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Old 04-21-2010, 09:41 PM   #41
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You may be the family bank as I am. This is not the sort of loan I would make from the family bank. Why not bankruptcy? Is the debt her's alone so only she would have to file? Or is the state a community property state? Have you worked through the exemptions to see how they would come out in a bankruptcy? Who lent this kind of money to her in the first place?

If you make a loan consider taking a security interest in the cars. Odds are she will default. Would you be willing to repossess the vehicles? Watch the potential usurious interest rate.
Interesting Martha; bankruptcy leapt to mind for me as well. It's worth exploring to solve the immediate money problem. The gambling problem is another kettle of fish entirely.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:16 PM   #42
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If it makes a difference to you, Fuego, this is the ONLY thread I have ever seen on this forum where there is a unanimous agreement on the topic.

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Other than this huge black mark against her, she is a good person. She tries to help out her parents and family however she can. Her parents don't speak English well, so she has to spend a lot of time paying their bills and helping with the little things in life we take for granted. I hope she can get over this without destroying her family and losing her house and everything else they have.
This is most likely very true, and completely beside the point. Most addicts are good people. Addiction doesn't make a person bad, although it can certainly make a good person do bad things. I really feel for your extended family, and hope things work out in the long run. It will be a long run, though. Best wishes, whatever you decide to do.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:20 PM   #43
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You may be the family bank as I am. This is not the sort of loan I would make from the family bank. Why not bankruptcy? Is the debt her's alone so only she would have to file? Or is the state a community property state? Have you worked through the exemptions to see how they would come out in a bankruptcy? Who lent this kind of money to her in the first place?

If you make a loan consider taking a security interest in the cars. Odds are she will default. Would you be willing to repossess the vehicles? Watch the potential usurious interest rate.
I have considered proposing bankruptcy if, after looking at their financial situation, it would prove beneficial. I just don't really know the extent of unsecured debt. I'm thinking most of the debt has been rolled into the mortgages over the years. And there is still some equity in the house (that is halfway through a major renovation/addition that has been on hold for 2 years).

As to taking a security interest on a car - definitely a thought I have been considering too. Easy to get into and out of for me. And I would have to consider preferential transfer/fraudulent conveyance rules as it applies to me taking the SI on the car to put me in the position of secured creditor.

But BK won't help with these backroom card sharks that have extended her credit. They probably won't respect a BK judge's discharge. Wonder if they would enter a claim anyway?
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:24 PM   #44
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If it makes a difference to you, Fuego, this is the ONLY thread I have ever seen on this forum where there is a unanimous agreement on the topic.

This is most likely very true, and completely beside the point. Most addicts are good people. Addiction doesn't make a person bad, although it can certainly make a good person do bad things. I really feel for your extended family, and hope things work out in the long run. It will be a long run, though. Best wishes, whatever you decide to do.
I'm glad I consulted the forum. It has certainly given me perspective on the issue and will help frame the decision-making process and guide the discussion at the intervention and in subsequent days. I'm going to re-read the comments here again, as all are useful.

Time to man up, and dish out some tough love.

I'm proceeding with the HELOC though anyway. I had been meaning to get one for a while, and I went ahead and did it for our own financial reasons too. Good time to lock in a nice low fixed rate for 5 years that I can draw on as needed.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:30 PM   #45
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But BK won't help with these backroom card sharks that have extended her credit. They probably won't respect a BK judge's discharge. Wonder if they would enter a claim anyway?
Isn't that kind of gambling illegal in NC anyways? I remember that even office pools were a big no-no (officially) just a few years ago. So they would have to be totally nuts to go in front of a judge and enter a claim for nonpayment of illegal gambling debt...
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:02 AM   #46
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I guess I should make clear any amounts provided would be structured as a loan. With interest. 18% was the agreed rate (which shows the level of desperation). Whether we would ever see a return of principal in full - who knows.
How 'bout another perspective.

What if this woman was addicted to crystal methamphetamine or cocaine? Alcohol? Kleptomania? Manic-depressive and refusing treatment? Would she have any credibility? Would you believe anything she says about going straight? Would you "loan" her $23K so that she could go cold turkey?

After 20 years in Hawaii I'm starting to pick up subtle nonverbal (or indirect) methods of communication around awkward (or embarrassing) topics. I believe that her husband is telling you, in the most culturally sensitive and spouse-supporting way he knows how, not to loan her money. If he had the AA vocabulary guide in front of him then he'd be begging you to not enable her. Not only that, he's also asking your spouse (or perhaps asking for your help with your spouse) to do the same. You're getting every warning signal he can offer to your senses short of civil-defense sirens, nuclear mushroom clouds, a strange rumbling noise coming from the earth, and a horrible rotten smell.

Different question: is the type of gambling she's doing legal in your area? While gambling may be legalized in your area, does the place where she's gambling have a license? A legal casino would be very familiar with this situation and would have a standard indebtedness/payback procedure. They make money by professionally marketing an exciting fun-lovin' image, not by breaking bones. OTOH if this is unlicensed gambling then there's quite possibly a lot more trouble than anyone appreciates. She may not realize that she's involved with organized crime or subject to blackmail threats. She may already have been told that publicity will be looked upon with disfavor.

This is just my inexperienced opinion, but I think that you should tell them that you're not able to loan them the money. No "the bank disapproved", no "we can't get", no "here's what we expect in return", no explanations at all-- just "no, we can't loan you the money." No negotiations, not even any discussions. The response is simply "We cannot."

You're going to end up going through all of that trauma all over again with your parents-in-law. Admittedly you could discuss more of your concerns with her behavior (and the danger it's bringing to the family) but anything you say to any of the family will inevitably get back to her one way or another.

The only things that can help her right now are Gamblers Anonymous meetings and a police report. Then maybe eventually she'll be able to help herself. If she wants to.

Her spouse (and maybe even her kids) would probably also benefit from the family versions of those programs. If she's not spending time with her kids, the kids don't think "Eh, she has a gambling problem." The kids think "She doesn't love me."

I've never been acquainted with a gambling addict. However I've served with a number of alcoholics, and after lots of practice at doing it the wrong way I believe that this is the only way to address (maybe even someday "solve") the problem. One of my COs was a recovering alcoholic, and when he'd hear these sorts of stories from the troops (and their families) his answer would be "Don't bullshit a bullshitter."
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:45 AM   #47
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Isn't that kind of gambling illegal in NC anyways? I remember that even office pools were a big no-no (officially) just a few years ago. So they would have to be totally nuts to go in front of a judge and enter a claim for nonpayment of illegal gambling debt...
Yes, I am assuming the gambling is not legal. And hence any debts due to gambling would not be enforceable contracts.

Not sure what actions like blackmail, bone breaking, etc would be taken to enforce the debt.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:51 AM   #48
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How 'bout another perspective.

What if this woman was addicted to crystal methamphetamine or cocaine? Alcohol? Kleptomania? Manic-depressive and refusing treatment? Would she have any credibility? Would you believe anything she says about going straight? Would you "loan" her $23K so that she could go cold turkey?

After 20 years in Hawaii I'm starting to pick up subtle nonverbal (or indirect) methods of communication around awkward (or embarrassing) topics. I believe that her husband is telling you, in the most culturally sensitive and spouse-supporting way he knows how, not to loan her money. If he had the AA vocabulary guide in front of him then he'd be begging you to not enable her. Not only that, he's also asking your spouse (or perhaps asking for your help with your spouse) to do the same. You're getting every warning signal he can offer to your senses short of civil-defense sirens, nuclear mushroom clouds, a strange rumbling noise coming from the earth, and a horrible rotten smell.
I have thought of it from that perspective. Definitely would not give her $23k if she were hooked on any of those drugs or alcohol. She would die.
I think the gambling is the same issue, just a lower, although serious, level of severity (she would just be broke, depressed, and lose her family).

The husband has been less than subtle - which is what is so persuasive that makes me want to trust him. He knows their family finances are swirling the bowl and going down the drain right now, and he has accepted that it will be difficult to climb out of this. But I think he is concerned that we are going to be sucked into this too.

Quote:
Different question: is the type of gambling she's doing legal in your area? While gambling may be legalized in your area, does the place where she's gambling have a license? A legal casino would be very familiar with this situation and would have a standard indebtedness/payback procedure. They make money by professionally marketing an exciting fun-lovin' image, not by breaking bones. OTOH if this is unlicensed gambling then there's quite possibly a lot more trouble than anyone appreciates. She may not realize that she's involved with organized crime or subject to blackmail threats. She may already have been told that publicity will be looked upon with disfavor.
As far as I know the gambling occurs at parties at people's houses. Other than on the indian reservation and the State Lottery, gambling is not legal in this state.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:18 AM   #49
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She needs gambling addiction counseling, not a bailout. The enxt request for money will be bigger, and bigger, and bigger........no end in sight on this hamster wheel.............
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:19 AM   #50
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Yes, I am assuming the gambling is not legal. And hence any debts due to gambling would not be enforceable contracts.

Not sure what actions like blackmail, bone breaking, etc would be taken to enforce the debt.
I am thinking ship her away from home for a residential gambling addiction treatment program. If you want to pay for something, maybe pay for that. And consider a police report on the gambling operation/loans, depending on the facts. And look at bankruptcy too, again, depending on the facts. You do not want to bail her out of an illegal debt.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:18 PM   #51
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Fuego, I wonder too if you want to not lend her the money because it would involve you too much. Let the lowlifes find out where she got the financial help from, and perhaps they're on the phone or worse at your door when she resumes the activity and owes more money. Maybe you would even be viewed as abetting a criminal if the illegal activity was busted by the police. I imagine that's a stretch, but you do have your own family to protect. Just a thought as to another reason to keep your financial distance from her.

I think Martha's suggestion to pay for a residential treatment program out of town (instead of paying her debts) would be a very compassionate offer.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:26 PM   #52
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As Fuego has said... this is probably back room gambling... and there probably is some consequencies (sp?) behind NOT paying the debt..

One thing I would ask... what is the interest rate on the 'loan'... It already might be a lot higher than what we are talking about... are you SURE that what you give her will pay it off

I will say again if you do give the money... that you make her feel some pain... get a car.. get the gold.. get as much as you can of what she has... even this will not help if she is like my friend... as I said, she has lost cars, houses, husbands and have not changed...

Like others.... if the husband says as strongly as he has not to help... then why would you pick the addict over his opinion
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:25 PM   #53
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Most Asians that I have known personally here in CA really enjoy gambling. I know that some of the Asian cultures consider gambling at a friend's home as just an evening of fun and camaraderie. So it's likely that she has incurred most of this as part of her social life, rather than some alley with her mojo hand and some dice.

So I think the worst thing that might happen to the SIL if she welches on the debt is that she will be considered a "low-life" and shunned by the rest of the Asian community there.

I would advise NOT paying a dime of it. Her gambling days will be over. Taken care of by word of mouth and likely no further invitations to gambling events. All good.
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Old 04-22-2010, 02:02 PM   #54
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$23K in debt from gambling at house parties? It certainly seems that there is a lot that is missing from this story. If you want to be involved, the first question I would ask is to whom she owes this money. Knowing this answer will determine what courses of action need to be taken to help her.
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Old 04-22-2010, 02:02 PM   #55
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Most Asians that I have known personally here in CA really enjoy gambling. I know that some of the Asian cultures consider gambling at a friend's home as just an evening of fun and camaraderie. So it's likely that she has incurred most of this as part of her social life, rather than some alley with her mojo hand and some dice.

So I think the worst thing that might happen to the SIL if she welches on the debt is that she will be considered a "low-life" and shunned by the rest of the Asian community there.

I would advise NOT paying a dime of it. Her gambling days will be over. Taken care of by word of mouth and likely no further invitations to gambling events. All good.

That is one of the reasons I had said to find out who is owed the money... if it is 'the community' and not someone who will come and cause physical harm... then your suggestion is the way to go... but if it is not...
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Old 04-22-2010, 02:25 PM   #56
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At the end of the day, there's a good chance our relationship with the sister will be tarnished regardless of whether we give her the money. Might as well be $23000 richer and 1 SIL poorer. [IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/mbg/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG]
If you give the money or not will make no difference in the relationship. Nothing will make a difference until she gets help.
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The husband has been less than subtle - which is what is so persuasive that makes me want to trust him. He knows their family finances are swirling the bowl and going down the drain right now, and he has accepted that it will be difficult to climb out of this. But I think he is concerned that we are going to be sucked into this too.
If this is the case, imagine how this money could help once the addiction has been faced and is being treated.
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Old 04-22-2010, 02:35 PM   #57
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Here's what I think. DO NOT give her any more money. If you do, you are just enabling her. Do not crack under any family pressure to give her money. If you give her money, IMO you would just be throwing money away. She needs to learn the consequences of her actions and apparently she hasn't had to face many yet.
I wholeheartedly agree! I went through a similar situation with DH's nephew, who "borrowed" from just about every family member -- always with a convincing story about some unfair event that led him to need the $$ immediately, and always with a promise to return the money with interest. No money was ever returned; no lessons were learned (except by the family suckers who were taken); and nephew finally ended up on the wrong side of the law and is now in jail.

Although I wouldn't do it, IF you do decide to give any money toward this disaster, I WOULD NOT GIVE IT TO THE SIL under any circumstances. You might offer to directly pay one/more of their household bills, but to give $$ to her is likely to go directly to more gambling.
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Old 04-22-2010, 03:35 PM   #58
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Back when I was the king of sex, drugs, alcohol and gambling, we would field 75-100 calls a week from family members of addicted gamblers. It was difficult to explain to someone whose loved one had stolen everything - including food from their childrens' mouths - that enforcement of the laws against illegal gambling was such a low priority that it would be months (if not years) before we could get around to closing that particular game.

Gambling addicts are just like drug addicts or alcoholics. They can't stop until they've hit their own version of rock bottom. Too many of them destroy their lives, and often the lives of their families in the process. They are liars and thieves to support their habits and nothing they say should be believed, especially when it comes to borrowing money or getting help.

If I were you, I wouldn't give her the money for the sake of your family's safety. I was a detective in Chinatown and Little Saigon and I know how gambling debts are settled when the gamblers can't pay. You don't want to be identified either in her mind, or the minds of the collectors, as a possible source of funds.
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Old 04-22-2010, 04:13 PM   #59
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Sorry Fuego. I read your posts and haven't seen word one that would indicate that you are actually helping the family by making this loan.
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:13 PM   #60
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If I were you, I wouldn't give her the money for the sake of your family's safety. I was a detective in Chinatown and Little Saigon and I know how gambling debts are settled when the gamblers can't pay. You don't want to be identified either in her mind, or the minds of the collectors, as a possible source of funds.
+1

It could be a slippery slope from "helping" with a gambling debt to becoming involved in blackmail or kidnappping, depending on how desperate and determined the bill collectors are. You do not want to be seen as Mr. Moneybags on this one.
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