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Old 03-29-2008, 02:42 PM
 
12 posts, read 82,839 times
Reputation: 11

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I have a scenario here in California that I really need some help with. I posted in the mortgage section and someone advised to post in this forum.

I had a judgment from 2001, which I just paid in full and went to the court to file the satisfaction of judgment. This judgment ironically enough was not filed with the county recorder, but it was filed with the superior court, so I could not file the satisfaction of judgment with the county recorder.

Well while I was there I find that I have ANOTHER judgment that I was completely unaware of!!! I'm in the process of cleaning up my credit, and right smack dab in the middle of buying a house. My mortgage approval was conditional that I pay off the first judgment as it showed up on my credit report. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded when I found out yesterday that I had a judgment from 2005 which I never knew about. I had moved a little over a year before they supposedly served me with the court papers, and on the paperwork it says that they served me by substitute method of mailing to my old address?!?!?!?! I hadn't lived there in over a year and I had put in a change of address, but I think that they expire after a year...? Either way, I don't know who this person is that's suing me - It's an attorney listed for Melville Acquistition Co....Never have heard of them, so I'm assuming that they must have bought a debt of mine from years ago.

My husband picked up the court papers today and it doesn’t show who the actual creditor is, only shows the attorney representing them.

The debt may or may not be mine as I did have a few issues going on back then, however on the judgment it states that I was served at an old address that I hadn’t lived at in over a year, and that they attempted to serve a woman at that address, approximately 5’5”, 150 lbs, 65 yrs of age who refused to give her name, but stated that I still received my mail there. I have no idea who was even living in that apartment at that time as I had moved across town a year before.

When I moved out of that apartment, my fiancé at the time and my children left with me, and the apartment was completely vacant. Furthermore, it had been over a year since I had lived there and should have had no mail going there, since all of my mail was since coming to my new home.

It states that the last payment made to whoever the original creditor was made on Jan 16, 2001, and they supposedly served this “unknown woman” at my old address on Jan 10, 2005.

Do you think that I’d have any recourse at all? The judgment was originally $657+fees and interest for a total of approx $1400, which now would be $1700. Would it be cheaper to try to vacate the judgment or find out if it in fact is my debt and try to settle for a lesser amount? I’m in a crunch for time frames, because although this has never shown up on my credit, I’m in the middle of buying a house and I don’t want it holding up escrow during my title search. My lender is aware of it since I called them once I discovered the judgment last week and they said it just needs to be taken care of – either vacated & dismissed or paid before escrow closes July 31st. I just don't want to pay it if it's not mine.

Also, if I pay it will it then show up on my credit report? It's never been there before and I'd hate for the judgment to show up now and lower my scores...

Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:34 AM
 
12 posts, read 82,839 times
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bump....does anyone have any advice?
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:24 AM
 
440 posts, read 1,689,666 times
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You can't settle for a lesser amount once the judgment has been obtained. You can only pay it off (or get it vacated). The attorney who took the judgment is the only one who can vacate it. I find it weird that judgment was taken and it clearly shows you were not properly served. I would contact the attorney that took the judgment and ask them to send you more information regarding the debt. (i.e. what is owed, from what establishment, etc.)

The fact that this judgment is not on your credit report can indicate that it's not really your debt. Have you checked with the court to make sure this is under your SS#? It maybe be somebody with the same name as you, and they assume it's you. Make sure the SS# matches up.

Bottomline, make sure this debt is really your debt. Contact the court or attorney (who took the judgment) and see if your SS# matches up with the SS# of the person who the judgment was obtained on.

If it doesn't match up, your in the clear. This clearly shows that the person who really owes the debt, just has the same name as you.

If it does match up, then I would contact the attorney who took the judgment and get more information about the debt. That way you will know where it came from and how much you owe. Then go ahead and pay it off.
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
3,359 posts, read 11,062,858 times
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You need to contact this company or attorney to find out what this is all about, who is making a claim to see if it is a valid one. Get a copy of the paperwork in writing. It is your right.

*I have heard from a friend recently that there are companies of this sort that are filing fraudulent judgements against people.* I'd also google this company's name.
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Old 03-31-2008, 09:22 PM
 
12 posts, read 82,839 times
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I Googled Melville Acquisition Group, LLC and wasn't able to find much. I guess I'll try calling the attorney listed tomorrow since there is no address or phone number for the other party.

I'll keep you all updated!
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:34 AM
 
12 posts, read 82,839 times
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STILL cannot get the attorney on file for this judgment to call me back. I called 3 times last week, and each time was transferred to his voice mail as he was "away from his desk, but in the office somewhere". Still haven't heard back from him. I'm going to fax him something in writing so that I at least have a fax confirmation of me trying to reach him.

Any other ideas?
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Old 04-06-2008, 11:09 AM
 
440 posts, read 1,689,666 times
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Have you tried contacting the court to see if the SS# on the judgment matches up with your SS#?
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:25 PM
 
12 posts, read 82,839 times
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I have a copy of the judgment....the ss# and my old address match up (although the address they supposedly served an unknown person at I hadn't live at in over a year). However I still don't recognize the person who sued me...I'm thinking maybe someone bought the debt from one of my old credit cards. I still don't want to pay until I know that it is in fact a valid debt, but I can't get in touch with the attorney, and I don't want this to hold up my escrow which closes on July 31st....
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:27 PM
 
12 posts, read 82,839 times
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New info: This apparently was a debt that I owed that was purchased by another company. The original debt supposedly was $647 (not sure because it was so long ago I don't have those records anymore - 2000-2001) + attorneys fees and interest at that time, making the judgment $1350. The attorney that I spoke with today said I now owe $1920 (10% interest per year in California). By my calculations it would be $1780. Anyway, I tried to negotiate because first off I don't feel that I was served properly since they left the paperwork with someone that I don't even know...have never met and have no idea who it was that they left it with since they didn't get a name, however the attorney said that they are not willing to negotiate, that I owe the entire amount and that they will not settle for less. He wanted my new address to send correspondence to, but I was afraid to give it to him as they may attach my wages. What can I do? I want to pay this, but I don't feel that $1920 is fair since I was never notified of the court date to begin with and because its so old I don't even have records anymore. Would I be better off just paying it and getting it out of my hair or trying to vacate the judgment and risking having to plead my case right then and there with no documentation??
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:28 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
281 posts, read 968,574 times
Reputation: 200
Simple terms...As a credit manager I have filed judgments with a lawyer....In Georgia

If they try to serve you at the address of record and you are not located...They can present it to the judge as...trying to evade debt..credit fraud...basically the judge gives ample time for them to locate you. If they prove they have been trying and have not succeeded, the judge may rule on the judgment. In some states until you are located they cannot get a motion to compel. Best way to avoid this....be very very diligent with your credit reports and get those credit alerts purchased.

The state courts do not need your address only your SSN to attach wages. If the attorney files a motion to compel in certain states, they can locate you by your State tax records. Unless you owe big money, most lawyers do not do this as they only receive 18 to 20% of the judgment if collected. OR the client is not going to pay the hourly rate. They wait until you want to buy property.

IF you do owe big money and the judge passes a motion to compel and you still ignore, you can go to jail for contempt of court.

Hope this helps. If you have a judgement you can file an appeal.
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