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Old 04-23-2010, 05:47 PM   #81
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Fuego,

Your post about your SIL does show a new perspective. That is, your SIL isn't involed with "leg breakers" but moreso similar to weekend poker night and it sounds like she's unable to separate social card playing for singles to a gambling compulsion out of control.

From double or nothing, triple or nothing to suddenly owing thousands of dollars.

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Old 04-23-2010, 06:05 PM   #82
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Your post about your SIL does show a new perspective. That is, your SIL isn't involed with "leg breakers" but moreso similar to weekend poker night and it sounds like she's unable to separate social card playing for singles to a gambling compulsion out of control.

From double or nothing, triple or nothing to suddenly owing thousands of dollars.
I hope we will be able to truthfully determine who she has been playing with and who she owes money to. I really hope she wasn't crazy enough to take on loans from the leg breaking type. A very good indicator will be her husband's attitude. If he isn't scared for her (and for himself), then I don't think any of us should be worried. He didn't seem very worried a couple days ago when I talked to him.

I also just thought about this may be a form of mid life crisis for her. Blowing a bunch of money on something pointless. Thrill seeking.
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:55 PM   #83
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I also just thought about this may be a form of mid life crisis for her. Blowing a bunch of money on something pointless. Thrill seeking.
Is there any possibility SIL might be suffering from the manic phase of manic depression? That would be treatable.
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:55 PM   #84
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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.

I agree with Leonidas. Over the years, I've watched lots of folks get into serious gambling debts, getting money from family or friends seldom helps.
One things I would advise getting is a list of all the people that she owes money to and the amounts.

Uncollected debts is one of the real risks of running an illegal gambling establishment. If you are lucky she owes 1/2 dozen people or more a few thousand dollars each. If this is the case than by and large if she simply stops going to the games she can slowly pay them off or eventually they get written off. the good news is once the word gets out on the street that "Susie" owe 20 large, people will stop extending her marks and when she tries to play somebody will be there that she owes money to and the situation will be so uncomfortable that she will be effectively shut off from further gambling. In my experience people don't to resort to more drastic measure over a couple thousands of dollars.

The situation is different if she owes only 1 or 2 people $10,000. At that point there is potential for some ugly **** to happen. I do know of 3 people who owed more than $20,000 in gambling, two left town, and weren't physically hurt.
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:08 PM   #85
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If you are lucky she owes 1/2 dozen people or more a few thousand dollars each. If this is the case than by and large if she simply stops going to the games she can slowly pay them off or eventually they get written off. the good news is once the word gets out on the street that "Susie" owe 20 large, people will stop extending her marks and when she tries to play somebody will be there that she owes money to and the situation will be so uncomfortable that she will be effectively shut off from further gambling.
The situation is different if she owes only 1 or 2 people $10,000. At that point there is potential for some ugly **** to happen.
We will find out tomorrow who she owes and how much. Yes, I agree, much better to owe a larger number of people a smaller debt. Less likely for anyone to take drastic action to collect a smallish debt as you say. And yes, not paying her debt may help keep her from gambling more than anything else. And she would not be welcomed at these places either were she to not repay the debt. I don't think she has ever even been to a real casino before, so her other choice for gambling will be the lottery.
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:20 PM   #86
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Is there any possibility SIL might be suffering from the manic phase of manic depression? That would be treatable.
She doesn't experiences the depression stage. So maybe Type I Bipolar disorder. And I guess she acts manic in a way. She has stayed up all night cooking, cleaning, and otherwise preparing for gatherings and parties at her house. And the gambling - all day and night for 36 hours or so. Caffeine fuels these periods of wakefulness (hopefully that is as hard as the drugs get!).

I don't want to mis-characterize her behavior or mood. She is generally happy, outgoing, very social. Overall, normal and balanced. She occasionally appears stressed, but that is probably due to money issues that arise from not having a lot in the bank. But nothing beyond what anyone would experience if they lived paycheck to paycheck. Some of the manic behavior is probably what she has learned to do to cope with the time demands of raising 3 children and working.
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:45 PM   #87
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Oh yeah, does anyone know the appropriate kind of food we should serve at an intervention? We are hosting it.
Call the local soup kitchen and see what they are serving- so you can show SIL where she is heading if she doesn't quit her gambling.
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:49 PM   #88
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We will find out tomorrow who she owes and how much.
Maybe... most times you can multiply what she initially admits to times 4... she hasn't hit bottom yet,and probably won't come clean at this first meeting.
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Old 04-24-2010, 10:03 AM   #89
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Oh yeah, does anyone know the appropriate kind of food we should serve at an intervention? We are hosting it.
Cold Turkey?
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Old 04-24-2010, 10:13 AM   #90
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Cold Turkey?
Crow?
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Old 04-24-2010, 12:03 PM   #91
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What do they eat in the Sopranos? Spaghetti? Some vino and meatballs? Lasagna?

We have made a little progress on what the family's response will be. SIL's husband called this morning to brainstorm a little and see where we were and tell us where he is. Their SUV is titled jointly and the husband doesn't want to give us a lien on it. So that security is not available. We are left with whatever other valuables she can give us as security. Rings, gold jewelry, etc. The husband had no idea how much gold his wife has (or has left). If I had to guess, maybe a few thousand. I think we have decided that if she checks out at the intervention tonight, then we will be willing to lend her whatever we can get from her gold if we were to liquidate it. And physically possess the gold in the mean time. Loan and security interest to be evidenced in writing.

The two primary creditors are a husband and wife owed $12500 and an asian lady owed $6000 or so. One of the spouses in the husband and wife couple is a white guy, so that is maybe a good sign that he isn't involved in an Asian gang or organized crime. I have seen them at a lot of the parties, and they love to gamble. Hopefully they are just party loving fun people who extended a ridiculously large marker to someone. And not some part of a bookmaking operation. The other lady owed $6000 is just an average member of the asian community I think. So odds are looking better that leg breaking is less of an issue.

DW and SIL's mom (my MIL) has tentatively agreed to fund 1/2 of the $23000. But we are going to try to persuade her to not lend such large amounts since if MIL runs out of money, guess who will get hit up for money to help support them? It isn't right to blow all your money bailing out irresponsible behavior, just to ask for a bailout yourself. But MIL is the kind of person that would give the shirt off her back to help out family. So not sure what she will end up doing.

I think what we will propose is some small loan for a portion of the $23000 (whatever amounts we can get a security interest to protect our loan amount, plus whatever MIL kicks in), then tell SIL to negotiate with these people she owes money to stretch out the repayment. This serves the dual purpose of keeping her cashflow manageable and giving her bad credit among her fellow gamblers.

The intervention is in about five hours, so we will see how it goes.
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Old 04-24-2010, 12:11 PM   #92
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I think what we will propose is some small loan for a portion of the $23000 (whatever amounts we can get a security interest to protect our loan amount, plus whatever MIL kicks in), then tell SIL to negotiate with these people she owes money to stretch out the repayment. This serves the dual purpose of keeping her cashflow manageable and giving her bad credit among her fellow gamblers.

The intervention is in about five hours, so we will see how it goes.
Don't forget - - even though you are FAR outnumbered by your DW and her relatives, all of whom probably have the same objective in mind, you are the man in charge of your family and ultimately the decision is yours. You need to be strong here.

And don't do it!! Let her experience the consequences of gambling with money she doesn't even HAVE but assumes she can wheedle and extract from you after she loses. She is showing you NO respect when making that assumption. If her stuff is really worth that much, let her sell it and get that amount to pay her debt. Otherwise she will never respect you IMO. You are not her pawn shop.
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Old 04-24-2010, 01:06 PM   #93
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So, your wife is proposing taking a loan to give to her sister to help family? But the money is owed to other family? Why not let the other family forgive the debt, which clearly was money they never had in the first place but "won" due to extending DW's sister gambling credit in the firt place? To some degree it's their fault for either extending gambling credit or gambling with someone they know has no means to pay if they lose.

As far as taking gold and cars from SiL, do you really think that will fly? Your wife already wants to give her $23k rather than let other family forgive the debt. Do you think DW is going to let you take her car and gold when she fails to repay the debt and now owes more money?

I think you and DW need to get on the same page and figure out at what point SiL's problems cause the destruction of your finances and/or marriage. How important are these Asian community values, and where is the line between DW's involvment with them and her sister and her marriage to you? I get the feeling people are looking at the "what if this $23k fixes it?" side more than the consequences of SiL's escalating problems.
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Old 04-24-2010, 01:10 PM   #94
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Oh, and my standing policy on loaning money to friends or family is to never loan more than you can accept giving up on if they don't repay. Going after a friend or family for nonpayment of a loan is just not a good idea or productive endeavor. Period.

Furthermore, for an addict or other poor money manager, give the money directly to the creditor rather than the addict.

Furthermore, DON'T DO IT!
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Old 04-24-2010, 01:17 PM   #95
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By the way, if you give her any money, then tonight is loan approval meeting where you're negotiating final terms, not an intervention. I hate it when terminology is misused.
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Old 04-24-2010, 01:37 PM   #96
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BMJ,

DW is basically in agreement with me on the financial issues. We have discussed it a lot (probably more than any other financial or life decision we have ever made). Any money of ours that is lent will be fully secured by something that is highly liquid like gold or other valuables. Anything unsecured will basically be a gift, and we aren't interested in giving a gift at this point.

I know what you mean though about tonight not being an intervention if we are just negotiating the terms of the loan. I'm planning on making the loan talk a smaller part of the whole discussion, and it will come last only after all of us are convinced that she is willing to quit cold turkey. My MIL is apparently heating up the grill right now to give her daughter (my SIL) a good roasting. Our objectives tonight are to find out what she owes and to whom, and on what terms, find out what other debts (CC, other loans) she has, find out how much she makes and how she plans to repay anything, find out what she has in terms of assets that she can pledge or sell to get money, find out how negotiable these loans to the other gamblers are and what the penalty for defaulting or stretching payments would be. When we discuss the impact of her gambling on her immediate family and on her extended family, we will see how she responds. Also, we will see how she feels about agreeing to never gamble ever again. Not even $1 lottery tickets.

Let me just give a cultural pointer regarding gold here, lest I be misunderstood. For DW's family and those from their home country in SE Asia, gold is the main source of savings. When your government collapses, the currency is worthless, and you have to flee the country, you can fling your sack of gold over your shoulder. Gold is typically held in the form of 24k jewelry. They pay only a small mark up above what the gold itself is worth as bullion. So when I say I'm going to keep SIL's gold as security, this is just money and savings to them. There may be some emotional attachment to the jewelry, but at the end of the day it is just a good store of value from their point of view. And I would have no problem going down to the pawn shop or local scrap metals dealer and getting the best value for the gold as I could get should I need to get repaid.
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Old 04-24-2010, 01:40 PM   #97
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So, your wife is proposing taking a loan to give to her sister to help family? But the money is owed to other family? Why not let the other family forgive the debt, which clearly was money they never had in the first place but "won" due to extending DW's sister gambling credit in the firt place? To some degree it's their fault for either extending gambling credit or gambling with someone they know has no means to pay if they lose.
The other gamblers to whom she owes money aren't family. They are friends of the family or just "people that show up at parties to gamble". I agree with your logic - they made the bad loans, they should absorb the risk of loss.
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Old 04-24-2010, 01:57 PM   #98
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She have any vacation time from work?

(She could show how broke she is by giving the jewelry to those who are owed money.)
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Old 04-24-2010, 02:08 PM   #99
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Perhaps these "family parties" should have house rules against gambling with funds not on the table, or perhaps family should watch out for family overextending themselves, but that it outside of our influence. Still, I don't see how the financial burden falls to you.

Anyway, it sounds like you have a good a handle on it as you can, although I'm still not sure you and/or DW fully recognize the potential danger to your marriage. Blood and community can run deeper than marriage and money in many circles.

For all I know it might work out better financially and emotionally if you sink $100k into SiL over the coming year and have DW give up on her as opposed to arguing over $23k and collecting collateral and other things leading to a divorce. Or perhaps she'll pay back the $23k, she stops gambling, everyone's happy and you and DW are the heroes of the family. Or maybe DW washes her hands of sister after she stops paying back the $23k and needs another $5k.

If the people owed money aren't family but came to a card game where the stakes were obviously at least in the 5-figure range, I would again worry about collection methods and retract what I said about your giving money directly to the creditor. Don't meet them, don't talk to them, don't find out anything about them.

Still, don't do it.

And best of luck to your SiL and her family. I hope she can turn it around. And best of luck to you and DW in getting through this with love, family and most of the money intact.

Another random thought: If she asks for $23k now, I'd assume she needs at least $56k soon. Gamblers can think in terms of their luck changing and catching up.
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Old 04-24-2010, 02:21 PM   #100
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I have to admit to some confusion. You strike me as a fairly logical thinker and someone not encumbered by hope in the absence of planning.

Yet most of this thread seems to be about "when we lend the money", not "if we lend the money", let alone "how we get treatment for this woman".

Are the other posters not getting across their opinions that it's a bad idea to lend her the money? Not just a bad idea for you, but an even worse idea for her?

Assuming that the other posters are getting their point across, what is it that makes you feel it's more important to lend the money?

I'm not criticizing, just surprised that someone of your caliber of posts is heading down this road. If this is emotion or family ties being favored over logic then I comprehend the reasoning. But you haven't really addressed your reasoning over why you think it's better to enable an addict than to force them to stop causing their problems.

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I agree with your logic - they made the bad loans, they should absorb the risk of loss.
Just as you sound like you're about to do...
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