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Hello,
I've been reading the FW forums for a while now, but I finally decided to post.

My wife recently found out she has a lot of debt. We have been inquiring about most of the charges and every company keeps telling us that they can not give us information because she is not the account holder. Her SSN was used for all of the accounts, but they were not in her name. There are also student loans that she never signed for or even knew she had. This didn't make any sense as she had an athletic scholarship to play soccer at her university. The only way we even found out about the student loans is because she started receiving calls from collection agencies.

We have been requesting signatures and any proof the companies could have to prove my wife opened any of this stuff only to show that her mom did it all. She forged her daughter's signatures and used her social because her credit was already ruined. This was all done when my wife was an adolescent. She is now 25.

While investigating that, we also found out that my wife had a trust fund left to her when her dad passed away. She was to receive this when she turned 18, but never did. We got the case documents showing all the activity of the account and a check was signed for and mailed shortly after my wife turned 18. She never even knew she had it until 2 weeks ago when her grandmother, mother of deceased father, told her about it. Her grandmother said that her father left her $15,000 in a trust fund with compounding interest.

To add to the matter, she won a case settlement for an injury from when she was 2 years old, totaling $11,306. All of which her mother gained access to and spent with out my wife ever knowing.

I have talked briefly with a lawyer about how to address these issues. The only way we can begin any type of settlement for the student loans is to press charges against her mother. I may be SOL with the other issues, but what other courses of action can we take? Is there anything we can do to salvage this? I still cant fathom what type of mother would do this to her child. Unfortunately at this point, I am not concerned with our relationship, as this needs to be an eye opener for her, and more importantly, I need to restore some normalcy to my wife's credit (long shot).

Thanks in advance.

Member Summary
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It's ok, I hate her too.

Take her down, and post about it. some of us agree with you

okashiraaa (Jan. 10, 2013 @ 10:47p) |

or maybe a tool...

puddonhead (Jan. 11, 2013 @ 11:01a) |

Odd that several different OPs on here have been trolled into dust because they are looking for a way out of paying a de... (more)

JDeClue1 (Jan. 11, 2013 @ 11:17a) |

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BradMajors said:   If your daughter is over 18, it is up to her to decide how to proceed. (Not implying that you shouldn't be involved.)
Facts from OP:
It is the OP's wife who is the victim --- she is 25.
Alleged fraud by victim's mother.

Call the police, report it.

If your wife's not going to report, do NOT do it for her. This is something that she needs to decide for herself.

Why your mother in law did this fraud with her daughter is that she thought daughter would not press charges. Talk to wife options are
1. press charges against mother in law.
Result :Mother in law will likely legally have to pay back money possibly jail and possibly will not have the money to pay back and defiantly end of mother daughter relationship. On bright side debt could be discharged but loan company will go after MIL

2. You and wife talk to mother in law try and get her to pay back money
Result likely blood from a stone probably does not have money anyway you will still be dealing with debt and loans

3. Decide to pay back debt and keep info secret and separate from MIL and family in future
Result Debt, but likely continued mother daughter relationship

Seriously there is no way to not throw momma under bus and get out of paying

I think you need to prosecute in order to get inaccurate info off credit report

Tough decision.

Obviously if perpetrator was a stranger you would prosecute to the full extent of the law both civil and criminal.

Your wife needs to consider if what her mother did was for her interests or your wife's. Of course the fact that she did it all without telling/asking your daughter is a big strike. But what sort of financial situation was your mother-in-law in without her husband? Was her mother a spendthrift or a prudent spender? Did she buy your wife a car, fancy clothes, pay the remainder of her college expenses?

Parents do a lot for kids - and many expect it, whereas other kids start working at 15 and buy their own school supplies. Let's say your mother-on-law has run up a $50K tab. Does your daughter feel that the $50 was needed by and well spent by her mother in her upbringing? If so, perhaps she can look at it as pro-actively helping her mother out to support the family.

In any case - the mother needs to be confronted with all of her crimes. She needs to be told to desist immediately from this type of activity. If your wife is willing to forgive the crimes, or a portion of them, let the mother know (as well as possibly a repayment schedule). If your wife isn't willing - then prosecute - only after letting the mother know this will be the outcome if she doesn't start repayment and cooperation with the institutions to set the credit straight. There may be federal and state prosecution by the agencies even if you choose not to pursue her yourself - if even just trying to clean up your credit.

Personally, if my credit could be salvaged by paying off the debt now I would pay it off and close the accounts. This way my mother is safe from the law and my credit is mostly intact. If however your credit score is important to you and it is hosed because of this and/or if your wife has no lover for her mother (excluding these events), you have another choice.

EDIT: Also wanted to comment on your "not concerned about our relationship" statement. If you mean you are not concerned with your mother-in-law then that is one thing. But I would not force your wife to sue her mother if she has an otherwise good relationship and isn't willing to do this yourself. Is $50k (or whatever total amount) worth your marriage if your wife detests you for sending her mother to jail (or other poor fate)?

If you decide to pay it off/not prosecute however make sure that not only does your mother-in-law understand you will prosecute should this happen again, but make sure your wife is prepared to follow up as well - otherwise it is a vicious cycle. If it were me I might require a post-nuptial with my wife that future indiscretions be dealt with properly (sue the mom) to protect your interests.

lindylady said:   Why your mother in law did this fraud with her daughter is that she thought daughter would not press charges. Talk to wife options are
1. press charges against mother in law.
Result :Mother in law will likely legally have to pay back money possibly jail and possibly will not have the money to pay back and defiantly end of mother daughter relationship. On bright side debt could be discharged but loan company will go after MIL

2. You and wife talk to mother in law try and get her to pay back money
Result likely blood from a stone probably does not have money anyway you will still be dealing with debt and loans

3. Decide to pay back debt and keep info secret and separate from MIL and family in future
Result Debt, but likely continued mother daughter relationship

Seriously there is no way to not throw momma under bus and get out of paying


Thank you all for the responses. Unfortunately we have come to terms that prosecution needs to be our plan of attack. At first, it seemed that we could work through the money issues, but it just kept coming. Turns out she did it to her other son as well (my brother-in-law).

I came to the forum to get some new perspective and get all my ducks in a row. You guys are delivering as expected. Thanks, and please continue to chime in.

BenH said:   Tough decision.

Obviously if perpetrator was a stranger you would prosecute to the full extent of the law both civil and criminal.

Your wife needs to consider if what her mother did was for her interests or your wife's. Of course the fact that she did it all without telling/asking your daughter is a big strike. But what sort of financial situation was your mother-in-law in without her husband? Was her mother a spendthrift or a prudent spender? Did she buy your wife a car, fancy clothes, pay the remainder of her college expenses?

Parents do a lot for kids - and many expect it, whereas other kids start working at 15 and buy their own school supplies. Let's say your mother-on-law has run up a $50K tab. Does your daughter feel that the $50 was needed by and well spent by her mother in her upbringing? If so, perhaps she can look at it as pro-actively helping her mother out to support the family.

In any case - the mother needs to be confronted with all of her crimes. She needs to be told to desist immediately from this type of activity. If your wife is willing to forgive the crimes, or a portion of them, let the mother know (as well as possibly a repayment schedule). If your wife isn't willing - then prosecute - only after letting the mother know this will be the outcome if she doesn't start repayment and cooperation with the institutions to set the credit straight. There may be federal and state prosecution by the agencies even if you choose not to pursue her yourself - if even just trying to clean up your credit.

Personally, if my credit could be salvaged by paying off the debt now I would pay it off and close the accounts. This way my mother is safe from the law and my credit is mostly intact. If however your credit score is important to you and it is hosed because of this and/or if your wife has no lover for her mother (excluding these events), you have another choice.


Great point.
Not to sabotage my mother-in-law, but the money was spent on breast implants, a new car, and 2 husbands later, my wife is left with $25k in debt. We are trying to be as civil as possible with her, but unfortunately she just isn't responding. This should get her attention.

mrockosaurus said:   

Thank you all for the responses. Unfortunately we have come to terms that prosecution needs to be our plan of attack. At first, it seemed that we could work through the money issues, but it just kept coming. Turns out she did it to her other son as well (my brother-in-law).

I came to the forum to get some new perspective and get all my ducks in a row. You guys are delivering as expected. Thanks, and please continue to chime in.


I would just want to ensure that legal action would succeed in getting the money back and/or repairing the credit appropriately. If the mom can't pay, or might declare bankruptcy - what will be accomplished other than sending her to jail?

Perhaps she deserves to be in jail for this regardless - but that should be up to those she wronged (wife and brother-in-law) I think.

mrockosaurus said:   but the money was spent on breast implants

At least she made a wise investment.

mrockosaurus said:   
Great point.
Not to sabotage my mother-in-law, but the money was spent on breast implants, a new car, and 2 husbands later, my wife is left with $25k in debt. We are trying to be as civil as possible with her, but unfortunately she just isn't responding. This should get her attention.


By "civil" hopefully you can mean civil litigation. If she does have the money, but isn't cooperating, you can try to settle this in civil court only.
Perhaps letting her know that if she pays up you will leave it at that, but if not you will take her to both civil and criminal court.

I hope that your wife's credit isn't so bad that you won't be able to pay these off in a reasonable time and get it restored. Since contesting the fraudulent charges will probably have repercussions on your mother-in-law whether or not you personally want to pursue them.

good luck!

BenH said:   mrockosaurus said:   

Thank you all for the responses. Unfortunately we have come to terms that prosecution needs to be our plan of attack. At first, it seemed that we could work through the money issues, but it just kept coming. Turns out she did it to her other son as well (my brother-in-law).

I came to the forum to get some new perspective and get all my ducks in a row. You guys are delivering as expected. Thanks, and please continue to chime in.


I would just want to ensure that legal action would succeed in getting the money back and/or repairing the credit appropriately. If the mom can't pay, or might declare bankruptcy - what will be accomplished other than sending her to jail?

Perhaps she deserves to be in jail for this regardless - but that should be up to those she wronged (wife and brother-in-law) I think.
OP's wife proves the debt was not hers. And therefore does not have to pay it back. Creditors pursue mother to attempt to get money back

ellory said:   BenH said:   mrockosaurus said:   

Thank you all for the responses. Unfortunately we have come to terms that prosecution needs to be our plan of attack. At first, it seemed that we could work through the money issues, but it just kept coming. Turns out she did it to her other son as well (my brother-in-law).

I came to the forum to get some new perspective and get all my ducks in a row. You guys are delivering as expected. Thanks, and please continue to chime in.


I would just want to ensure that legal action would succeed in getting the money back and/or repairing the credit appropriately. If the mom can't pay, or might declare bankruptcy - what will be accomplished other than sending her to jail?

Perhaps she deserves to be in jail for this regardless - but that should be up to those she wronged (wife and brother-in-law) I think.
OP's wife proves the debt was not hers. And therefore does not have to pay it back. Creditors pursue mother to attempt to get money back
...and creditors pursue criminal charges against mom. You've probably already talked way too much - by mentioning it was mom who took out the loans, the creditors will now try to make it your responsibility to resolve "within the family". Should've just stuck with "these aren't mine, I never borrowed anything" and let them connect the dots to mom and decide how to proceed.

You say she was an "adolescent", but when did this actually happen? If she was 18, and is now 25, for the most part the credit report problems are going to resolve themselves pretty soon.

Just FYI even if the judgement comes back in your favor you will be fighting off debt collectors for years. You need to find out exactly what the limitations are in your state and probably have a lawyer handy for every time you can prove they violated them. Be prepared to put big ticket items in your name for the foreseeable future.

She stole money from your wife for implants?

Hell, the relationship's over. Nail her.

Glitch99 said:   
You say she was an "adolescent", but when did this actually happen? If she was 18, and is now 25, for the most part the credit report problems are going to resolve themselves pretty soon.


And if she was less than 18, than as a minor, she shouldn't be able to be legally liable for any debts incurred via her signature anyway.

StevenColorado said:   She stole money from your wife for implants?

Hell, the relationship's over. Nail her.

Hope no pun was intended.

mrockosaurus said:   but the money was spent on breast implants
Pics of MIL(F)?

Now that you've decided on your approach...

Forget all your detective work. Your wife's position is that the debts are not hers. Period. Handle the identity theft and resulting fraud as if you just discovered it, and as far as you know, the perpetrator is a complete stranger.

Why does the MIL have to be thrown under the bus? Let the creditors do the investigation, wife can claim she is a victim of ID theft and she did not sign (under 18 whatever).

sabhinav said:   Why does the MIL have to be thrown under the bus? Let the creditors do the investigation, wife can claim she is a victim of ID theft and she did not sign (under 18 whatever).

As I understand, the creditors and/or bureaus often want fraud victims to file a police report before they take action. So it might not necessarily be that they want to see her prosecuted, but rather that it would be a likely outcome of seeking a resolution to this matter. I would imagine that this isn't a choice that many people would want to make (even considering what their parent did).

Blood is thicker than mud folks.

Something similar happened to me back in the day.
Dad was caughtup in the stock bubble of 2000.
Was a heavy day trader and making a lot of e-money.

One day when I was expecting a tax refund I got a tax bill for $500k.
Seems daddy dearest opened up a E-Trade account in my name when his was limited/frozen.

When I confronted him about it he simply gave me a few docs and told me to file it as a loss (no taxes owed).
I learned a few lessons from that experience. Having to file the amended tax forms myself (when the most experience I ever had with tax forms was a 1040EZ) was icing on the cake.

Either way, there was no way I was going to call the fuzz on my old man.
And one thing you need to ask yourself... if it was YOUR MOM who did this to you would you be so quick on pressing charges?
Probably not.

As you said, most of it is past the SOL and thus a few well written disputes will get them off the credit reports.
The student loan thingy is another issue and I cant figure out how she pulled that off.

If the accounts were 7+ years old isn't there a fair chance the fraud MIL committed is now past the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution?

mrockosaurus said:   Hello,
Her SSN was used for all of the accounts, but they were not in her name.Thanks in advance.


Can you really not get this discharged if presumably the only thing linking them to your wife is just the SSN?

If you have a solution to take away any money we owe without throwing her under the bus let me know. I'm not paying for her mistakes though. I'm not looking for revenge, I just want her to have to pay the debt she caused.

chimeer said:   If the accounts were 7+ years old isn't there a fair chance the fraud MIL committed is now past the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution?

SOL resets every time you recommit the crime. Even if the SOL for fraud was limited to 7 years there is recent criminal activity which makes the past activity prosecutable.

Text Varies widely by state.

Green for deciding to press charges. Most who ask this question in the forum don't have the guts to pursue the tough decision.

Sounds like your MIL will do a 'guilt' number on your wife if criminal charges are filed. Is your 25 year old wife strong enough to deal with it for a long long time? Have MIL 1st declare bankruptcy if possible.

An additional consideration: if the son (your brother in law) was also scammed, will he want to press charges? If he's pressing charges, there's no point in not pressing charges. if not, then it's still your wife's decision.

KYBOSH said:   When I confronted him about it he simply gave me a few docs and told me to file it as a loss (no taxes owed).
...
Either way, there was no way I was going to call the fuzz on my old man

Because you had no monetary loss (actually, you received a $3000 deduction per year for quite a while) and nothing for the po po to pursue ?

StevenColorado said:   She stole money from your wife for implants?

Hell, the relationship's over. Nail her.


I agree. Of the things listed, implants are a perversely shallow way to spend money that isn't yours.

I hope that when this all settles, they repossess the implants. It'd serve her right.

OP first and foremost is getting these things off your wife's credit . She should not pay one penny of these

First get a copy of all three credit reports from annualcreditreport.com

then dispute each and every account she didnt open as ID theft. Some might automatically get removed , some they may ask for police report

Now take the request for police report down to your police station and say "this company needs me to obtain a police report for id theft ". If they ask you if you know who did it, tell them you are uncertain as no one had admitted it . If they press you for who You suspect did it, you can say the mother in law, but you have no proof .

In addition to what everyone is saying about the debts (dispute as not mine, don't volunteer that MIL did it, get police report if required as SIS said), I'm curious about the trust fund and litigation settlement. Who had custody of that money? Who was trustee? If MIL has no money anymore then maybe the lawyer you should have contacted by now can help you determine if you can sue them.

chimeer said:   If the accounts were 7+ years old isn't there a fair chance the fraud MIL committed is now past the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution?

Main problem is that prosecutors do not like to touch old cases like this. It loses jury appeal. Also potentially a big problem with documentation as it's so aged, institutions are not required to retain this information. Someone also already pointed out how a defense can be raised where the mother used the funds to ensure food was kept on the table, especially if this was a single mother raising a child, where it loses even more jury appeal. The amount of money involved is not unusually large.

Also, I would not bother sueing unless you know the mother is collectible. From the sounds of it, this is unlikely - more than likely a financially irresponsible individual who leaches off one person to another to survive. If I'm wrong, where she has strong earning potential then by all means go for it. Else, don't beat a dead horse.

Would just restore your credit, give the middle finger to all the debt collectors, and maybe file a restraining order against the mother if so needed.

Some may look at the parental obligation to stick with family and smooth this one over. Forget that, any parent that is gonna use their kid to scam and hurt them will just repeat when given the chance. Tell all creditors that you do not accept phone calls and they can only contact in writing. Tell them they have to validate and confirm debt then claim fraud. If you want to remain neutral you can simply report it and let the police and investigators do their job to find the criminal. But at least if it is reported as fraud you will hopefully regain credit and have the debt removed.

Al3xK said:   mrockosaurus said:   but the money was spent on breast implants
Pics of MIL(F)?

LOL

Don't agree. I think she needs a brain implant.

Bizatch said:   mrockosaurus said:   but the money was spent on breast implants

At least she made a wise investment.

Skipping 87 Messages...
Odd that several different OPs on here have been trolled into dust because they are looking for a way out of paying a debt they owe.

This OP is just making this very horrible woman pay her debt in cash or in blood (ie: jail time) whichever comes first.

From the facts put forth it's obvious that this woman did not do these things to help her family instead to help herself and she should be punished to the full extent of the law for those actions. Her stealing from her daughter shouldn't lessen the punishment she receives but enhance it because stealing food from your child's mouth to feed your own is the ultimate betrayal.

Good job OP and good job OP's wife.



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