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Thread: For those who know about law

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    The Irish Drunk! neonplanet40's Avatar
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    Exclamation For those who know about law

    Hi guys something at home developed tonight and I just want to know your thoughts on what my family can do.

    Basically my mum and 7 others save money with a girl in work (a kind of Christmas club) and my mum herself has saved £800 with this woman all year. However it turns out that the women was supposedly mugged yesterday when she took the money out.

    Now the problem is, that these people this that there really was no mugging. They have been asking this women for the money for 3 weeks now only to be told each week there was a problem and that they would have to wait till next week. The woman was due to give the money out on Tuesday but it seems she was mugged yesterday and there now is no money. My family is working class and my mother is a lone parent. This isn't good news. Nor is it for the other people involved.

    They got no receipts of this woman as all trusted her to do it so no comeback that way. But what are my mothers options. Can they get the police to see if this women made this size of a withdrawal on Friday to see if it actually is true?

    I'm prob leaving some details out so I'm sorry, its just happened tonight and this close to Xmas has knocked my family back a bit. So if you need anymore details just ask. I just want to know what my mothers options are as i wouldn't want to allow a women to get away with over £3000 in total if she has indeed stole it.

    Hoping Saracen etc will have some insight for me.

    Thanks

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    Mostly Me Lucio's Avatar
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    Re: For those who know about law

    Report her to the police for theft and misappropriate of funds. As for getting the money back, it'll take 3-6 months as you'll have to go via Small Claims court. No quick fix I'm afraid without resorting to criminal methods.

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    Re: For those who know about law

    One for Saracen & Saracen Jr (aka dave87)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen
    When I say go, both walk in the opposite direction for 10 paces, draw handbags, then bitch-slap each other!

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    Re: For those who know about law

    first and foremost, get it reported to the police. the quicker you report it the sooner they can act upon it.
    i'm pretty sure they'll be able to check if money was withdrawn from the bank. and they'll also know if this "victim" was actually mugged, provided she reported it. i'm guessing she won't have reported a "fake mugging" though cos it'd be pretty difficult to try and make it up.

    and i really hope you can get this sorted. £800 is a lot of money, especially at Christmas!

    all the best and good luck.

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    Re: For those who know about law

    Why did she save money with a girl at work? Surely even the most toxic of non-government owned banks have less risk than an individual girl who you can't fully trust.

    As others have said, go to the police. But without any evidence, it's just your word against hers and there is not much probability of seeing it again. Good luck though.

    (The only way I reckon you will get it back or find out if she actually got mugged, is if you tie her to a chair and interrogate her... Jack Bauer style... but that is illegal)

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    Pseudo-Mad Scientist Whiternoise's Avatar
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    Re: For those who know about law

    If she claims she was mugged, march her down to the police station and demand a receipt that she reported it. No one gets dinged for 3 grand without going to the police unless there's funny business involved. AFAIK they should give you some kind of bit of paper to say that you reported a crime, etc.

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    Re: For those who know about law

    What the others have said is eminently sensible - and certainly the route to go down with regards the criminal side of things. Fraud, misrepresentation and a few other things spring to mind, but IANyetAL, and have differing requirements (Mens Rea/Actus Reus) which would need to be proven, and is not an easy task. However the criminal side of things won't get the money back.

    Before we go any further, how was it arranged? Was there an agreement drawn up (however formally) of what would happen to the money, how it would be saved etc? This is going to be key to any chance of recovery. Secondly, did your Mum get receipts for the money she has paid in? Something that documents the payments would be handy, and especially useful to demonstrate the extent of the loss.

    And really the crucial question - is the woman who held the money solvent? I hate to say it, but if the lady in question doesn't have any money, or tangible assets, then though it would be satisfying to get a judgment against her, it ultimately won't do you any good if she is ordered to pay a nominal sum in restitution.

    If you don't feel comfortable discussing some of the details here, my PM box is open. I must stress I am not a lawyer, so the CAB or a friendly lawyer would be a pre-requisite for any legal action you decide on.
    Last edited by dave87; 05-12-2009 at 10:13 PM.

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    Re: For those who know about law

    Without wishing to advocate bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted, my first observation would be that "saving" that kind of money with a woman at work is ...erm .... outright daft. I'm sure neither you nor (now, at least) your Mum need me to point that out or rub it in, Neon, so sorry, but I felt I had to say it.

    As for legal opinions, it's a good time to point out I'm not a lawyer. Some parts of the law I have read up on because I'm interested (like consumer rights). Other parts I'm fairly familiar with for business reasons (like copyright law). And some aspects (like commercial and company law), yes, I've done the exams, but a LONG tome ago. And yes, I've had many legal discussions with everyone from a magistrate (my father-in-law) through several solicitors and even barristers (friends) to a former Law Lord (and Master of the Rolls). And many conversations with both serving and former police officers, either friends or family members.

    So contrary to what many may think, my opinion is based on quite a bit more than Google being my friend but I'm not a lawyer. I'm not even close to being a lawyer. I do regularly point this out, though usually not in quite such detail. But because I often comment on legal matters I seem to have the reputation of being one of the people to ask. So I stress, there's the world of difference between offering legal advice when someone has a real (and serious) problem and expressing an opinion, on a legal matter or otherwise, on a forum.

    So in a case like this, I'm afraid I can only offer one piece of actual legal advice .... and that's to consider getting proper, qualified legal advice. And to use a bank next time.

    So anything I an add is in the context of it not being qualified advice, and of it even being outside those areas I have amateur expertise (such as it might be) in, so really, it's common sense and little more. And it's been said already.

    My first point would be that the situation as described stinks ... but it could be a genuine mugging. You could try approaching the police, but I'm not sure how far you'll get. It certainly seems like one of several situations exist :-

    1) She was genuinely mugged. In that case, she will presumably have reported it and, at least in her presence, the police ought to be able to confirm it ... at least, confirm it was reported.

    2) She wasn't mugged, but reported she was. If so, and if it could be proven, the police will want to 'talk' to this woman, because it's an offence.

    3) She wasn't mugged but is claiming she was, in which case, I'd say your Mum could report it to police because it seems like fraud, at least if the woman is claiming the money is gone and she isn't going to replace it.


    I would expect than in either case 1) or 2), the woman would be only to happy for the police to confirm the mugging was reported, and I'd agree with others that have said nobody can reasonably expect to be believed they were mugged, had three grand nicked and didn't report it. That, in my opinion, is just not credible.

    So first, can you get it conformed that the mugging was reported? If so, where? CCTV?

    I'm not sure, though, how much help it'll be getting it confirmed he money was actually withdrawn. Anyone with three brain cells or more that was planning on "getting mugged" will have actually drawn the money out, because proving she wasn't mugged will be hard, but proving she didn't draw the money out will be relatively trivial for the police if she didn't. She needs to be an idiot to claim she drew it out and got mugged if she didn't.

    So as far as I can see, there;'s two aspects to this :-

    1) Has this woman committed fraud, wasted police time, etc, or not? Police might be interested in that, if you can convince them an offence has taken place.

    2) How to get your Mum's money back.

    The tricky one will be 2).

    I'd say that if money was "lent" to this woman to "save", then it's owed until it;s paid back, and if she got mugged while it was in her care, it's her problem. And while it's wonderful in theory, in practice, it's not so good.

    The first step is to ask for the money back, despite the mugging. If the woman won't produce it (and it sounds like she won't, or can't, or will just say she can't) then ultimately, it's probably going to take small claims court action to get it. But anyone that has ever pursued a debt through court will tell you that even winning in court is only the first part of the problem. Even a court can;t get blood out of a stone, so before going through the hassle and cost of court action, you really need to consider the circumstances of the person you're taking to court. If they have assets to go after, then it's far more likely to be worthwhile than if they don't, and the court will always look at the ability of the loser to pay. Someone with a 12-bed mansion and driving a Ferrari is probably a better bet to pursue than a single person, living in a council flat and claiming the dole. The court won't make an order that'll result in undue hardship ..... or starvation. So getting £800 in a single chunk in that kind of situation is unlikely, even if you win a court case.... IMHO, of course. 50p a week? Maybe, yeah.

    So, neon, as I'm sure you've worked out by now, my opinion is that this is a mess. I'm really, really sorry to say it, but I think you're Mum has the foul smelling end of a nasty stick. I wish I could say there was some magic route that would ensure justice, but even the law can't ensure that ..... and often comes woefully short.

    That's not to say just give up. I wouldn't, if it were me .... or my Mum. I would certainly try the approach of getting the money anyway, and without knowing anything about the woman in question I have no way of knowing how successful that might be. Some people are honourable and take their responsibilities seriously, and if they owe money, they'll move heaven and earth to honour it, even if they lost it through no fault of their own. But based on the description of the events, I'm sorry to say I don't suggest holding your breath for that to happen. And oif the polite approach doesn't work, as it probably won't, you need to take a pragmatic look at whether court action is going to work or not ... and forget what justice says should happen, and look pragmatically at what you think will happen. Sadly.


    As for the police ..... they won't be interested in a civil dispute over whether money is owed or not. That side of it is nothing to do with them, as it's a civil issue. Lucio said to report it as theft. Well, the mugging is certainly theft (or, perhaps more accurately, robbery) BUT in order to prove that this woman stole from your Mum, it would (as I see it) be necessary for the police to be able to prove that the mugging didn't happen, because if it did (or if it can't be proven it didn't) then it hasn't been "stolen".

    Think of it this way. The definition of theft requires a series of specific criteria to be fulfilled, and one of them is that the accused acted "dishonestly". It's s1 of the Theft Act, if you want to look up the definition.

    So, if this woman was mugged, then she might owe the money, but there is no dishonest
    intent to deprive your Mum, even if she doesn't pay because she claims she can't. The police then wouldn't have a stake in the saga. If the mugging didn't happen, and she sticks to the story that it did to the police, then ..... "innocent until proven guilty". It's only theft if the police can present evidence sufficient to convince a jury (or perhaps a magistrate) that it is. To do that, they effectively need to prove that the "mugging" is fabricated, and depending on exactly what her story is, that might well be near to impossible. If the woman is stupid enough to claim the mugging happened (and in didn't) in the High Street, under the watchful eyes of CCTV, then they might be able to prove it didn't. If, on the other hand, she's bright enough to have claimed it happened out of sight of CCTV, well, proving something didn't happen is notoriously hard.

    And the worst of it? Proving that it is theft is not likely to help much in getting the money back. It might make you and your Mum feel better and get a bit of revenge, but I doubt you'll get the money back that way. In fact, I'm sorry to say I wouldn't have a strong hope of getting it back whatever you do. I really, really hope I'm wrong and that you do, but it would surprise me. I'm afraid.

    And that, of course, is precisely why putting that kind of money in someone's control like this was so daft. I know, 20/20 hindsight is all very well, and I really, really wish I could think of something more positive to say, especially at this time of year, but .....


    Sorry, neon. Mnd you, on the bright side, this IS only the opinion of a bloke on a forum, so by all means, try the police, and maybe talk to a local solicitor and see if you can get a free 15-minute first appointment to see if he can suggest something. It won't cost to ask, and if you find one with a heart and explain the circumstances, who knows, you might get a bit of free Christmas help. Or try Citizen's Advice. Or, if her home insurance has free legal cover, try that. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But I don't like the look of it and it's a really crappy thing to do to someone if it is a stitch-up.

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    Re: For those who know about law

    I see Dave has said much the same, if more succinctly. That took me long enough to type that he hadn't posted when I started.

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    Re: For those who know about law


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    Re: For those who know about law

    Matty, was that in response to Saracen's post or Neon's OP?

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    Re: For those who know about law

    Quote Originally Posted by dave87 View Post
    Matty, was that in response to Saracen's post or Neon's OP?
    the length of Saracen's post.
    i AM NOT laughing at the fact that someone's mother has had several hundred pounds stolen.

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    Re: For those who know about law

    Good good, unfortunately it could have been read as such, even though I didn't think you were the type to make such a post.

    Disadvantage of just a smiley in reply

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    Re: For those who know about law

    Thanks for the replies guys. I'm going to PM a few to give a fuller story rather than post it for all to see. Thanks very much guys

    EDIT: I'll just post it here for now as not much else has happened that needs to be private!

    So gimme a few mins
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    Re: For those who know about law

    In defence of the OPs Mum saving in such a way, I'm sure you'll find it's far more common that what many of the previous posters think. My Mum is the treasurer of such a club and has been for many, many years. Such informal savings clubs are convenient for their users but they rely explicitly on trust...
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    Re: For those who know about law

    To begin with, i know what my mum done was stupid. But she trusts people a bit too much I think and this will be a VERY hard lesson for her. It is convenient for her in work and they all had what could be called a group trust. I knew nothing about it.

    Unfortunately there were no receipts etc. Just cash in hand during work which would have been in front of CCTV cameras. There were 8 people in total who gave money to this girl. All of them have lost their money so does all them accounts not hold up without paper contractual evidence?

    I don't even think its about the money now. my mum just wants this women to get what she deserves. If that's a criminal record then that's fine with us.

    She has reported to the police that she was mugged and they have a report. The women who dealt with this in the police office is out till Monday so we have been told to ring back then. I will know more then and will be able to get a bigger picture. I assume all 8 people will be writing a statement for the police. The whole situation strikes me as being much too convenient for a mugging to have ever existed. My mum said she noticed something was up last week when she asked for the money which is why she doesn't believe it.

    What I think has happened is that this women has been spending the money all year and when it came to pay out she had not the funds to do so. So what i would like to know is how much did she ACTUALLY withdraw yesterday before she was "mugged". If it was the full £3000-4000 which she should have been doing then maybe I will be move inclined to believe her. But I'm wondering if the police will check this?

    We are aware that getting the money back has a slim to no chance. But we wont sit down and do nothing. We will pursue it and at least said we tried. I wouldn't be happy if i done otherwise.

    However if it shows that the woman has stole it then I dunno how she will be able to show her face in work on Tuesday morning. I mean we are talking about £4000 of peoples xmas savings 3 weeks before xmas.

    The women got "mugged" yesterday but did not ring and tell these people what happened to their money. Isn't that the first thing you would do? It took a friends of hers to let slip to someone else before my mum knew anything about it. From what we know she hasn't offered to give the money back in any shape or form and her husband has just said " she hopes their is no animosity towards her".
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