Conned by a Jamaican man

All Woman

DEAR MRS MACAULAY,

In 2017 I lent a Jamaican man some funds totaling CD$875, which was converted to Jamaican dollars on his receipt. The agreement was that I would receive the funds in full in December 2017. The payment did not happen in December 2017, and the relationship between us deteriorated. Since he is my best friend's cousin, she got involved in 2019. In April 2019 he agreed to pay $5,000 monthly until the debt was paid. I received one payment of $5,000 on May 31, 2019 and nothing since then.

How do I go about retrieving my funds? I am aware he is trying to migrate to the USA and got married to do so.

What a pity this has happened! It is men like this who give Jamaicans a bad reputation as untrustworthy, unreliable, and dishonourable. This man is a perfect example, from what you have stated, of all of these descriptions of a truly disreputable human being.

December 2019 made it two years from when, by the agreement between you, he was to repay you. He has, however, breached this agreement and another.

The answer to how you can get your money back is simple. You will have to obtain the services of an attorney-at-law to file a claim against him as soon as possible, because of his plans, for the repayment of your money, and you are entitled to add a claim for interest and that he should pay your costs. This you should have done long ago, even though you have six years within which you can file your claim. Since his failure caused you to have formulated another agreement, your limitation period of six years would run from then.

You should rush to get a lawyer and file your claim because of his plan to emigrate to the USA. Your claim should state the sum you loaned him in Canadian dollars and the equivalent in Jamaican dollars with the rate of exchange, and less the single monthly repayment of $5,000, which must be clearly stated. Then as I mentioned above, a claim for interest must be added. If you withdrew the monies from your savings account, this should be stated in your particulars of claim and the rate of interest at the percentage applied to your account. If you do so, you will have to produce a certified statement from your bank showing the withdrawal and the rate of interest.

Or you can apply for interest at the rate of three per cent as is usual in legal claims. It should start from December 2017, when he should have repaid the entire sum to you, and it should continue to the date of payment.

The costs you would claim would cover your court and maybe bailiff's fees, your attorney's fees and expenses, if any, and it may even include your travel expenses to come and attend the court hearing, if it gets to that stage.

If he is sensible and does not wish anything to adversely affect his immigration plans, he ought to pay you back in full because if you are so minded, you can report his conduct regarding his total failure to make any payment of his loan to the US immigration services, and if you have filed your claim, you can enclose copies of your claim and particulars of the claim in your letter of complaint.

You may wish to send him a final written demand for the rest of your money and tell him that if he does not pay you back immediately in full, that you will make the report against him to US immigration. This would in all probability be the impetus he needs to act as he ought to have done from December 2017.

My choice would be to file your claim in the parish court where he resides and proceed as quickly as possible to judgement. He really has no valid defence to your claim. You can ask the court to order that his payment in full of all sums due on the judgement be made before he departs from this jurisdiction. You can then, if he seeks to circumvent collection of the judgement sums and proceeds with his immigration (which may be to a state in the USA without a reciprocal treaty with Jamaica), have your lawyer send a certified copy of the judgement to the Jamaican immigration, especially when you know around when he intends to depart for the USA, and request that they uphold the judgement and not permit him to leave as he has not paid the sums due as ordered by the court. You can also send the judgement and your complaint against him to the USA immigration here, if his process has not been completed, and if completed, to the main offices in the USA.

I trust that I have clarified the steps open to you which you ought to have taken and can still take to have your loan repaid by the borrower, whose conduct has been despicable. He clearly had no sense of shame in extracting money from you, and felt safe about it.

I wish you all the best and I do hope that you proceed against him. Good luck.

Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.

DISCLAIMER:

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.

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