Re: Filial Bonds

1

This is why protecting our Second Amendment rights is so important.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:43 AM
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someone's gonna have to be sold for medical experiments in order to pay off that debt, pronto. Then kill them.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:46 AM
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First I learn I am distantly related to an unfogged blogger, and now I learn exactly what to do with that information!

It's like one-stop-shopping up in here today.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:47 AM
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pwned so quickly?

Blogistan is a hard lands of the quick and the pwned.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:47 AM
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Seems like sending them to jail is the way to go here. It would wipe out the debt and they will probably get, what, 6 months in the pen? Thats not so bad...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:53 AM
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Oh, I didn't see that there was a 4 year old niece involved. Maybe they should sell the niece?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:53 AM
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It does seem like the best way out of the mess, but then again, it requires the wife of the writer to send her own mother to jail, which can't be easy, no matter what your mother has done.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:54 AM
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Alternatives:

1. Lizzie Borden '08.
2. Nuke them from orbit.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:56 AM
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I don't know whether mom and sis would go to jail, but... I'd report them in a heartbeat.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:58 AM
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Jesus. I wonder if there's a way to report it as fraud (thus removing the problem on their end) without saying they know who the fraud is (normally one would have no idea), without making them complicit in the fraud.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:59 AM
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I looked at the thread, and the real problem is between the guy and his wife, who doesn't want to report the offense or do anything else that would get it out of her name.

The guy needs to tell her, "look, sugar, this is *your* debt -- it's in your name, you're the one insisting on keeping it that way, and you're in charge of paying it back."

Depending on the state's laws, it may still be on the hook for him anyway -- and if the wife is blowing that off, then her kin may've charged her up a divorce.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:59 AM
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Jesus. I wonder if there's a way to report it as fraud (thus removing the problem on their end) without saying they know who the fraud is (normally one would have no idea), without making them complicit in the fraud.

Considering they are paying the bills the credit card company has to have some info on them like their address or bank account. So I doubt they could get out of it.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:00 AM
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So the wife immediately thought to ask her mother and sister?

5,7: What they've done is maybe stolen $17,000+ from their family members and maybe not, there's a chance that the poster could receive restitution over time. I don't see how this is a close situation for sending your own mother and sister to jail.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:01 AM
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And, since it's my professional duty to say so, if they are worried about the legal ramifications for Mom/Sis, it might not hurt to go consult a criminal defense attorney who could actually tell them the ramifications -- and who, perhaps, knows how to cut a deal with the prosecution to refrain from charging in exchange for an agreement to complete debt counseling, etc. Bummer if that makes their lives difficult, but, you know, consequences are like that.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:01 AM
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Could they sue them in civil court? I know nothing about the law.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:02 AM
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11: Since they're married, any money that would have to go to pay their debt reduces their budget, and I think 'this is your problem' isn't likely to be helpful at this point.

12: Right, but it's easier to say "We had to cancel the card and report it as something I never opened" than "we called the cops on you."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:04 AM
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Greater than the specific problem of the debt so far--it's being paid off in a timely fashion, no one sends their family to jail for this, yadda yadda--is the fact that the mother and sister would blithely do this. Wait till they decide to start flipping properties.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:06 AM
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Right, but it's easier to say "We had to cancel the card and report it as something I never opened" than "we called the cops on you."

The credit card company is still going to want that 17k from someone and I don't think they are just going to overlook the fraud. So the cops are probably still going to come either way.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:07 AM
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Since they are making payments, it's not going to come to a head for a while. Why not just have them cancel the cards (so nothing new can be charged) and allow them to pay off the accumulated balance off over time?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:10 AM
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Oh, because the wife wants it cleared ASAP. I don't know if that's so necessary, though. If the mother and sister really can pay off the balance over time, why not let them? It won't hurt the wife's credit unless it's not paid back, after all.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:12 AM
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If you want to know what people are like, share an inheritance with them- Ben Franklin

Money does strange things to people, and credit even more so.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:12 AM
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Somebody in that thread makes the (excellent) point that -- by not reporting this -- the couple are making themselves complicit in fraud. They either need to suck it up and pay it themselves or file the police report, seems like.

Or, obviously, have them killed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:12 AM
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off balance off balance off offety off


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:12 AM
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I think if they do something like cancel it and let them continue to make payments, they'll end up not being able to say later "this was fraud" in the event that the mom and sis stop paying, even if they don't end up complicit in the fraud.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:15 AM
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Somebody in that thread makes the (excellent) point that -- by not reporting this -- the couple are making themselves complicit in fraud.

If I don't have to turn you in for doing ether (do you "do" ether?), I'm not sure why the couple has to turn their family in.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:16 AM
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can't they borrow money from somewhere else and pay the debt at once, and pay now their own debt as usually
that way no one goes to jail, and your wife is free of debt
if she has means to do so, may be she could help them to pay a little too
coz what is money, and what is mother and daughter bond, a daughter is still indebted to her mother for just her mere existence in this life imo


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:16 AM
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24: Not if the mom and sis do the cancellation themselves, I think. Assuming things stay amicable. 21, indeed.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:17 AM
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26: I think the deal would be that they have horrible credit and can't get a loan.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:18 AM
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28: That was the impression I got, since they can't open credit cards in their own names.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:20 AM
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25: The difference would be that knowing someone is using ether isn't a crime, and allowing someone to pretend to be you in order to get credit might be.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:20 AM
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Remember that the wife isn't the party asking for advice - she's made her decision, and it's hard to know how negotiable her position is.

Given that, I think the husband should be talking to at least one lawyer (about the in-laws) and perhaps another (about the wife).


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:22 AM
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I'm not sure it's fraud if it's by agreement. They're just letting someone else use their credit line. They're liable for everything their relatives buy up to the credit limit, but I don't see how they're defrauding the cc company.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:22 AM
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Hmm. When I try to get my free credit report from annualcreditreport.com, it asks me random questions about the terms of mortgage loans it thinks I have, which I've never heard of. When I choose the "N/A" option, it then tells me it can't show me my credit report, for my protection.

This is a bad sign, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:25 AM
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The problem is that the cards will continue raising the credit limit, and the relatives will continue accumulating debt, because that's what people do with credit cards.

If this were me, I would co-sign for a loan for the amount of the three cards, pay off and close all of them, and have the relatives make payments on that loan (which cannot be expanded). If she could do it as an equity loan, they would also be able to claim the interest their relatives paid as deductions on their taxes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:26 AM
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This incident also blows up my grand unification theory, in that the prosperity of the United States has been based on easy credit and title insurance, and that is better than tribal associations. If one can't trust one's family, the world gets very small, very fast.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:26 AM
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34: yeah that was my thought, too.

Maybe get some other subsidiary agreement from the relatives that they agree to pay it off, so they could be plausibly taken to civil court.

Ideally put up the relatives' house as primary collateral on the co-signed loan.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:27 AM
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Also I like that everybody is offering helpful, thoughtful advice here, where it will never be read by any of the parties involved.

I think they should set people on fire!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:28 AM
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Ideally put up the relatives' house daughter as primary collateral on the co-signed loan.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:28 AM
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Let's rehash Euthyphro!

Tim makes the wise point that what happens if these two don't suffer any penalty? Well, last time we did it, they just took out a loan and made us pay the loan payments, so what's the worst that could happen if we buy this house... Is this a one-time thing? Do the mom & sister have a history of being fuckups?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:29 AM
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Ideally put up the relatives' house daughter's virtue as primary collateral on the co-signed loan.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:30 AM
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Do the mom & sister have a history of being fuckups?

They do now.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:30 AM
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41: they already did, according to the follow-up posts in the linked thread.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:30 AM
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Then why put yourself on the line for another loan?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:30 AM
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44

If you read the whole thread it has some juicey details. There is a niece, who the evil Sister is using as leverage by threatening to deny contact. The Mother has also lost her job.

This reply is, I think, on the money:

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.

If children never learn that actions have consequences (by, for example, being denied the opportunity to learn that hitting someone unnecessarily hard in a game of dodgeball is a sure way of receiving the same) they do this kind of shit in their adult life.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:31 AM
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43: because they aren't willing to file a police report, and it's better to have the relatives on the line as first recourse -- and have them unable to spend any more money. Besides then you could possibly open up a channel to go after them in civil court if they screw up paying back the loan, and it wouldn't get flagged as identity theft.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:32 AM
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They do now.

Not to mention, as w/d says, that the wife thought to ask them if they were behind it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:32 AM
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There's the potential for the bloke to have a quiet word, behind his wife's back.

"Look, we're co-signing this loan because $wife loves you, and wants to give you a chance to make this right, but you should know I don't agree and I'm only going along with it this once, because it's what she wants. Be aware, that if you fail to pay this back, or anything like this happens ever again, I'm going to nail you to the wall, in court if I have to, and I'll deal with $wife over it ..."

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:34 AM
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45: Ah, gotcha. I was seeing you as arguing this as preferable to a police report, were people willing to file it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:35 AM
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49

So is the the first sign of the McManusopolyse, or do we wait for the dogs and cats living together?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:37 AM
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Some playwright needs to get on this, pronto. There's a great Aeschylus-in-America tragedy in here somewhere.

In brighter news on the credit front, you know what's awesome? Thinking that you had a 72-month car loan and realizing that it was a 60-month when you discover that you just paid it off. Suh-weet!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:39 AM
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by, for example, being denied the opportunity to learn that hitting someone unnecessarily hard in a game of dodgeball is a sure way of receiving the same having a laugh as long as you're the biggest in class.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:40 AM
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49: First sign? McManus sees at least five signs of the McManusopolyse every day.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:42 AM
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Holy shit, rock on Jesus!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:44 AM
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In brighter news on the credit front, you know what's awesome? Thinking that you had a 72-month car loan and realizing that it was a 60-month when you discover that you just paid it off. Suh-weet!

My policy of studied ignorance towards my finances seems smarter every day.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:47 AM
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25

"If I don't have to turn you in for doing ether (do you "do" ether?), I'm not sure why the couple has to turn their family in."

Presumedly the same reason as if you know someone is using your credit card and don't do anything about it. It makes the charges authorized and you liable. So you don't have to stop them as long as you are willing to assume whatever debt they run up. Of course IANAL.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:51 AM
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Thinking that you had a 72-month car loan and realizing that it was a 60-month when you discover that you just paid it off.

They have those? That's got to be the automotive finance equivalent of a zero downpayment subprime mortgage, because the collateral is going to be worth less (or insignificantly more) than the loan value for a substantial fraction of the loan term.

Also, are these loans being offered by the financing arms of the car companies? Because if so, that's pretty damned short-sighted of them (I know, so what else is new?). Having your customers be underwater on their car loans has got to cut into the sales of new car replacements for five and six-year-old vehicles. Of course, for that, they've probably come up with "wrapped" loans that roll your outstanding debt into a new car financing package, so that the customer can kick the can down the road for another six years.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:51 AM
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So you know I think the posts title points towards an effective solution. The credit card debt should be packaged into a credit-enhanced bond issue like the one that got used for Bear Stearns.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:56 AM
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so they could be plausibly taken to civil court.

They could plausibly be taken to civil court right now and sued for conversion, I'm just not entirely certain about property rights in your identity and what the measure of damages would be if the debt continues to be paid by the wife & sister and the husband & wife never have to pay any part of it.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:59 AM
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But the market for filial bonds is in the tank, too. The Chinese takeout strategy is no longer available.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:01 AM
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Why am I even trying to substantively answer this question?

They should... explode the... over.... holder..ing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:03 AM
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That's got to be the automotive finance equivalent of a zero downpayment subprime mortgage

Actually, the down was fairly substantial, and I doubt that the loan value ever exceeded the collateral value (and it was arranged through our credit union, not through Toyota). But I bought the thing a few hours before taking my wife to the hospital to get induced, so I was kind of on auto-pilot and obviously fuzzy about the details.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:05 AM
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When my credit card number got stolen, I had to sign a fraud affidavit stating that I had no idea who had committed the fraud. So yes, I thnk they'd be commiting perjury (or whatever they call it when you sign a false affidavit) if they just reported it to the cc ccompany as fraud and didn't say who.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:05 AM
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Also "making payments" != "paying down the debt". It is entirely possible that the mom and sister haven't made a dent in the principal. (Or a mini-dent, now that the rules changed on having to actually pay a minimum payment that chips away at the principal.)

In other news, yay Jesus!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:08 AM
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In the film version they kidnap the niece and demand the credit card payments as ransom. It does not end well.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:08 AM
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64: Perfect. Forget the playwright, get me the Coen brothers!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:13 AM
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the other day i watched a movie about a brother and a sister being very close and sharing an apartment, being friends etc
so they met a beautiful woman the brother fell in love, and the sister turns out to be gay and she also falls in love with her brother's bride
the brother discovering that says 'collect your shit and out of my place until i'll be back home' something, huh? they reconcile somehow in the end but still
i could not get how one's blood bond could be that devaluated
i would choose the sister over the new bride
in the discussed case the wife makes good moral decisions, having clear conscience means so much
hope her family also loves her back and won't further hurt her


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:17 AM
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A friend of mine didn't finish his undergrad degree because his mother, who had been co-signing loans for his education, made off with the next year's tuition. People do crazy, crazy things to each other over surprisingly small sums of cash.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:17 AM
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No Country for Old Credit Card Frauds.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:17 AM
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Perhaps the Wife knew that they were going to do it, but also knew her husband wouldn't agree.

ie: they ask her for a loan. She wanted to, but knew Husband wouldn't agree.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:19 AM
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hope her family also loves her back

"We just put an addition on the living room because the ceilings were too short for the new 105-inch plasma screen but what with your sister's friends coming over we don't really have room for you at the Super Bowl party. Maybe next year?"


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:20 AM
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read, you need to see Lonestar
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116905/


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:20 AM
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No Country for Old Credit Card Frauds.

With Javier Bardem as the loan officer. I'm loving this more by the minute.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:20 AM
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Perhaps the Wife knew that they were going to do it, but also knew her husband wouldn't agree.

I confess that my first thought was, wow, she sure knew whom to ask in a hurry and she sure is being nice about it.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:21 AM
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I've seen this movie before today.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:23 AM
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Lien on Me


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:23 AM
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i could not get how one's blood bond could be that devaluated

This is why they call it a foreign country.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:24 AM
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72: God that movie was great, but following that up with the Wire and Dexter means my entertainment choices are terrifying, heartbreaking, and bloody.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:24 AM
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75 wins.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:24 AM
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77: Geez, no kidding. My Wire marathon was interrupted only by No Country for Old Men, and my head was in a really weird place for about a week afterwards.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:27 AM
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Perhaps the Wife knew that they were going to do it, but also knew her husband wouldn't agree.

That didn't occur to me, but see, that's exactly why I said in 31 that he needs to consider consulting a divorce lawyer. Human perfidy is hard for some of us to grasp, but divorce lawyers, they get it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:50 AM
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divorce lawyers, they get it.

Ah, the boundless wisdom of Will!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:52 AM
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80 lifted the scales from my eyes. Of course there's a good chance wife is somehow complicit. Either she has known about it for a while, or she might have even been complicit in the "fraud" from the very beginning (relatives guilted her into "helping out", and this was the only way she could do it; then it got out of hand, and the husband found out by accident). It would be especially interesting to know whose signature is on the credit card applications.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:55 AM
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I'm surprised that commenters are surprised that a mother/sister would do this and that the wife would first think of them when she saw the charges. I believe this kind of stuff is happening all the time. Especially since credit card companies continue for decades to send application offers to last-known addresses, and last-known addresses are often family.

People can so easily convince themselves that there's no harm because of course they'll make all the payments and no one will ever have to know. They're just borrowing sister's credit rating, and what's the harm in that? Nevermind the fact that the reason they can't get their own cards is their bad credit history.

After my mom retired from teaching she got depressed and kind of loopy and basically lost all control of her finances. She died suddenly and I had the task of sorting through her finances and responding to her bill collectors. Among her papers I found a credit card application in my name that she had filled out. I had been away from home for more than a decade at that point. If she hadn't died (obviously my preference) and had sent the application in and charged up thousands of dollars in debt, there's not much I would have been able to do to stop her without seriously, perhaps permanently damaging our relationship.

And to close the circle, now almost 10 years later, I regularly get credit card applications in my mother's name even though she never lived here.


Posted by: KRK | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:55 AM
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Of course 44 is the right answer, if only a little scary and hard to imagine doing to your family. Apo, your advice at 34 is very kind but only lowers the interest rate on the debt. Mother and sister are still responsible for a debt they probably can't repay, and the victim has now co-signed the loan and is now even more responsible for the debt (since they can't then exercise the fraudulent application option).

They have to file a claim with the credit card company. If that requires a police report, so be it -- let justice be done or let the heavens fall.

Having said that, if it was me, I'd probably do 34 in a heartbeat. But that doesn't make it the best answer.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:57 AM
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Apo is right about what to do, and ttaM is right about how to handle it.

You guys lead cushy lives. My mom borrowed a couple thousand off my credit card while I was in graduate school--it was the only way I could convince her to move out of my place, because she (claimed) not to have the money for first, last, and deposit. She paid it back several years later when she sold the house she owned in another state, but never paid back the interest. When I told her um, what about the interest, which you agreed to pay back you know, she denied ever having agreed to it and accused me of being a greedy bitch trying to take advantage.

So yeah, I can easily see how this kind of shit happens, and thank god that the worst of it (so far) is petty crap like that. I don't think I'd be able to put my mom in jail, either. But goddamm, I feel sorry for this woman. Her sister's a fucking bitch.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:09 PM
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You guys lead cushy lives.

Where did that come from?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:14 PM
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868: B's box of random opinions?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:17 PM
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I want to know where that extra 8 came from. Please don't let this thread go another 800 comments.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:18 PM
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86: I interpreted it as "your family is financially well-off and emotionally functional enough that this situation seems hard to imagine."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:20 PM
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It seems needlessly imprecise and a little inflammatory then, I don't know w....

Okay, okay. I know why.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:22 PM
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Yes, I shouldn't speak for her (that never goes well), but I assumed B was saying that I'm ensconced in cush because I've never had to deal with anything like this. Which is true enough. Though cush, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. I challenge any of you hot-house flowers to walk a mile in my shoes. I'm hard as nails (despite my squishy exterior).


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:24 PM
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I'm somewhat surprised at the enthusiasm for police involvement. Is it because of the low expected penalty? In hypothetical discussions I've had, many people are either unsure flat out say they wouldn't turn in family members for very serious crimes committed against a third party.

You guys

Anti-semite.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:24 PM
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86: It came from the general consensus that "they should report them to the cops," as if that were a completely easy decision. None of you have had to deal with crazy relatives?

It seems needlessly imprecise and a little inflammatory then, I don't know w....

God you guys are fucking sensitive.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:25 PM
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Sifu's not sensitive, he just can't resist bait. Which is why he's so fat. That, and the fact that he has no bicycle.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:27 PM
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I challenge any of you hot-house flowers to walk a mile in my shoes. I'm hard as nails (despite my squishy exterior).

In fact, I defy any flower to walk at all, let alone a mile in the shoes of a limbless but externally squishy piece of sharpened wire.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:27 PM
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cush, of course, is in the eye of the beholder

Absolutely. In a discussion about, oh, say, work/life balance or cash flow or weather, *I'm* the one that has a cushy life.

And if someone were to say so, I wouldn't get all Offended about it, either.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:28 PM
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94: I'm the all-driving, all-eating manatee of unfogged. Watch me get caught in the propeller of your insensitivity!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:28 PM
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That, and the fact that he has no bicycle.

I noticed this morning that my belly is definitely less prominent these days.

That said, I can't bike now because my fucking child has given me a fucking sore throat and I feel like shit. Grr.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:30 PM
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It seems like people with cushy lives would be a lot less likely to want to get the law involved in this, because they would be able to actually pay the credit card bills, as B did with the bill her mom ran up, instead of declaring bankruptcy or do other desperate things in order to deal with this problem outside the legal system.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:30 PM
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Is this amount small enough for Judge Judy?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:32 PM
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as B did with the bill her mom ran up

At the time, I was having to budget in order to purchase toothpaste. So the theory that I was "able" to pay the bills, not so much. At least, sure as shit not easily.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:32 PM
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I can't bike now because my fucking child has given me a fucking sore throat and I feel like shit. Grr.

You may think it's a generational issue and that by the time PK is old enough to read that he'll have spent his entire life online, but in fact it's heinous.

95 is hilarious, by the by, but I'm a sucker for imagery created by mixed metaphors jokes.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:36 PM
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Meh, he already knows I hate him for giving me a sore throat. The damage is done.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:37 PM
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102: You may think it's a generational issue and that by the time PK is old enough to read that he'll have spent his entire life online, but in fact it's heinous.

I was so tempted to write exactly this in response to the phimosis discussion in the other thread.

Good sea-cow! Avoid shiny thing! (squeak, grunt)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:39 PM
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Tweety, tweety. Why do you think I threw in the bit about his penis being extra large?

It's true, of course. But I didn't have to mention it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:41 PM
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105: sea-cow comprehends, barely, that the bag full of twinkies is set there in the water to trick him, yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:43 PM
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Why do you think I threw in the bit about his penis being extra large?

As explanation for 103? And I assume 100 is in response.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:45 PM
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Where did Ari go?

I think we upset him talking about PK's enormous penis.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:47 PM
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Well, I guess apo is back from The Virus.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:48 PM
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Yeah, everybody's recovered. The girls even went to New Orleans for the weekend, so the three of us boys have the house all to ourselves. We'll be measuring penises tonight.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:50 PM
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110: just don't lord it over the poor kids if you win, okay?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:51 PM
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"Oh yeah! In your face!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:52 PM
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Wow, it sure took long enough for this thread to travel from family credit card fraud to little boy penises. You should all be ashamed that we weren't discussing the dimensions of PK's putz within the first dozen comments. Must be the lingering effects of The Virus.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:52 PM
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110: it's going to be very tough if you lose that competition.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:52 PM
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Is this the right place to note that sometimes a little worried about the size of my kid's penis? I'm sort of assuming it will grow as he ages.

(I wonder how much he will hate me when he finds this comment in 10 years?)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:57 PM
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106: Manatees eat twinkies? (Speaking of which, I introduced PK to HoHos the other day. Such a neglected child, never having had crappy snack cakes before the age of 7.)

As explanation for 103?

So, so wrong. You know I'm going to lie in wait now and make a joke about *you* molesting your daughter when you least expect it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:58 PM
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I should say, though, that he seems very satisfied with it. I guess that's all that really matters.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 12:59 PM
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Let's keep the submissions to g3nitalia at unf0gged.com strictly adult-only.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:00 PM
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117 to 114.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:00 PM
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96: I wasn't offended. I was agreeing. And then leavening my agreement with fodder for Jetpack's cannons.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:01 PM
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Wow, it sure took long enough for this thread to travel from family credit card fraud to little boy penises.

I know. When I read "filial bonds," I just assumed it meant "my son's foreskin is attached to his glans." Good to see we're on track now.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:01 PM
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Just noticed 108. That is upsetting.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:03 PM
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I should say, though, that he seems very satisfied with it. I guess that's all that really matters.

I believe that what matters is whether she's very satisfied with it.

As a fallback, it's never too early to teach oral dexterity.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:04 PM
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As a fallback, it's never too early to teach oral dexterity.

Maybe in Shangri-La, but in this country we have certain regulations.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:05 PM
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120: I wasn't talking to you. I was berating Tweety.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:05 PM
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I believe that what matters is whether she's very satisfied with it.

Heteronormative.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:06 PM
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A specialty of Baden (a region in southwest Germany) is a kind of oversized gnocchi known locally as Bubespitzle ("little boys' penises"), because their shape uncannily resembles an uncircumsized prepubescent member.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:07 PM
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Posted by: peter

Heh.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:08 PM
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Dear god, the Germans are sick. They also have chocolates called cat's tongues. (As do the Czechs.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:08 PM
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leavening my agreement with fodder for Jetpack's cannons

Heh.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:08 PM
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Dear god, the Germans are sick. They also have chocolates called cat's tongues.

...and pastries called pigs ears and nut snails.

BTW, I believe that cats' tongues are originally either French or Belgian.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:13 PM
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nut snails

Better than snail nuts.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:14 PM
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Well, people actually *do* eat pork and snails, so those are less weird.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:15 PM
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133: and they don't eat dick?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:16 PM
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I'm somewhat surprised at the enthusiasm for police involvement. Is it because of the low expected penalty? In hypothetical discussions I've had, many people are either unsure flat out say they wouldn't turn in family members for very serious crimes committed against a third party.

That it isn't a third-party victim here (as well as a crime, unlike B's case), which I think is affecting part of the responses.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:17 PM
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Cat's tongues

What? Czechs are big on cow tongue (there's a coarse blood sausage made with tongue that's really hard to find in the US), but I've never heard of this. Tongue is really labor-intensive to cook, one meal where paying for preparation is sensible.

Also, R. Crumb's band for French cafe music, Primitifs du Futur, is realy pretty good.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:19 PM
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and they don't eat dick?

Remember, this is Germany.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:20 PM
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Tongue is really labor-intensive to cook

Perfect for the grill!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:21 PM
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131: That's odd. In my wife's hometown (nearish to Koblenz), they have Nussecke [nut corners], and are triangular. They're also a rare nutty bakery product that I enjoy, but that's neither here nor there.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:22 PM
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The simultaneously hermaphroditic pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, can mate in the male and female role, but within one copulation only one sexual role is performed at a time. They take turns.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:23 PM
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138: a delicious treat for everyone!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:24 PM
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140: <obligatory>Penis fencing.</obligatory>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:26 PM
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140
Lemma 1
And therefore cannot fuck itself.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:26 PM
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Work-safe penis fencing video.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:31 PM
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137 Since entering prison, Meiwes has become a vegetarian and has joined a prisoners' group favoring Green Party politics.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:39 PM
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Meiwes has become a vegetarian

Well, I hear it's difficult to get a decent penis in prison.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:42 PM
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Whenever we go visit Martha's sister, she (Martha) either (1) makes sure to have her purse on her person at all times or (2) takes the money out of it, having on several occasions found that there was less money in her wallet than she'd started with before visiting.

We also occasionally get calls from various types of creditors because Martha's sister has used her as a reference for some type of loan or another. (Despite Martha's telling her not ever to do that again).


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:44 PM
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146: not like England.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:47 PM
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37
Also I like that everybody is offering helpful, thoughtful advice here, where it will never be read by any of the parties involved.

As I was reading the third page of the discussion linked in the original post, I noticed that the comment I was reading was dated April 1. Given what people have said about complicity, I'm pretty sure no advice posted today would be helpful. Uh oh.

On the other hand, this means us blogovoyuers are due a follow-up. We demand a sequel!


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:47 PM
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148 fucks the joke up. "Not in England."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 1:49 PM
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When I was in customer service this kind of thing happened all the time. I'd get grandmothers sobbing that their grandson ran up fifteen thousand dollars on granny's card and they didn't know how to pay it.

I was being recorded for quality control purposes, so I couldn't say 'Send the little bastards to jail for being evil, unscrupulous wretches' as I wished. I just had to send that message in psychic beams as I soothingly explained that if we opened a fraud case on the account the criminal would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but otherwise the owner of the credit account would be responsible for repayment. My psychic powers are sub-par. No one ever, ever threw the thieving relative under the bus.


Posted by: Credit Card Company Peon | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 2:22 PM
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I challenge any of you hot-house flowers to walk a mile in my shoes.

Only if the hat comes with them.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 2:43 PM
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In addition to being a pain in the ass, my mother *does* know how to pickle a cow's tongue. Delicious.

grandmothers sobbing that their grandson ran up fifteen thousand dollars on granny's card and they didn't know how to pay it.

Yeah, that shit is assholish. Someone did a bad job raising those brats. (Plus, one has to assume that at least some of them have massive addiction problems.)

Or maybe the little old ladies are lying!!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 3:10 PM
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Whatever the recipe for tongue is, it should be used for penis too. The German cannibal noted that penis is tough. It seems thoughtless to go to all that effort without thinking about recipes.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 3:59 PM
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Or maybe the little old ladies are lying!!

Hanging their grandkids out to dry, to pay for their bingo habits. Asshole grannies.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 4:03 PM
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154: Penis recipe.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 4:12 PM
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Hanging their grandkids out to dry

But they're not. The claim is that they won't prosecute. They're just trying to give the credit card company a sob story so it'll erase the debt.

Greedy old ladies.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 4:12 PM
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150+ comments and no one's gotten around to noticing that the situation is not just the mother and sister's fault but also the credit card issuers'? They're the ones who enabled the fraud to happen by sending out applications to an old address and then issuing cards based on forged applications. And they're the ones who have been defrauded, not Wife. She's got no duty to anybody here.

So if this were happening in my family, I think what I'd do is to write a letter to Mom and Sis saying that Wife has become aware that they opened cards in her name without her authorization and telling them they must cancel the cards immediately and take care of the balances. And then I'd monitor the credit report very closely to make sure that happened and put a hold (or whatever it is) on the credit bureaus' selling my information (which shouldn't be an inconvenience if one is debt-free and doesn't need to be getting five credit card offers a day in the mail). I'd stay away from intervening directly because I would want to be able to say very clearly, if it ever came to a dispute, that I didn't create the situation and it's not my problem.

The one missing piece in this plan is the credit bureaus. I don't know if there's any sort of duty to notify them if you request a report and find a discrepancy. But that's the only place I can see where Wife might be under some obligation to do something.

This is also a plan that probably works best when one doesn't have to pay for legal services and has enough social capital to be able to push back credibly against asshole credit card companies.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 4:16 PM
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I've been working in corporate fraud departments for 10 years now.

First, call the cops. No question. W/D has good instincts. The minute I saw that multiple cards + the wife thinking to ask them I would have bet any of you (and won) that the wife comes from a family of fuckups, and that they have a past with this kind of thing. Call the cops, and sever all ties with the family. All other ways lead to heartache and sometimes financial ruin. Sue them later? Bwahahahaha. You might win, and then what? You think they've got money laying around to pay you off with?

Second, get out of your head any idea that you will pull off "I'll report this as fraud, but pretend I don't know who did it." Companies employ cynical bastards like me who do nothing but investigate fuckups and their stupid schemes all day long. Maybe you'll luck out and get investigated by someone incompetent, but there's a good chance the case will get handed to someone like me who'll spot those shitty lies a mile away. The minute it comes out you're lying, it will be assumed that it was NOT fraud, and now you're on the hook for the debt.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 4:35 PM
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158

"... I'd stay away from intervening directly because I would want to be able to say very clearly, if it ever came to a dispute, that I didn't create the situation and it's not my problem. "

You could say that all you want but if and when the mother and sister claim it was all your idea it may become your problem anyway.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 4:50 PM
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I call shenanigans on 159. People who know something about the topic are supposed to recuse themselves. Here at Unfoged we're supposed to be an ignorant, impartial jury. Gswift should not have been empanelled.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 4:57 PM
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Dr B has broken my heart. I had never, ever thought the grannies might have been lying. The sobbing won me over every time!

That gullibility is why I never went to the risk management department. I wouldn't have been suspicious enough!


Posted by: CCC Peon | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 5:59 PM
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CCC Peon

Most serendipitously awesome pseud ever. You need to take out the space, though.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 6:07 PM
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I call shenanigans on 159.

Let me warm your heart by further saying that if the wife refuses to report this to the cops and credit card companies, the husband should seriously consider reporting it himself and then divorcing her.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 7:14 PM
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Yeah, there's not a lot of options here between that and accepting the fact that you've just given your family $17,000, which may or may not be repaid at their whim. The second option is a possible one, but if that's the way they end up going, they should accept that that's what they've done.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 7:37 PM
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I call shenanigans on both 159 and 164 on grounds that they reflect both an unduly corporate-friendly view of Wife's obligation for the debt (i.e., none) and an unduly--what? Utah values?--view of family fuckups and family relationships.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 7:38 PM
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166: Are you talking moral or legal responsibility? Morally, she's not responsible for it (assuming she didn't know ahead of time). Legally, on the other hand, the couple's on the hook if they don't report the fraud, and if she refuses to (or really, I suppose, avows responsibility for the debt to protect her family when and if her husband reports it), she's unilaterally imposing $17K of debt on him. That's within the realm of plausibly divorce-worthy to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 7:42 PM
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I think that the point has been that the Wife can't get out from under the debt without making her mother and sister liable for prosecution. Nobody's saying that she really owes the money.

On the family fuckups point, Gswift may be right that if they've done this, it's probably not the first time or the last time. I wouldn't be quite as unforgiving as him right off the bat, but it looks like the kind of thing tha could get steadily worse.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 7:45 PM
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LB, NPH, other law-talking people around, what do you guys think about the conversion theory I pulled out of my ass earlier? Googling "conversion" and "information torts" gets stories about conversion of a domain name, but nothing like this.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 7:46 PM
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I'm kind of with gswift, largely because (while this isn't my area), my sense is that he's got the real options in hand here, and there are only two: assume the $17K as the couple's own debt, which they have no real legal recourse against anyone for (they can try to guilt-trip the family members into paying it back, but that's it), or report and prosecute. And if the first option is unacceptable to you, but your spouse is blocking the second, that's divorce-worthy, not only for this debt but for the possibility of similar events going forward.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 7:51 PM
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I just did a brief relating to conversion of money, and I don't think this works. Conversion of money has to be a specific, identifiable fund that person A had a superior legal right to, and person B took possession of. In this case, the couple never had the $17K; they didn't even know about it before the family borrowed it. The cause of action here is fraud, really. But I'm not sure how a failure to report or prosecute the fraud would play into a civil suit; I think (although I don't really know) there might be an estoppel issue, or at least an evidentiary problem.

But if you could get a fraud judgment, and enforce it whenever they had any assets, that would be a nice middle ground short of prosecution. If the legal bills didn't eat the $17K, which they would, making the exercise pointless.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 7:56 PM
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'superior legal right to' should be 'superior legal right to or legitimate possession of'; I'd have to look at a case to get the language straight.

The funny thing is that I just did this, and I'm blanking on the case -- I remember drafting something on the issue very recently, but the facts of the case are gone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 7:58 PM
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163: CCCPeon is good. C3Peon is also good.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 8:00 PM
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170

"I'm kind of with gswift, largely because (while this isn't my area), my sense is that he's got the real options in hand here, and there are only two: assume the $17K as the couple's own debt, which they have no real legal recourse against anyone for (they can try to guilt-trip the family members into paying it back, but that's it), or report and prosecute"

I don't think this is quite right. If they report it they may have to cooperate with a prosecution but they don't have to personally prosecute. And as a practical matter no one is going to prosecute if the debt is paid so they could report it and then lend (formally) the mother and sister the money to pay off the cards (it would be prudent to pay the card companies directly). Of course the mother and sister are likely to default but they then would have whatever legal recourse is available for bad debts.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 8:18 PM
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166

"I call shenanigans on both 159 and 164 on grounds that they reflect both an unduly corporate-friendly view of Wife's obligation for the debt (i.e., none) ..."

I think this is reflecting the world as you would like it to be not as it is. Even if the wife has no legal obligation (doubtful) this could and likely would completely ruin her credit if she is uncooperative.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 8:23 PM
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to cooperate with a prosecution but they don't have to personally prosecute.

? What are you envisioning as the distinction here? There's nothing any crime victim can do that would qualify as 'personally prosecuting' rather than cooperating with a prosecution.

if the debt is paid so they could report it and then lend (formally) the mother and sister the money to pay off the cards (it would be prudent to pay the card companies directly). Of course the mother and sister are likely to default but they then would have whatever legal recourse is available for bad debts.

That's contingent on cooperation from the mother and sister, and probably on being able to come up with $17K in cash to pay off the cards with. It could happen, but it's not really in the couple's control. And it leaves them with a debt to be collected from a family member with no assets, and as someone who's done a little (thankfully very little) in the way of enforcing judgments, it's somewhere in between brutally difficult and impossible if the debtor doesn't have identifiable assets.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 8:26 PM
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176

"What are you envisioning as the distinction here"

It is not their decision to prosecute or not. And depending on the jurisdiction $17000 might be too small to be criminally prosecuted in which case they would be cooperating with the credit card companies's civil suit (if any) not pursuing their own civil suit.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 8:40 PM
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The minute it comes out you're lying, it will be assumed that it was NOT fraud, and now you're on the hook for the debt.

Maybe I'm just paranoid, and it's been many decades since I knew anything about this stuff, but.

Once someone lies to help another perpetrate a criminal fraud, aren't there potential problems with accomplice liability, or aiding and abetting, or some such thing?


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 8:45 PM
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It is not their decision to prosecute or not.

No shit, Sherlock. The decision is only whether or not to report it to the police and cooperate with any resulting prosecution. And their real world choices are to do that, or to pay back the $17K themselves and not have a lot of genuine hope of being able to compel the mother and sister to pay it back to them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 8:48 PM
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178: The way it would play out, I'm fairly sure, is that the credit card company's position would be "Oh, you didn't report this as fraud? Then it wasn't fraud. Nothing criminal happened here, you just kindly allowed your family members to run up charges on these cards you're responsible for. Aren't you nice. Enjoy paying down the balances." So no worries about criminal liability, just the debt.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 8:51 PM
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I wasn't thinking conversion of the 17K, I was thinking conversion of her identity, analogous to conversion of a business opportunity, which I thought was a recognized tort but I'm not at all sure about. But a problem with that theory, which should have stopped me cold, is that the wife wasn't deprived of possession of her identity, she could keep using it while her mother and sister did too. Maybe trespass to chattels, with the chattel being your identity?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:02 PM
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I call shenanigans on both 159 and 164 on grounds that they reflect both an unduly corporate-friendly view of Wife's obligation for the debt (i.e., none)

As others have pointed out, they're at a crossroads here. The cc company is bound by federal law to eat fraudulent debt. If they don't want to report it, fine. But then they are accepting responsibility for those accounts.

and an unduly--what? Utah values?--view of family fuckups and family relationships.

Whatever. Two different family members of different generations fraudulently opening multiple credit accounts in someone elses name. Oh, and the sister in law that's involved just happens to live with the mother with her own daughter, and as 44 poointed out, has a history of using contact with the niece as leverage.

Almost certainly not the first time, and if they do nothing, it won't be the last. Requests to co sign loans they'll then default on, pressure to buy into their latest pyramid scheme, investment plan, etc. Well meaning people get taken down by shitty family members all the time. And I guarantee the mother and sister are justifying it by telling themselves that the couple in question could afford it, that they have plenty of money, and that they wouldn't be in this situation if the couple was just more generous with them, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:03 PM
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And what 180 said. The threat to the couple here isn't criminal, just financial.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:05 PM
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181: That's creative, but I don't think it's on the books yet. Might could be you could sell it to a judge, or maybe I'm behind the times and somebody already has, but I don't think an 'identity' is the sort of chattel that can be converted or trespassed upon conventionally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:06 PM
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180: Right, sorry, I wasn't clear and didn't quote the pertinent part. I was thinking about Gswift's comment:

Second, get out of your head any idea that you will pull off "I'll report this as fraud, but pretend I don't know who did it." ... The minute it comes out you're lying, it will be assumed that it was NOT fraud, and now you're on the hook for the debt.

That middle ground, where you claim fraud but try to protect the criminal, looks slippery I don't know that it would actually be pursued by any but the most vindictive DA and credit card company, but there are plenty of vindictive DAs and credit card companies. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the credit card company wanted to go this route to get you to pay, assuming that the deadbeats are deadbeats.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:08 PM
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uh oh, I missed a period. I'm in trouble.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:08 PM
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One other thing about the practical situation, rather than the legal situation. This is cynical, and I could be wrong, but the fact that the mother and sister have been keeping current on the payments? That reads to me like an effort to keep the cards quiet, rather than a committment to paying them back. I wouldn't be half surprised if the payments stopped now that they were busted.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:09 PM
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the credit card company wanted to go this route to get you to pay

I don't think they'd have to. You're on the hook, it's a credit card in your name. They don't have to prosecute you, just refuse to cancel the debt as fraudulent because you lied about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:10 PM
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but the fact that the mother and sister have been keeping current on the payments? That reads to me like an effort to keep the cards quiet, rather than a committment to paying them back.

Yep. Any decent collection effort if the payments were missed would include a Lexis/Nexis search to find the current address of the cardholder, and once the notices came to the couple, game over.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:12 PM
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185

"That middle ground, where you claim fraud but try to protect the criminal, looks slippery ..."

It also looks pointless and futile since the mother and sister are living at the address on the card.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:21 PM
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uh oh, I missed a period. I'm in trouble.

Your comment is pregnant with meaning.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:28 PM
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191: I've been meaning to comment on your pregnancy.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:34 PM
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I'm too -- how do the Spanish say? -- embarazada to say a thing.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:51 PM
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193: Estoy avergonzado para usted.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 9:57 PM
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No ten verguenza. Solo es juego de palabaras con amigos falsos.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:03 PM
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As others have pointed out, they're at a crossroads here. The cc company is bound by federal law to eat fraudulent debt. If they don't want to report it, fine. But then they are accepting responsibility for those accounts.

How so? Where does the duty to report the fraud come from? You seem to be suggesting that failing to report is implicit authorization to continue. I don't buy that. I think if you write to Mom and Sis recounting the history and telling them to knock it the hell off, you've covered that base. You may well have to fight the credit card company over it, but you should win.

You're on the hook, it's a credit card in your name.

You didn't ask for the application, you didn't sign it, you didn't use the card. How does the fact that a card was fraudulently issued in your name make you liable for anything? There are certainly practical considerations--keeping the credit report clean, avoiding a big ugly fight with the issuers, proof problems created by deadbeat relatives--but what's the legal theory on which the issuers are going to hold Wife liable if she is aware of the situation and doesn't report it?

182.2: I'm trying not to get irked by the apparent assumption that I'm talking out my ass about dealing with deadbeat family members/inlaws. I'm not. Reporting them, cutting off contact, etc., is attractive in theory and appeals to the whole We Don't Associate With People Like That thing, but sometimes people just aren't willing to do that to family.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:30 PM
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196

"... but what's the legal theory on which the issuers are going to hold Wife liable if she is aware of the situation and doesn't report it?"

Apparent authority?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:42 PM
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NPH, I don't understand you. Until the cardholders claim fraud, there's no fraud. Once the cardholders claim fraud, they're off the hook for the debt, but their relatives are subject to prosecution. This seems totally clear cut. The dilemma is that they're unwilling to take steps making their relatives prosecutable.

The credit card issuers aren't going to prosecute the cardholders unless they involve themselves in deception. But the cardholders will be stuck with the bill. As soon as they report fraud, regardless of whether they finger their relatives, their relatives are in trouble.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:44 PM
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There are certainly practical considerations--keeping the credit report clean, avoiding a big ugly fight with the issuers, proof problems created by deadbeat relatives--but what's the legal theory on which the issuers are going to hold Wife liable if she is aware of the situation and doesn't report it?

CC Company: "Hey, you opened up with credit card with us, and have stopped paying the bills. Where's our money?"

Wife: "No, I didn't open it. I didn't use the card. I owe you nothing."

CC Company: "It sure looks like you signed the application. If you sign something that says you didn't open it, federal law says we have to take your word for it and can't go after you."

What then? Wife refuses to state in a legally binding manner that the she didn't incur the debts but refuses to pay as well? I can't imagine that will get very far in court...


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:46 PM
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198

NPH is claiming the cardholders can delay reporting the fraud until the credit card companies come after them for payment without compromising their legal position which sounds incredibly risky at best.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:47 PM
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199

"CC Company: "It sure looks like you signed the application. If you sign something that says you didn't open it, federal law says we have to take your word for it and can't go after you.""

I find it hard to believe that is actually the law.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 10:50 PM
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Reporting them, cutting off contact, etc., is attractive in theory and appeals to the whole We Don't Associate With People Like That thing,

You make it sound like this is some kind of class snobbery.

but sometimes people just aren't willing to do that to family.

I'm just the messenger. There's two likely outcomes here. Report it and have it written off by the cc company as fraud, or assume you're going to be taking on the debt. Maybe you think that's how it shouldn't be, but that's how it's going to play out.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:00 PM
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198: The part that you're missing is that they aren't Wife's cards. You'd be right if they were legitimately-issued cards that had been misappropriated by Mom and Sister. But these were fraudulent from the get-go.

199: No, the law says that they get to recover from Wife only if they prove that she owes them money. Nobody has to take anybody's word for anything, but if they want to get a judgment, the burden of proof is on them, and if the facts are as represented, they lose.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:01 PM
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202.1: Possibly because it is?

202.2: As I said at the beginning, my approach is based, among other things, on being able and willing to defend against bullshit claims. Your "that's how it's going to play out" is basically an assertion that the credit card company is going to bully Wife into paying money she doesn't owe unless she plays ball with them. That may be true for Wife. I'm not advising her, I'm saying how I think I would deal with it.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:05 PM
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NPH, you still sound nutso. What is the method by which Wife can get out from under the debt without getting Mother and Sister in trouble? She has to claim fraud at some point, and once she does, Mother and Sister are prosecutable.

If we're talking about whether Wife is also prosecutable if she reports fraud without also reporting who committed the fraud, it seems that she would be if the company could prove that she knew, but not otherwise.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:09 PM
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I'm not sure how it applies to cards fraudulently opened, but it is certainly the case that your maximum liability for unauthorized use of your credit card is $50. If you sign (and notarize) a statement saying that you didn't authorize the charge, at the very least the credit card company has to prove that you obtained whatever it is they say you bought.

In practice, they'll take the money back from the merchants who it went to, and if the merchant protests excessively, they may try to get it back from the fraudsters.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:11 PM
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Possibly because it is?

You're out of your gourd. Shunning people who fuck you over is not class snobbery.

an assertion that the credit card company is going to bully Wife into paying money she doesn't owe unless she plays ball with them.

If she wants to dispute the debts on her credit report, she'll have to sign something to the effect that she didn't open the accounts. If she wants the cc company to eat the cost, same deal.

If the cc takes her to civil court over the debts, the first damn thing is going to be a set of interragatories and request for admissions that includes something to the effedt of "did you set up these accounts."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:11 PM
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damn, "effect"


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:12 PM
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203

"No, the law says that they get to recover from Wife only if they prove that she owes them money. Nobody has to take anybody's word for anything, but if they want to get a judgment, the burden of proof is on them, and if the facts are as represented, they lose."

Civil cases do not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt just more likely than not. And as for the law, if I go around door to door saying I work for XYZ insurance company although I don't and selling phony policies XYZ does not have to honor them. But if XYZ knows I am doing this and does nothing to stop me I am pretty sure they are liable. The wife's situation seems analogous so why are you so confident she is in the clear? Are you a lawyer?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:16 PM
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199: No, the law says that they get to recover from Wife only if they prove that she owes them money. Nobody has to take anybody's word for anything, but if they want to get a judgment, the burden of proof is on them, and if the facts are as represented, they lose.

Are you suggesting that if the credit card company shows up with a signed application, says it's from the Wife, and the Wife just stands there and shrugs her shoulders, that the credit card company will lose? Or that they should lose?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:18 PM
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205: I'm mostly not suggesting otherwise. What I'm saying is that if it were my problem, I would establish a written record, in the form of a letter to Mom and Sis, laying out my understanding of what had happened, stating that what they did was unauthorized, and telling them to fix it. If they fix it, no problem. If they don't fix it, then the problem is back, and yes, Wife's unlikely to get out of paying without implicitly or explicitly fingering Mom and Sis. But I don't think kicking the can down the road changes Wife's legal position.

The one place where I think you're wrong is that I don't think Wife's knowledge of the fraud makes any difference with respect to her legal position. The reason I think that is that I don't think she's under any legal duty to tell the credit card company that she's learned that someone has opened a fraudulent card in her name. She's an innocent bystander. I have a very hard time accepting the idea that credit card company's negligent marketing and underwriting practices + Mom and Sis's fraud = duty on Wife.

Having said that, Congress being Congress, it's possible that there's a statutory duty specific to the credit card industry in connection with their generally being responsible for fraudulent charges. If someone points such a thing out, I'll stand corrected. But AFAIK the reporting thing only kicks in with a legitimate card that's been stolen, which isn't what's going on here.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:21 PM
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The couple should freeze their credit reports (preventing new credit from being obtained without their knowledge) and then demand the credit cards and destroy them. They should then change the address on the cards, put new passwords on the online accounts and set up a repayment schedule with the mom and sister.

Alternatively, report their asses.


Posted by: bemused | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:21 PM
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Shunning people who fuck you over is not class snobbery.

No, it isn't. What's class snobbery is taking it a step further and saying that's the only sensible thing to do.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:24 PM
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NPH: Even though it probably isn't, this looks like a classic case of collusive fraud. We're talking about a mother and her two daughters, and apparently Wife until not too long ago lived in the same house as Sister and Mother. I think that it would (rightly) be hard for her to make the case that she was an "innocent bystander" and that "someone" had stolen her identity, when "someone" was her mother and sister. A former roommate, maybe.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:29 PM
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What's class snobbery is taking it a step further and saying that's the only sensible thing to do.

There's a pattern of behavior here. If they don't shun them, they should expect more shenanigans in the future. I really don't see how that translates into class snobbery.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:32 PM
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The one place where I think you're wrong is that I don't think Wife's knowledge of the fraud makes any difference with respect to her legal position. The reason I think that is that I don't think she's under any legal duty to tell the credit card company that she's learned that someone has opened a fraudulent card in her name. She's an innocent bystander. I have a very hard time accepting the idea that credit card company's negligent marketing and underwriting practices + Mom and Sis's fraud = duty on Wife.

Anyone can try to get out of debts fraudulently incurred via the legal system. The relevant bit is that certain types of credit card fraud cases are tried under assumptions that very much favor the supposed debtor. One of those things is notifying the credit card company when you discover the fraudulent charges. So while she has no legal duty to tell the company, not telling them and documenting that she didn't disqualifies her from receiving the special unauthorized-credit-card-use protections. She'd still probably win, but it would be a harder fight.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-18-08 11:38 PM
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She'd still probably win

I for one wouldn't want to be the one to go in front of a judge and try and pull off "I knew they were doing it, but I'm not in on it, and no, I didn't report it to the authorities or the credit card companies."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-19-08 12:00 AM
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216: You're thinking of rules that apply when a legitimately-issued card is lost or stolen, I think. That isn't what's happening here.

215: You don't see any class element at all in believing that no one should have to live with shenanigan-committing relatives?

214: That's true. I don't think "someone" works. All I'm arguing is that Wife should be able to get by with leaning on Mom and Sis to solve the problem first and dealing with the credit card companies later if Mom and Sis flake out. At which time it may also be easier to deal with the family situation, since they'd no longer be in a position to say that they're not doing any harm and it would be heartless to turn them in.

Also, if it came to that, I'm kind of skeptical that the card issuers would push the issue in a standup fight. They're good at bullying people into paying up to avoid a fight, but they're really not eager to draw attention to how much fraud they're willing to live with to keep their marketing humming.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-19-08 12:03 AM
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217: "Doing it" meaning "making payments"?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-19-08 12:05 AM
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You don't see any class element at all in believing that no one should have to live with shenanigan-committing relatives?

Dude, there's "I borrowed your car without asking" shenanigans, and there's "I fraudulently ran up 17k in debt in your name" shenanigans.

"Doing it" meaning "making payments"?

Meaning, "making charges to these accounts." Although I guess if they've already maxed the cards, maybe that's no longer the case.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-19-08 12:15 AM
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220.1: Again, I'm not saying it's not a reasonable solution, just not that it's not the only solution. Families are complicated. Extrapolating a bit from the description of the family situation, there's some reason to think it would be helpful to give Mom and Sis a chance to fix it, and I think that that can be done without making Wife's situation significantly worse.

220.2: Which is why Step 1 in the "give them a chance to fix it first" plan is to tell them they must cancel the cards immediately and make sure they do it.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-19-08 12:27 AM
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211

"The one place where I think you're wrong is that I don't think Wife's knowledge of the fraud makes any difference with respect to her legal position. The reason I think that is that I don't think she's under any legal duty to tell the credit card company that she's learned that someone has opened a fraudulent card in her name. She's an innocent bystander. I have a very hard time accepting the idea that credit card company's negligent marketing and underwriting practices + Mom and Sis's fraud = duty on Wife."

I am not a lawyer but I am pretty sure you are wrong. If someone is using your name to commit crimes and you know about and don't do anything to stop it you become an accomplice just the same as if they were borrowing your car to rob banks. Particularly if you benefit in any way, for instant is the wife getting any gifts from sister and/or mother.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-19-08 1:10 AM
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That breaks down if you assume, as NPH is doing, that all the crime was in the past when the couple found out. You're not an accomplice for not revealing a past crime you know about.

NPH: some reason to think it would be helpful to give Mom and Sis a chance to fix it, and I think that that can be done without making Wife's situation significantly worse.

The problem I'm seeing is that doing anything other than reporting it immediately does horrendous things to the couple's evidentiary position, and any good outcome depends on trusting the people who took out $17K of fraudulent debt under their name. If the payments get made until the debt goes away, that works out fine.

If that doesn't happen, the credit card company starts collection proceedings against the couple, and ruins their credit rating. If at that point they cry fraud, and it comes out that they've known about it for years, it looks a lot more collusive -- Oh, so you let your family run up debt in your name and that didn't bother you, but suddenly they're fraudsters when the debt has to be paid back?

I don't practice in this area, so I can't really calculate the odds, but tolerating it looks like a real risk of ending up stuck with the whole amount.

(On the class thing: it's not that 'no one should tolerate having fucked up family'; it's the real risk of having to assume a debt this size. Depending on the family dynamics, that might be the way to go, but I think going that way should be done with an open-eyed understanding that there's a good chance that's what will happen.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-08 6:18 AM
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LizardBreath!!!

It's been tough for me around here without LB; I have to work out for myself what opinions I should hold. The quality of the opinions thus generated is inconsistent at best.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-19-08 6:24 AM
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I think NPH is responding to this situation as if it is an individual case, and gswift as if it is part of a pattern. Both are true.

It is an individual case in two senses -- it's the only documented example of fraud that we know of from this particular Mother and Sister, and of course they're the only family we're talking about.

But it's also part of a pattern in that the original poster seemed to indicate this was part of a much longer history of behavior on Mother and Sister's part, and that in the general course of human events, many families create/deal with situations like this.

IME, families are usually fanatically reluctant to admit that they or their family member are part of a larger, predictable pattern. No! This is is a special case! There were unusual pressures! It will Never Happen Again.

Sometimes this is true. But it's like actuarial tables. Most of the time you're gonna die when they say you are.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-19-08 8:11 AM
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This isn't about class (unless it cuts the other way: tut, tut, it's only $17K, no harm there, peel me a grape and let's call it even. She won't do it again, she's from the right sort of people, no need to involve the authorities. That's for real identity thieves. Not just this misunderstanding.) It's about how people don't want to involve the law when it's family because they can see both sides of the story.

I see NPH and gswift as talking past each other. gswift is saying what's likely to happen, and how that would be likely to play out: if they do report it, the mom and sis will be on the hook for fraud, and if they don't, they're going to be stuck with the debt. NPH is talking how it would be very hard for someone to turn in a family member. And where they're conflicting is that 'give them a chance' means, assuming gswift is right, 'expect to take on the whole debt.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-19-08 8:41 AM
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Yeah, and I'm leaning toward gswift's side because I think once they know about the debt and don't turn in the mother and sister, the credit card companies can and will make their lives very difficult if the debt doesn't get paid back, in a credit-ruining and lawyering kind of way. NPH might be right that the couple might get away without the CC company getting a judgment against them for the amount of the debt, but getting to that point would be likely to be brutal.

So not turning the mother and sister in means either paying off the debt yourself, suffering through a really nasty battle with the CC company, with a possible loss at the end so that you'd have to pay off the debt anyway, or counting on the mother and sister's solvency and trustworthyness. As a matter of mental health and emotional peace of mind, I wouldn't go that route unless the first of the three options was acceptable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-08 11:31 AM
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227

"... with a possible loss at the end so that you'd have to pay off the debt anyway, ..."

And maybe the credit card company's legal fees as well.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-19-08 2:18 PM
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Very unlikely.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 4:03 PM
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I think NPH is entirely right and wins big points for being the person to cut through the assumptions everyone else was bringing to the discussion. The entire problem hinges on the question of whether or not there is a *legal* requirement to report fraud in your name if you find out about it.

I know the banks and cc companies tell you all the time to do it, but as a matter of fact, I *dont* think they say its legally required, which leads me to suspect its one of those "you have to do it (to save our asses)" things.

Now, in terms of how it would *look* if they dont report it, sure, practically speaking thats an issue--which is why NPH is saying they should document things from this point forward (i.e., the point at which they found out about the fraud forward). But really, contacting a lawyer who practices this kind of law and asking if they have a legal requirement to report should settle the question. If the answer is no, then the issue simply becomes, deal with the shit now, or postpone it until later, and the decision depends (I should think) on whether or not they think that Mom and Sis will continue to make the payments, and whether or not theyre going to need their credit any time soon (i.e., if they plan on buying a house).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 4:24 PM
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Most of us were focusing on the likely outcome of not reporting it vs. reporting it, not over whether there was a duty to report.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 4:30 PM
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Most of us seemed to be assuming that if she didn't report it, she'd be liable for the debt, though.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 4:37 PM
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Most of us seemed to be assuming that if she didn't report it, she'd be liable for the debt, though.

This is exactly what I would assume. The wife either has to report this as fraud (which, understandably, she is reluctant to do) or resign herself to being liable for the debt and either pay if off herself or hope that her mother and sister will pay it off (which I would assume they cannot do, or why did they get 17K into credit card debt in the first place?).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 4:52 PM
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There are two different questions, though. What are the couple's duties if everyone knows and agrees on the truth; and what are the credit card companies, courts, and so forth likely to believe and do if it comes out that the debt was run up by the wife's family and the couple has known about it for a long time without reporting it.

First, on the legal duty -- NPH is (I'm almost entirely sure) right in a vacuum, that there's no abstract duty to report that someone used your name fraudulently in the past as soon as you become aware of it. If I were a credit card company, though, I'd put a contractual duty to report fraud or assume the resulting debt in the agreement. I don't know that there is a clause like that in the agreement, but I wouldn't count on there not being one without checking. And if there is a clause like that, I'd bet that it's enforceable.

Even if there is no legal duty, the question is what will the credit card company do to you. And if they know you knew about and didn't report the fraud, I'd bet they'll at the least fuck up your credit, which they can do without going to court. You can try to unfuck it, and I don't know the procedures, but I bet it'd be miserable, and with the facts as given might not be possible without going to court yourself. Which means thousands in legal bills at a minimum. (No contingency billing, because there's no recovery for you; you wouldn't get a lawyer unless you could pay up front.)

If they did take you to court to get a judgment, (a) you'd need to pay a lawyer. That's a lot of money. (b) You'd need to convince a judge or jury that "My family did this without my permission and I didn't turn them in when I found out about it" was more likely than "I let my family use my credit to borrow money." That's not a slam-dunk case to make, given that you've got (and really couldn't have) any evidence that you didn't know about it from the beginning. And god alone knows if the mother and sister would tell the truth in such a proceeding: they're demonstrably untrustworthy, are they going to confess to felony fraud on the stand in order to get you out of trouble? Might, but might not.

What the legal duty is, once everyone agrees on the facts is one thing. (And there might be such a duty, created by contract.) The hell you'd be in for trying to establish the facts, though, seems pretty clear.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 5:01 PM
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232: That's true. That doesn't make it a legal duty to report absent some kind of language in the contract, just that if she doesn't report it, it's treated like any other credit card in her name.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 5:08 PM
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Here's a random credit card agreement that has a duty to immediately report unauthorized use. Now, it doesn't say what the consequence of not reporting it is, but if I were litigating this, I'd be arguing that a clause like that entitled the CC company to treat unreported fraud as retroactively authorized.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 5:19 PM
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But in this case the mother and sister didn't use the wife's card without authorization, they fraudulently obtained a card in the wife's name so the wife has no agreement with the credit card company.

Still you are just asking for trouble if you know about fraudulent use of your name and don't report it. For example even if the wife is only liable for future fraud she has no sure way of ensuring the mother and sister stop without reporting them. And as LB noted not reporting them might lead people to falsely infer the reason the wife didn't want to report them was she had known all along.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 5:36 PM
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Not precisely on point, and this may well not be current law, but here's what NM law used to be on harboring a felon (Uniform Jury Instruction 14-240, as of 1998):

For you to find D guilty of harboring a felon the sate must prove ...
1. That D [concealed] [gave aid to] (name of felon) with the intent that (name of felon) [avoid arrest, trial, conviction or punishment]

2. That D knew that (name of felon) had comitted (named felony)

3. This happened in New Mexico ...


It looks to me like if Wife conceals her knowledge of the (presumably) felonious fraudulent credit card use, with the intent that her mom and sis avoid being sent to jail or charged with the fraud, she's got a problem.

This does require the wife to "conceal', which is more than merely not saying anything, perhaps. But if she lies to avoid implicating mom and sis, that'd look like concealment to me.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 6:13 PM
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they fraudulently obtained a card in the wife's name so the wife has no agreement with the credit card company

This is absolutely right, and I am pwned. Ever thought about law school, Shearer? (Everything I said above about the hassle and difficulty of proving ones non-responsibility for the debt stands, but there is of course no contractual duty where one did not enter into a contract.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 6:15 PM
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Dude, they obtained three credit cards in the wife's name. Now maybe she has no real interaction with any of those credit issuers and maybe she doesn't, but still, three fraudulant credit cards is so not anymore a whoops-a-daisy-let's-work-this-out situation.

As Auric Goldfinger said, once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 6:22 PM
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"... Ever thought about law school, Shearer? ..."

It has been occasionally suggested but I never found the prospect of being a lawyer particularly attractive and it is a little late at this point. I do find the law interesting.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 7:01 PM
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I was kidding, of course. But real world equivalents of straight logic puzzles do come up a fair amount (not that that one really qualifies as a puzzle, I just wasn't thinking straight).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-08 7:13 PM
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