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Q: ILLEGAL GARNISHMENT ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: chinmom-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 11 Aug 2005 10:06 PDT
Expires: 10 Sep 2005 10:06 PDT
Question ID: 554503
Husbands ex-wife filed a false garnishment with our bank and withdrew
all the funds illegally from two of our checking accounts.  When we
filed a garnishment exemption paper and showed up for the hearing, the
judge demanded she sign the check over to us immediately, and said the
minutes showed she withdrew illegally. She did NOT return the check as
ordered before leaving the courthouse, but mailed it to us several
days later.

We filed a complaint with the police and it went to the DA.  The DA
said the judge has to procecute her.  Where do we go from here?

THis is the third time she has stolen from our accounts and she has
never been procecuted for it yet (she works for a bank - not our
bank).  How do we proceed?

Clarification of Question by chinmom-ga on 11 Aug 2005 10:33 PDT
By the way -- this is in Oklahoma.

Request for Question Clarification by nenna-ga on 11 Aug 2005 11:49 PDT
What county was the hearing held in and what court (i.e., District, Federal, etc.) 


Request for Question Clarification by nenna-ga on 11 Aug 2005 12:09 PDT
Additionally, the check she gave you - was it for the whole amount
that she stole ("This is the third time she has stolen..")  Did you
deposit it and did it clear?  Thank you!


Clarification of Question by chinmom-ga on 11 Aug 2005 13:44 PDT
Sorry - I should have been more clear.  The hearing was held in Oklahoma County.  

She works for a bank lawyer, and filed all the paperwork herself, and
sent directly to the bank without a Judgement from the court.

Although we never were served ANY paperwork on the matter, one day we
looked and all the funds were taken from 2 of our checking accounts
(she says it was for medical bills for the girls that were due to her
in 30 days, but she took 2 years to submit the whole thing).  So she
bypassed the court system and sent the banks what looked like legal
documents for the bank garnish over $700 from both accounts.  There
was only about $550 in the account and they gave her a cashier's check
for that amount.

We warned the bank and the bank's attorney not to release her the
funds (they were held for 10 days waiting for us to make an additional
deposit) but they did anyway, despite the fact we told them that it
was in litigation for fraud.

The court ordered that she return the cashier's check before leaving
the courthouse, she did not -- but we received in the mail about 4
days later.

Our funds have been tied up for almost a month and we have had to
close all accounts.
Answered By: nenna-ga on 11 Aug 2005 15:00 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Chinmom ? good evening and thank you for your question.

I work in a law office and boy do I see all kinds of people.  It
frustrates me to watch hard working, honest citizens get taken
advantage of by ex?s and con-artists.  I have gone through it myself
but I finally put my foot down, went after the trouble maker, and
though I ended up getting hurt financially (much like you), I was, in
a sense victorious because I refused to let this person continue
taking advantage of me.  Perhaps you need to take the same step.

The thing that stuck out to me immediately after reading your question
and clarification is the role of the bank.  I am wondering if the bank
could be held liable for anything.  Usually, when a garnishment is
ordered, it is done through an Order of Garnishment through the Court.
 These legal documents must be served via Certified Mail to the
Judgment Debtor (i.e., your husband) and to the Garnishee (i.e., the
bank).  You cannot simply file any ?ole piece of paper entitled
?Garnishment? ? I would think that any financial establishment would
know that!  After they are served, they must be signed for by a
representative of the Garnishee and a Proof of Service must be filed
with the Court.  I find it hard to believe that a bank would not be
able to spot a forged ?legal document?, given that most banks have
experience in garnishments proceedings.  I also believe since they
went ahead and distributed the money without your consent and against
your wishes that they could be held liable.

Perhaps you can consider filing a grievance with the Oklahoma Bar
Association against the bank?s attorney as he had knowledge of your
wishes NOT to have that money withdrawn pending investigation by the
Court.  You can view their website at:

( )

How to File a Grievance
( )

I would certainly check with an attorney to see what legal recourse
you might have against the bank.

You stated in your question that she mailed you a check a few days
later.  If this check was for the whole amount and cleared the bank, I
believe there is little you can do to her as far as theft charges
unless it happens again.  Technically, she has gone before the Judge,
was ordered to pay you back, and though it was not immediately, she
has complied with the order of the court.  Therefore, she is not in
contempt.  You may be able to get her for misrepresentation since she
technically forged a ?court document?. I would suggest that you speak
to an attorney in your area to find out if you can legally prosecute
the ex-wife even though she has returned the money.  Most attorneys
will give a free legal consultation (however, I have found some that
only give the first hour free, so please be sure to ask.)

The Oklahoma Bar Association website has a great tool to help you
locate a lawyer.  You can find it at:

( )

What she has done definitely constitutes theft and what type of
prosecution she should get depends on the amount she stole.  Theft is
typically defined as:

"...a crime in which a person intentionally and fraudulently takes
personal property of another without permission or consent and with
the intent to convert it to the taker's use (including potential
sale). In many states, if the value of the property taken is low (for
example, less than $500) the crime is "petty theft," but it is "grand
theft" for larger amounts, designated misdemeanor, or felony,

Source:  The Free Dictionary
( )

Before you meet with an attorney, I would suggest that you go to the
courthouse where the hearing was held and get a copy of the court
file.  Official court records held by the Clerk of the Court are
presumed to be open to any member of the public for inspection or to
obtain copies at all times during regular hours of operation.  The
procedure for obtaining a criminal record varies depending upon the
jurisdiction, which holds the record, and the purpose for which you
require the record so be sure to call ahead of time, explain the
situation and ask if there would be anything baring you from obtaining
a copy.   I would also request a copy of the Court Transcript for that
particular hearing.  Take all these documents as evidence to a
criminal lawyer in your area and have them file a Petition against her
in criminal court alleging her theft.

You can contact the Court at:

320 Robert S. Kerr
Room 409
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102
Telephone:  405-713-1722 

Court Clerk: Patricia Presley 

Hours of Operation:  8:00am to 5:00pm

Good luck to you!  If this answer requires further explanation, please
request clarification before rating it, and I'll be happy to look into
this further.

Google Answers Researcher
chinmom-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.00
Nenna is wonderful -- exactly what I was looking for.  Thank you so
much for a well thought out and thorough answer!

From: expertlaw-ga on 11 Aug 2005 15:38 PDT
The prosecutor may be suggesting that you petition the judge to
initiate contempt proceedings against her.
From: nenna-ga on 12 Aug 2005 08:41 PDT
Chinmom ? Thank you very much for your kind words, rating and tip.  I
am glad I was able to help.  If you have anymore questions, please do
not hesitate to ask!


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