Andrew L. Quiat (“Andy”)

I’ve Lost a Lot Of Money In An Investment I Made. How Do I Know If I Was Defrauded Or If It Was Just A Bad Investment?

Your question is one of the most common questions I receive and you are not alone in having lost a significant amount of money in what you thought was something perhaps legitimate. So the question is how do you know whether it was a legitimate investment gone bad or whether it was designed to go bad from the beginning and in fact was fraudulent and a rip off? You determine this by looking at the facts of a situation and in order to look at the facts of the situation we have to do some level of investigation combined with your knowledge and what you can tell me about the people with whom you’ve interacted and dealt with and what you already know about their history. I, oftentimes in just discussing the matter with someone, ask about whether we have available readily and easily what we call badges of fraud or legal tests that have evolved over the past 500 years in western culture as to whether or not something is fraudulent.

We then can dig deeper using federally regulated databases to which we have specific access and using other tools depending on what the circumstances dictate. We discuss every step with you ahead of time, its projected cost and we evaluate it step by step as we go investigating whether it is or is not a fraudulent conveyance among other things.

How Do I Know I Am Not Throwing Good Money after Bad In This Investment?

This also is a very common question that should be on somebody’s mind especially if you’ve suffered a significant economic loss in your life and you are not certain whether or not the loss was a legitimate business loss or if you have been in fact, defrauded. Most of my cases involve the loss of a million dollars or more. There are a few that are less. Whatever the loss, to those who have suffered it, it is significant and important in your life and the life, usually of your family. You obviously don’t want to throw good money after bad but it does cost money to determine the nature of the loss and to secure the recovery to which you are justly entitled. . It is just an economic reality; there is no way around it. When you come in to see me I am happy to give you a very limited amount of time, generally an hour, as a courtesy to see if it’s something that’s even of interest to me and to see if I have got the bare bone outline of an area where I can provide you some potential relief, beyond that, there is cost involved.

We do it in stages and in steps and the earlier we can ascertain together whether you are likely to have an economic recovery or whether in fact there are no assets or it was a legitimate bad investment, the earlier we determine that, the happier we both are. What I enjoy is effecting recovery for people. Also, although less gratifying, it is important and useful when I see we cannot get a good recovery either because we cannot make out the legal tests to provide that kind of debt recovery or if we early on determine the debtor really not only has no assets but controls no significant assets. There are a series of what we call badges of fraud. Oftentimes we get to assets that are owned or controlled by others on the surface, but in fact controlled by your debtor. That situation becomes a lengthy and separate discussion which is factually driven by the specifics of your case.

We go a step at a time; we propose a series of budgets as we go and if the case looks good as we go together we will then end up with a series of priority targeted assets to seek to recover upon. You will understand and you will have the right of review or approval or disapproval of each step along the way so you can achieve economic control over this endeavor.

How Do We Recover And Collect The Money I Am Owed?

Preferably, you are asking me this at a point in time where you have already secured a judgement that holds someone liable for having taken your money in an inappropriate manner. What you have available are serious post judgement remedies that we can use and employ throughout the United States in any state and even abroad in most countries. The remedies are cumulative in nature. In the United States, if your judgement is a state court judgement by virtue of the full faith and credit clause of the United States constitution, every state must recognize it. Almost every state has now enacted the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgements Act which makes it a quick and simple procedure to have your judgement recognized within each state in the United States.

If it’s a federal judgement we can do the same thing to have it recognized in state courts. We can register it in any federal district court in any circuit of the United States federal Judiciary System.

The most common mistake most people make when setting out to collect money is to start with the debtor. A lawyer who does not do this full time, or does this in a way that I and a select number of other lawyers generally follow, will start by sending written questions or interrogatories to the debtor and say let’s haul the debtor in here and depose him under oath and ask him questions in the presence of a court reporter. We typically do not start there and it’s very unusual that we would. Usually, we are considerably into a case before I even bother sitting down with a debtor.

After all, debtors often lie and if they are engaged in a case of fraudulent conduct, it’s almost assured they will lie and they are inevitably very likeable and most of the time, very intelligent and very bright. That’s why they are so good at what they do. At some point I’ll describe to you what we call the pyramid of fraud which is an interesting segment that will explain the mindset of someone who does fraudulent transactions for a living. So we start by circling around the debtor. What are the facts and circumstances of your transaction? What leads you to feel that you may not have been dealt with on the up and up? Then we do other research to determine where else has this debtor been. Who else has he affected? Does this debtor have other associates, partners or former partners? Does this business debtor have a mole within his organization? Has this debtor upset other people who perhaps wish to share some information with us? We also do public record searches and we start assembling piece by piece the information with which we wish to question a debtor.

This is the year 2017 rapidly coming to an end but as you know with the news, if you watch federally what’s going on with the US Senate and the US House and with Special Investigator Muller, they go about this methodically. That’s what we try to do. Your target, in this case in targeting the debtor who ripped you off. It is typically near the end of the food chain when we sit down with that debtor; we want to give that debtor every opportunity to lie under oath, preferably many times because that positions us, if you will, to poison the well with the judge who handles the case. Many of these post-judgement remedies are discretionary with the court, many we are absolutely entitled to as a matter of right and simply go in and request that this must be given to us; but when it comes to the discretionary remedies, which I personally oftentimes find the most interesting, we must be in a position to persuade a judgment that what we ask of the court in its discretion is the right thing and the best thing for the court to do in the circumstances of your particular case.

I don’t take glee in the fact that you’ve been ripped off in the least, I do enjoy doing this kind of work as you can probably detect by the manner in which I write and speak about it. When it comes to these discretionary remedies, it’s really nice when we can go in and show the judge that your debtor is really a bad dude.

How Long Will It Take To Recover A Judgement?

That is one of the deep unanswerable questions. Anyone who without specific information about a debtor who tries to tell you with precision how long it will take simply does not know about what they are speaking. Sometimes we really luck out and we can find a liquid asset that some debtor thought they had hidden in some other jurisdiction that we can go in and quickly and easily nail which can take care of your entire judgement. That’s highly unusual for the cases I work on. I’m fond of saying that any lawyer, if you have a judgement against a solvent bank or a solvent insurance company, any lawyer can figure out how to collect that.

It’s just a simple writ of garnishment which is a tool that we will certainly use at times but it’s usually not sufficient to recover fraud based judgements or judgements that involve people who are hiding their assets or putting their assets in the name of other entities, partnerships, corporations, trusts or building what we call a round robin of security interests where one is beholden to a second level entity and a third level entity and you have to drive five levels deep in order to see a nexus of common control that will persuade a judge that I am entitled to go get those assets for your benefit.

So the facts dictate how long it will take, the nature of the adversary dictates how long it takes, the nature of the debtor’s lawyer dictates how long it takes and the nature of the judge involved determines how long it takes. There is no precise timetable. On the other hand, debtors respond to pressure and some debtors have groomed a greater ability, a greater pain threshold if you will, for holding creditors at bay. When the pain gets great enough, when the pain of not dealing with what the debtor owes you exceeds the pain of dealing with it, then the debtor will come to the table to settle. So my job is to get the debtors’ attention and we build a mechanism or a process to do that over a period of months. In general, in a complex case involving multiple fraudulent entities and a theme of common control, I tell my clients and I would tell you, in general, without knowing a thing about your specific case, to plan on one to three years. It can be shorter or it can be longer.

We constantly evaluate it along the way so that you remain informed and you participate in the decision making process. It is after all, your case and your money, for which you were defrauded.

For more information on Losing Money To A Fraudulent Conveyance, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (720) 662-7192 today.

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