I will paraphrase from a private e-mail I received this weekend from someone who has followed this adventure for some time and who works in a position related to bankruptcy and collections but wishes to remain anonymous so I will call him simply, "my adviser". So here's what I've been (very informally) advised.
As you all know, Patrick has already been served (pursuant to Saskatchewan's "Enforcement of Money Judgments Act" (EMJA) with a voluntary Sheriff's questionnaire, requesting that he describe in some detail his current financial situation. And as long as my calculations are correct, Patrick's deadline to fill out that form and return it is today. But my adviser is adamant that, no matter what Patrick provides on that form, it is now critical that I take whatever is there with a massive grain of salt given the possible development described above.
You see, it's totally expected that, when a creditor is trying to collect, a debtor will do everything possible to shift assets around -- you look here, they move their assets over there, and so on. And everyone understands it's all a game. But the possibility that Patrick owned (or had inherited) considerable property, and turned around and quietly sold it (and subsequently never reported it), is truly a game changer, as that would almost certainly rise to the level of misconduct and fraud. But it doesn't end there.
If the alleged Ross family farm was (as I had heard) jointly inherited/owned by Patrick's immediate family members, and was sold in its entirety, that would mean that those family members signed off on that sale knowing that Patrick was bankrupt and had no right to sell his share. That is the game changer here -- that not only did Patrick possibly sell off assets that no longer belonged to him, but that his family members aided and abetted this, which raises the possibility of ... I don't know what you'd call it ... conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud? Who the hell knows at this point? But it's now a distinct possibility that Patrick has dragged his siblings into this mess and opened them up to charges.
And that's why my adviser is adamant that, regardless of what Patrick provides on his questionnaire, I do nothing until I take the time to really dig into this. And this strikes me as eminently sound advice; after all, I am in no rush, and Patrick is not going anywhere, given that he is firmly mired in bankruptcy with no way out.
Oh, and my adviser suggests one more thing. Normally, if a bankrupt wanted out of bankruptcy, there is always one guaranteed way out -- just pay the creditor(s) the full amount of what you owe them, at which point it's over and you can get on with your life. But it's not clear that that would work here anymore since, if there was actual fraud and misconduct, simply paying me off would not get Patrick (or possibly his siblings) off the hook from possible (criminal?) charges.
In short, regardless of what Patrick decides, it seems likely that this is going to drag on considerably longer as I step back and consider my options which may or may not involve any of the Sheriffs of Saskatchewan, Canada's Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy and maybe even the RCMP. Oh, and Patrick's siblings as well.
I will keep you posted.
P.S. Back in December, Patrick Ross was huffing and puffing furiously about how not just he, but his entire family, were considering filing actions against me for -- I'm not sure -- defamation, or harassment, or being mean to them, or whatever the hell. I have yet to hear from any of them, but if they want to go down that road and open themselves up to the subsequent questioning under oath about any or all of the above, I'm totally fine with that. It would certainly save me the trouble of having to chase them.
CC: I remember way back in 2008 and 2009 when Patrick was being a total asshole online and defaming you (those were the good old days of "NAMBLA Dick" and Wendy "Right Girl" Sullivan and Patrick's "Nexus of Assholery"), and I remember when you sued Patrick in 2010 and got your judgement and I figured that was the end of that, and that you'd collect, and Patrick would smarten up and stop. I never thought it would be 2022 and this would still be going on, with Patrick being in even more trouble now than a decade ago.
I feel like this has been going on for most of my adult life (it has), and now it looks like there's no end in sight. I feel sorry for you, but I also love the amusement value and watching Patrick make one stupid decision after another. So how much longer do you think this will last?
Anon: At this point, I can't even guess how long this is going to drag out. I have already mentioned several times that both Patrick and his father have made it abundantly clear that they have no interest in ever discussing a settlement, so that possibility is off the table, which means the only other option is for me to continue collecting from Patrick until I am paid off in full. And if it turns out that Patrick (with help from his family members) did indeed sneak in a sale of property that did not belong to them, I have no idea how many more years that will add to the resolution of this stupidity.
It's beyond me to imagine how convoluted this is going to get if it involves me, my lawyer, the SK sheriffs, the OSB *and* the RCMP. Which is why I'm not rushing into this; I need to organize all this data so I know what to do with it. In any event, *if* this farmland sale actually happened, I can't imagine this being resolved in less than five years from now. But that's just a guess.
CC: Why would this drag on for another five years? If this turns out to be true, why couldn't this be resolved in less time than that? Seems like that would be pretty clear fraud to me, but IANAL.
Anon @ 8:20 AM: If there really was a sale of farmland -- part of which "belonged" to Patrick but not really since, as a bankrupt, he was legally required to disclose and turn over all his assets to his trustee -- the potential for criminal charges here are quite real. If that really happened, the obvious question is, where did Patrick's share of the sale proceeds go? And if he blew it all by now (or, worse, gave it away to someone else), then he's in real trouble.
If (and I keep stressing *if*) this happened, it could not have been possible without the co-operation of his family members, who would have known they had no legal right to sell Patrick's share of the land, so that could conceivably be described as a conspiracy to defraud.
Finally, if that share of the property was not legally eligible to be sold, one could argue that the sale should be reversed, and whoever bought that land (even in good faith) must return it, and holy Jesus, what a mess.
In the end, the consequences of having sold that land while Patrick was still an undischarged bankrupt would be so monumental that one can only assume that many, many lawyers would eventually get involved, and that sort of thing would not be resolved in any sort of hurry.
@Anonymous @ 8:20:
There’s an old lawyer’s saying that the “wheels of justice turn slowly”. It’s not entirely inaccurate.
In this case, new information aside (e.g. the alleged status and disposition of the Ross family farm assets, and whether or not the proceeds made their way to Patrick or were diverted), there are a number of dimensions to the current situation which would slow proceedings down.
In particular, should CC choose to drag members of Patrick’s family in to explain their role (or lack of role) in such a transaction, it would be quite likely that they would lawyer up and at the very least appeal to the courts for relief on a variety of grounds. The courts would of course hear those pleadings on their own time, and enforcement under the various legislative authorities would be stayed at least until the courts had made their decisions on the matter.
Or, they could choose to duck and weave as Patrick has, and the process of serving them would take considerably longer, and would cost CC more money right now - even if in principle he stands a reasonable chance of recovering it down the road.
Five years could be the time window needed to gather the information needed to untangle whatever financial games have been played out here as I’m fairly certain that Patrick’s relatives will all swear on a stack of bibles that there were no shenanigans. Getting the financial and legal records related to a real estate transaction from a decade or more ago could also prove to be quite tricky for other reasons. (It’s easy enough to get the land titles information, it’s other things like financial records that could start disappearing around that time)
MgS: All of what you say is on point, but don't forget that under the authority of both the federal OSB and Saskatchewan's EMJA, I have the right to question who I want *under oath* and, faced with the threat of charges of criminal perjury, it is not unthinkable that someone in that family is going to conclude that they have no interest in being saddled with a criminal record (or jail time?) to protect Patrick.
So this could take years. Or, perhaps, it will take just one person to roll over on Patrick. Time will tell.
Could he have renounced the inheritance meaning the land is divided among the rest and they sell it? Then he never had an asset to begin with. Like being in someone's will does not count as an asset.
Says there has to be a notarial act to do this, but not clear if this would be filed someplace
Anon @ 1:13 PM: The link you supply has nothing to do with bankruptcy. I suggest you check this link: https://bankruptcy-ontario.org/bankruptcy-advice/inheritance-and-windfalls-bankruptcy/.
In a nutshell, once you file for bankruptcy, any assets you currently hold or will receive are to be turned over to the trustee for distribution among the creditors. Regarding inheritance, you absolutely can't play games like refusing to accept an inheritance, or frantically signing it over to someone else. The inheritance takes effect on the instant of the passing away of the person, and the distribution of what is inherited is defined by what is in the will. That is not negotiable, and you can't "put it off" in order to beat the bankruptcy.
Quite simply, once Patrick filed for bankruptcy in December of 2012, he no longer had control over his assets; they now belonged to the trustee, and the fact that he does not currently have a trustee does not change that fact in the slightest.
(Note that while that link refers to rules in Ontario, bankruptcy is a federal responsibility in Canada so the same rules should apply everywhere.)
The link I provided was for a Canadian example to demonstrate that declining an inheritance is legal. The US ones I found were more on declining due to the inheritance being bad, like gifting a toxic site that needed expensive remediation. But some cite declining due to not wanting it for financial reasons. The bankruptcy site did not state the "instant of the passing away" rule, but I accept the bankruptcy could be exercising control over his decisions on anything related to inheritance as you say.
If he cannot change things after the death, what about changing before? Just have himself cut out of the will ahead of time. Can he be compelled to contest the will writer's decision to leave him out?
I found a discussion of attaching conditions to a will, but not one condition specifically saying you do not inherit if/while bankrupt. The trust method would allow you to demand a trustee give you the conditional money now. I wonder if that would work, since the will could have specifically required the inheritor to be out of bankruptcy.
If the condition was no money if bankrupt then it might fly, he loses it all and never had it. But no money while bankrupt may be subject to payment to you to help make him not bankrupt.
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