Stories about breaking the law!

Bankrupt, Financially And Morally

, , , | Legal | June 22, 2021

It’s a Monday in the 1990s. My neighbour is new; they bought the house last week. I see him walking home while I work in my garden and I immediately see that something is wrong. We don’t know each other that well yet, but you know the walk when you see it.

Me: “Hey, is everything all right?”

Neighbour: “[Home Appliance Chain] went bankrupt.”

Me: “What? When did that happen? “

Neighbour: “I went to their store… It was empty. “

Me: “They closed?”

Neighbour: “No… It was empty. Nothing was there. Just… floors and walls.”

Me: “Hold up… Did you buy something from them?”

Neighbour: *Nodding* “I bought everything from them: refrigerator, stove, washing machine… I paid for everything.”

Me: “Oh, no. When?”

Neighbour: “Saturday. How… how am I supposed to tell my wife about this?”

I was lost for words. It turns out the store went bankrupt and managed to keep it from everyone… even their employees! Their employees made wonderful sales on Saturday and closed the shops — they were closed on Sunday — and when they returned on Monday, the stores were all cleaned out by the owners, and the employees were told they were out of a job. 

Since the owners filed for bankruptcy, it took weeks before it was granted, and then the remaining money was split over suppliers, employees, and on the bottom of the list, clients. It won’t surprise you that there wasn’t enough to repay my neighbour. 

I did not have the funds to help them financially, but luckily, they had family and friends who helped with loans and donations.

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Apparently, There’s Some Fraud In Your Network

, , , , , , | Legal | June 20, 2021

I worked for a while in the office of a railway company. At the time, the company ran both a long-distance main line and a more local network. My department dealt with delay claims; in the UK, if your train is delayed by more than thirty minutes, you are entitled to some or all of the price of your ticket back. Because long-distance main line tickets can be very expensive, all the delay claims on the main line were checked to make sure they were genuine, but claims on the local network weren’t because the company believed it wasn’t worth it, since any losses due to fraud were likely to be very small.

But then, the policy changed; checks were introduced to the local network, as well. The savings from this amounted to £8,000 in the first week alone! And a man who had appeared to be the unluckiest traveller ever was discovered to have put in for compensation for more delays than there had been on the entire network that year.

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Take It To Your Grave

, , , , , , , | Legal | June 18, 2021

I had a client come into my office to deal with her brother’s estate. Her brother, unmarried and childless, had known he was terminal for almost a year before he died. He chose to spend that year applying for as many credit cards as he could and maxing them all out. Amazingly, he got credit cards for four major banks and managed to rack up more than $50,000.00 in debt before he died. He had maybe $10,000.00 in savings that he had kept as a cushion to make sure the debt collectors didn’t come after him until it was too late.

The first thing I did was assure the sister that no one was responsible for her brother’s debts except his estate. After that, I gave her the options.

Option A was the technically correct way to handle the estate: contact all the banks, get them to agree to take a ratable percentage of the remaining assets, and pay them out. This could take months and would cost a lot of money.

Option B was not technically the correct way to handle it but it was easier: contact the banks, tell them that the sister had resigned as estate trustee and no one was replacing her, and ask them not to contact her.

She obviously went with Option B. With no one in charge of the estate, the banks couldn’t even attempt to collect on the debt, and there was no way to go through legal channels to collect the money that would not cost ten times the money owed.

Do I have sympathy for the banks? Nope.

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Loyalty, Thy Name Is Dog

, , , , , , , | Legal | June 16, 2021

Police came and pulled a student out of my class, much to the interest of his classmates. He was informed that he was needed at his home immediately but was given no other information. The cops loaded the boy into the back of the cruiser, while his classmates looked on, and they went to the boy’s house.

When they arrived, this was the scene that greeted him. A group of cops was standing at the gate to the backyard, one with his sidearm drawn and pointing into the backyard. The boy was brought forward and he saw two men sitting in the tree in the backyard with his dog at the base watching them and growling softly.

Apparently, one of the men, actually a teenager, had hopped the fence and broken into the house and then proceeded to help himself to whatever took his fancy. As the burglar started to exit the house, a big white dog came charging out, barking at full volume, charging the teen into the backyard and up the tree. The dog had managed to close his jaws on the rear pocket of the teen’s jeans and turn out the entire panel; his wallet was located in this panel.

The dog heard the cops approaching as they responded to a neighbor reporting the break-in and had slunk back into his ambush spot. The cops saw the teen in the tree and one jumped the fence to arrest him. Out came the dog again, barking at full volume. The officer ended up in the same tree as the teen.

The other officers were trying to decide what to do when, as it’s a small town, one was sent to collect the boy from school. The officer with the drawn sidearm was getting set to “end the situation” when the boy appeared. The boy was asked to control the situation, which he did. He walked into the backyard and called the dog to his side. The dog looked over his shoulder, wagged his tail at seeing his owner, and turned back to continue growling at the men in the tree, all the while scooting backward toward the boy.

When the dog reached the boy, he was sent into the garage where the boy closed the door behind him. He turned to the cops and asked, “What’s the problem?”

The teen was arrested and hauled off and the cops, impressed with the display, actually offered to buy the dog. It seems the dog would let you enter but wouldn’t let you leave.

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“Personal Issues” Apparently Means “Running From The Law”

, , , , | Legal | June 14, 2021

It’s the grand opening of a new store in the chain, about forty miles from my store. All the bigwigs are there, as well as most of the store managers from my district.

I got a text this morning from my manager, asking me to resend an email to the district manager because the system was down when he tried to send it last night.

The email went something like this.

Manager: “I’m taking the weekend off. Having personal issues. Please apply my personal time. If this is a big deal, consider it my two-week notice.”

Thing is, he is due at the new store tomorrow to help with the grand opening. It should be no surprise that the district manager is furious. I get a call from her later that morning saying that [Other Store Manager] will be coming and I am to help him however I can.

Then, things take a new turn.

[Other Store Manager] shows up and asks for the last two months worth of credit signature slips. Surprised, as I only thought he was going to help cover the store, I show him where to find them.

As it turns out, when the manager buys gasoline, he manually enters the credit card number and then scribbles on the slip. I asked him about it last month, and he told me it was a company card from his “other job” that he has permission to use.

Well, apparently, he didn’t have permission.

After [Other Store Manager] gathers all the slips and compares them to a valid slip where the card was scanned by the cardholder, he calls the district manager, who comes in and calls the police.

Turns out [Manager] is on probation for theft and immediately started stealing again as soon as he got this job.

The district manager changes the safe combination and the office PC password and re-keys the security tape box. 

We now have orders to call the police if [Manager] comes into the store. I kind of doubt he will, though, as I suspect that he got wind of something stirring over this and just disappeared — by the barest skin of his teeth, apparently.

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