then don't want my assets that he inherits to go to his kids, so this way when he dies if after me, they will revert back to my kids. So, you should include your wife in your estate planning in this manner. Make her the trustee of your parents estate if you trust her, but you're the beneficiary of the trust as I said FBO.

Good luck.

PS - as for the drug testing, visits, etc by your PO, that was all dictated in your sentencing so he had a right to do that. You can be bitter all you want, but you committed the crime and it's just the price you have to pay. For all the money you owed, if they seize the $1,000 that is not the end of the world, additionally, depending on your income level (with your wife) you don't even know if $1,000 is what you will get because it is going to be phased out, so I hardly think you have a right to be bitter about that especially if you only paid a portion of $300k all these years.
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Old 03-22-2020, 02:53 PM
redtop43 redtop43 is offline
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I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY - but I have some limited experience in estate planning. I can tell you that you have no legal right to your parents' estate; they can leave it to the mailman or their dog, if they like. (This is not the case in all countries.) They should definitely have wills (everyone should); most people's leave everything to their spouse if it's been a life-long marriage. (People who have divorced and especially those who have children from multiple marriages often make different provisions.) If you have absolute trust in your wife, the easiest thing would be for them to leave whatever they would have otherwise left to you, to her.

I know nothing about collecting restitution, so I can't comment on whether a trust with you as the beneficiary would protect the money. I'm skeptical, but I know about as much about this as Donald Trump knows about coronavirus.

This is a situation where it's worth paying a few hundred bucks for a consultation with an estate attorney. They generally do wills fairly cheaply, hoping that they will get further business when the testator dies.
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:51 AM
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I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY - but I have some limited experience in estate planning. I can tell you that you have no legal right to your parents' estate; they can leave it to the mailman or their dog, if they like. (This is not the case in all countries.) They should definitely have wills (everyone should); most people's leave everything to their spouse if it's been a life-long marriage. (People who have divorced and especially those who have children from multiple marriages often make different provisions.) If you have absolute trust in your wife, the easiest thing would be for them to leave whatever they would have otherwise left to you, to her.

I know nothing about collecting restitution, so I can't comment on whether a trust with you as the beneficiary would protect the money. I'm skeptical, but I know about as much about this as Donald Trump knows about coronavirus.

This is a situation where it's worth paying a few hundred bucks for a consultation with an estate attorney. They generally do wills fairly cheaply, hoping that they will get further business when the testator dies.
Without a will, a person is intestate, and statute deems who stuff goes to. It will go to the next of kin according to what statute dictates, and whether they have modified dowager laws to reflect reality.

A will determines who things go to and who they don't go to.

A trust places assets in a separate entity, called a trust. The trust exists for a determinate amount of time for a legitimate reason. There are a number of different types of trusts, so it takes an actual estates attorney to help you decides what sort of trust you need, to write it so that it is legal, and to help you set it up. The good thing about a trust and prisoners is that the funds in the trust are in the trust, not under the prisoner's control, and generally therefor outside of the grasp of government. As the trust pays out, those funds become available to the government, but at a fraction of what they could get taking the whole lump sum.

So, determine the appropriate estates vehicle based up on assets and your intent is important.

The general rule is that you should have your estate documents checked every 5 years or with every major change in life - moving from one state to another, retirement, death in the family, birth of children or grandchildren, incarceration, etc
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Old 04-13-2020, 04:45 PM
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I did find some hope from fiscal.treasury.gov/top/faqs-for-the-public-covid-19.html (Treasure Offset Program COVID-19 FAQ):

Quote:
I owe delinquent debt. Will my economic impact payment be offset?

The economic impact payments can be offset through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) only to collect delinquent child support obligations that have been referred by the state to TOP.
From what I read directly on that site, child support obligations are the ONLY thing that will allow them to take your COVID-19 check.

....

Your case and worries are AMAZINGLY similar to mine.

I was convicted in 1999 of wire fraud for selling items on eBay (among other places) and never sending anything in return for the money. I was 18-19 years old at the time of my crimes, and 20 when convicted (I pled guilty). My restitution is $120,000. I am now 41 with a wife and 2 kids, and it's been 20 years since my release from jail (I did about a year in an FDC).

I didn't have the probation issues you had, but I also have just been paying the $200/month. My 20 years is now up, but I am STILL getting letters in the mail from the Clerk to pay, and a Lien is still on me in Washington State. I am assuming that my Treasury Offset Program hold is also still in place. I fear I may need to call a lawyer to get all of this lifted.

Because of the Treasury Offset Program, I am worried they will take my COVID-19 funds as well. But because I am filing jointly as married with the IRS, I am afraid they will take my wife and kids money as well, and then make me "apply for relief" to get their money back ($2200 total for them) like I would have had to do with IRS refunds.

I would love to know if anyone who has a Treasury Offset Program hold still gets their COVID-19 check.

Last edited by ethanwa; 04-13-2020 at 04:59 PM..
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Old 04-13-2020, 05:36 PM
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Here's a link to the US Treasury's list of COVID 19 stimulus payments that will not be seized under the IRS Offset program.
https://fiscal.treasury.gov/files/dms/dmexmpt.pdf

Find the actual debt you owe on the list, but Congress seems to have exempted stimulus payments from seizure under the IRS "Offset" program (except for child support).
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Old 04-14-2020, 05:52 AM
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As most stated - talk with an attorney who specializes in estate planning, wills, trusts, etc. That is what I did last year just to make sure if I go my assets, money, etc goes to someone I selected. Make sure your will is up to date as well.
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Old 04-15-2020, 04:24 PM
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Got my stimulus money direct deposited today in full. No Treasury Offest.
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