16 Tax Advantages for Home Businesses

Another tax deadline is fast approaching. Most traditionally employed hard-working folks have given up more than half of their hard-earned wages for taxes, and then they get to survive on what’s left. Taxes may be a source of stress and anxiety for many, but it shouldn’t be for home business owners. Home-based business owners now qualify for more tax deductions than any other category of taxpayer in America.

In any home business you have many, many more tax advantages than you would if you were simply working for someone else. Even if you decide to keep your current job and start a home business part-time, you’d still be able to deduct business expenses.

These advantages really snowball when you consider how you can improve the bottom line profit of your home business by declaring all of the deductions you’re entitled to. So let’s look at some of the deductions you can take with a small home business:

1. Home Office

If you’re concerned that claiming a home-office deduction is like waving a giant red-flag at a bull and taunting the IRS to audit you – don’t be. The key is that you must use the definition of “home office” the same way the Internal Revenue Service does. The IRS says it must be a space devoted to your business and absolutely nothing else, but the deduction isn’t limited to a full room. If your “office” occupies half of your guest bedroom, it’s still deductible.

Once you determine how large your workspace is, you can divide it by the square footage of your entire residence. That will give you the percentage to calculate how much of your home-related business expenses you can deduct (rent/mortgage, mortgage interest, insurance, etc). And don’t forget the bathroom! The IRS considers that an acceptable addition to the amount of space required for your home business use.

2. Utilities

A percentage of your electricity, natural gas, water, sewer – and even garbage removal can be deducted. Just be sure to follow the same percentage guidelines as you would to determine what portion of your rent/mortgage is deductible.

3. Tuition and Educational Materials

Any cost you incur for legitimate educational needs can be claimed. This includes books/training materials, college or vocational courses (both on campus and online) or any other expense related to educating yourself for your business. Did you learn a new language to help you communicate with more customers? That’s deductible, too.

4. Office Supplies

Any office supplies you purchase for your business are deductible. That also includes postage, stationery, business cards… even coffee and toilet paper. Be sure you keep your receipts – or some other type of accounting (like a spreadsheet) for these expenses if you’re using a credit card.

5. Furniture

Desks, filing cabinets, bookshelves, chairs – even artwork – it’s all deductible if you purchased them for legitimate business purposes. There are a couple of different ways you can go, when deducting expense for furniture. You can deduct the cost of the purchase in its entirety for the year of purchase, or you can deduct a portion of the expense each year for seven years.

6. Other Equipment

Computers, fax machines, printers, scanners, calculators, postage meters or any other business related equipment are also a valid tax deduction. Similar to the furniture, you can deduct all of it in one year, or depreciate it over a five year period. Don’t forget that cell phone, if you’re using it strictly for business!

7. Software and Subscriptions

A newer tax break now allows for you to deduct the cost of any computer software you purchase without having to depreciate the cost over a period of years. Add to this the cost of any subscriptions to industry-related magazines, newsletters or other publications – including subscriptions to databases for skip tracing information – which is all considered a legitimate business expense.

8. Advertising and Marketing Costs

Any costs you incur to market your business, including both print and Internet advertisements, website design and upkeep, and even purchased marketing leads are all deductable expenses.

9. Professional and Consulting Fees

That CPA you hired to help you figure out your taxes? That’s tax deductible, too. As well as attorney fees or any other professional or consulting fees for the business you may have incurred.

10. Mileage

With a judgment recovery business, it’s unlikely that you’ll rack up a lot of mileage for business-related travel, but it should still be noted that you can claim this expense as a deduction. But if you do, be sure you keep track of your information. Record the date, mileage, parking costs, tolls, as well as the purpose of the trip.

If you’re purchasing a vehicle for business purposes, you can include the depreciation of your vehicle as well as the interest on your loan. Lease payments are also deductible.

11. Travel, Entertainment, Gifts and Meals

If, for some reason, you must travel, 100% of your lodging, travel (auto, air or rail) is deductible, as are any costs associated with the travel, such as dry cleaning and rental cars, etc. However, be aware that only 50% of your meals are tax deductible. You can also include 50% of any meals with customers, if you’re discussing business-related matters. Any gifts purchased for customers, or an employee, is 100% deductible, but you’re only allowed to spend up to $25 each year per person.

12. Insurance Premiums

Any healthcare insurance you pay for yourself is completely deductible (so long as you weren’t eligible for other coverage – including any available through an employed spouse’s medical plan). If your spouse worked for you, you can deduct all the medical premiums paid for your spouse and your family, if they were listed as dependents.

13. Retirement Contributions

Saving up for a rainy day is actually encouraged by the IRS. If you’re contributing to a SEP-IRA or Keogh for your own retirement, it’s all completely deductible.

14. Social Security

The good, the bad and the… well, you know how it goes. I’m a glass half full kind of gal, so I’ll start with the good news, which is that you can deduct half of all social security contributions you’re required to pay for yourself for the year. The bad news: You must contribute a chunk of your net profits to social security… sometimes referred to as “self-employment tax.” But, hey, at least you can take half of it back.

15. Telephone Charges

Telephone costs are 100% deductible. The easiest way to keep track of this is to have a separate telephone line, dedicated specifically for business use. If you don’t, and you’re sharing a home landline or cell phone for personal and business use, you can still deduct any portion of business related expense. You’ll need to circle the business-related calls on your phone bills and keep track of the total.

16. Child Labor

This is a little-known deduction and shouldn’t be overlooked. I always hired my kids in the summer (they have to be 12 or older). It gave them some responsibility, and also gave me the perfect opportunity to inspire them and help to influence their work ethic. If your child is younger than 17, not only can you deduct what you pay them as a business expense – you won’t have to contribute social security tax for them, either. I should mention, though, that this does not apply if you operate as a corporation or LLC… You can only take advantage of the social security tax break for your kids if you’re operating as a sole proprietorship.

Isn’t all of this great news? This is a short list of the many business deductions available to you when you operate a business from home.

Honestly, what was the one most important factor that made you look into starting a home based business? I feel pretty safe saying most likely it was to “make more money.” Maybe your motivation is to have more spare time, freedom… or to be able to spend more time with your family. No matter the reason, there is no doubt that the tax advantages alone make it worth the effort.

Out of the few legitimate and low cost opportunities available to start a home based business, you’ll be hard-pressed to a better one than Judgment Recovery… and guess what? Training materials are tax deductible! So I hope you’ll take a moment to re-visit: recoverycourse.com for more information.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve explored judgment recovery, and you’d like to read through the free Judgment Recovery 101 Start Up Guide again, you can download it here: www.recoverycourse.com/JR_101.pdf. If you have any trouble with the download, just CONTACT ME and I’ll send it to you manually.

Have a great week!

Christina Smiley
Are you ready to get started with a judgment recovery business? Click here: Join SJR

Sierra Judgment Recovery
Professional Judgment Recovery Training

SJR Home
Judgment Recovery Training
Free Judgment Recovery Start Up Guide

Let’s Talk About Income

MONEY: Dough. Moolah. Bucks. Clams. Cheddar. Benjamins. Greenbacks.

I’d like to start by stating the obvious: you wouldn’t be interested in judgment recovery if you weren’t looking for a way to make money, or improve your quality of life – that much is clear. But if you’re looking for some kind of pie in the sky promise of riches and an elevation to lifestyles of the rich and famous overnight, I’m sorry to inform you that this isn’t it.

A judgment recovery business is most definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme and I will never promise that you’ll be wealthy overnight. I’m not going to try to lure you with any false expectations, or by posing in front of my mansion and sports car and promising this will be you in two weeks. If you’re looking for easy money, you should probably look somewhere else, and I sincerely hope you find it.

So let’s be reasonable. The truth is that any legitimate business requires hard work, research, expense and plain old elbow grease. Judgment recovery is no exception. But if you’re willing to invest the time and effort, a judgment recovery business can provide a decent and sustainable income of about $80,000 a year, for a very low cost investment.

In this newsletter I’ve outlined some examples and scenarios to explain how money is earned with a judgment recovery business, so you can have a better idea about what kind of income you’ll generate and how that happens.

While there are hundreds of ways to collect a judgment, there are just two basic ways to take assignment of them. Both methods transfer all right, title and interest from the judgment holder to the assignee (you). That’s important because it allows you to collect the judgment on your own behalf (an article for another day). It’s also worth noting that
judgments accrue simple interest from day one, which means two to three years down the road they are worth significantly more than they were when first awarded.

The first method is to purchase the judgment with the agreement that you’ll make payment when – or if – the judgment is collected, paying half of what you’ve collected minus any expenses.

Example 1:

  • A judgment was awarded two years ago for $5,257.00.
  • The judgment holder assigns the judgment to you for enforcement.
  • With a post-judgment interest rate of 10%, the judgment is now worth $6,209.84.
  • You will collect the judgment, keeping 50% of what you are able to collect.
  • Your income for a few hours’ worth of work is $3,154.92.

This is by far the most commonly used assignment method in our industry. If you are unable to collect the judgment, you’re not on the hook for anything other than your time and some minor expense you incurred in an attempt to locate assets. Further, there’s no ‘expiration date’ on an assignment. You can continue to check back every few months to see if anything has changed with the debtor’s financial situation. You can also record a judgment lien so that if the debtor owns property, or acquires it in the future, your judgment lien will have to be paid before a clear title can be achieved.

The second commonly used method is to purchase the judgment outright, paying the judgment holder $0.05 to $0.10 on the dollar up front. The obvious benefit to this is that your potential profit is much higher than it would be if you were just keeping half of what you collect. The only drawback is that you could end up throwing good money after bad, unless you prescreen the case before purchase and only opt for those cases where you know assets are sufficient enough to satisfy the judgment.

Example 2:

  • A judgment was awarded five years ago for $4,194.00.
  • Because you have determined that the debtor has significant assets, you purchase the judgment outright for $335.52 ($0.08 on the dollar).
  • With a post-judgment interest rate of 10%, the judgment is now worth $6,292.15.
  • You will collect the judgment, keeping 100% of what you collect.
  • Your income for a few hours’ worth of work is $5,956.63.

Now that I’ve covered the basic types of agreements, let’s talk about some enforcement scenarios. But before I do that, it’s time for a reality check. I think you’ll agree that the first method described is the easiest way to start making money with a minimal investment of time and cost, however, be aware that these are judgments. In most
circumstances you’re only going to be able to find assets and actually collect about 45% – 50% of these judgments. It’s nothing to freak out about – it’s just the nature of the type of debt we’re collecting – but it has to figure in to your expectations to keep them realistic.

Moving forward, there are more scenarios for collecting than there are fish in the sea, or any combination of them to ultimately get the job done – but here are some common ones, so that you’ll get an idea about how you actually get from Point A to Point B.

Wage Garnishment:
In most states (but not all) you can garnish a judgment debtor’s wages. The law typically allows you to intercept 25% of the disposable income, to be submitted by the employer every time the debtor gets paid. The employer receives a court order to withhold the money each pay period and turn it over to the court or levying officer, who in turn sends it to you. This results in basically maintenance free residual income.

Voluntary Payment:
Much the same as a garnishment in regard to residual income, however, a debtor submits payments voluntarily and these payments are not routed through the court.

Seizure of Bank Account:
The court will act on your direction to seize funds in checking, savings or even mutual fund accounts. Anything in the account(s) at the time the bank is notified must be frozen and then turned over to the court or levying officer, who in turn will send it to
you.

Settlement:
As the judgment creditor, you have the authority to accept a settlement in lieu of collecting the full judgment amount. This is very useful as a means of working with judgment debtors – particularly commercial/business debtors – toward a reasonable solution everyone can live with. You can even structure settlements that are half money and half barter for goods or services – or all barter. The sky’s the limit here.

Lien:
As I wrote earlier, a judgment lien attaches to property and clouds the title until the judgment is paid.

Foreclosure:
While you would be completely within legal boundaries by foreclosing on property to satisfy a judgment, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this route just to satisfy a measly $5,000 debt (that’s pretty cold-hearted). But if you’re talking about a judgment against a
business for a couple hundred thousand, then by all means, this might be the way to go!

I could go on with these scenarios all day, but there are just too many of them. Some other potential assets include business income or equipment, rental income, annuities,
automobiles, recreational vehicles, boats, planes – I even know a gal who seized and sold a buffalo! I’m confident that you can clearly see how and why an income of $80,000 a year is average for one person operating full time. Anyway, the idea is to give you some grasp of how and where the income generates from, since I really am asked this question pretty often.

As always, if there are any topics or subjects you’d like to see discussed in the newsletter, please feel free to Contact Us and let me know. To get started today earning $80,000 a year today, click here to Join SJR.

Warm Regards,

Christina

Sierra Judgment Recovery

12 Totally Free Online Business Tools

Did you know that you can get anything from customer websites to business plans without having to dish out a single penny? These days, with the contribution of so many programmers, techies and just plain generous Internet users, there are more valuable open source tools and applications available to us than ever before.

By ‘open source’ I’m referring to software applications whose original programming source code has been made freely available to anyone who wants to redistribute or modify the program or application.

The result is: totally rockin’ software applications that anyone can use for absolutely no cost whatsoever. This is stuff that I used to shell out hundreds of dollars for, and in many cases they function better than those old programs anyway.

There are literally thousands of these apps online for the taking, but I have wheedled out twelve of them that I think are worthy contributions to anyone trying to keep expenses to a minimum while starting or operating a business.

1. Open Office
www.openoffice.org
Apache OpenOffice is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.

2. SCORE
www.score.org
Score is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and helping entrepreneurs with over 13,000 volunteers and 370 offices around the US. SCORE also has a section on its website with free templates and tools. This treasure trove includes business plan forms, financial templates, contract samples/templates and more. You can even ask a question to a local volunteer mentor right through the website.

3. Dropbox
www.dropbox.com
Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, documents and videos anywhere and easily share them. Store and sync files and documents on different devices and computers. No more hunting and searching for stuff on the cell phone, laptop, desktop or tablet. Plop your training materials into Dropbox and now you can access it anywhere. Same goes for important contracts. What a total time saver.

4. Design a Website: Weebly
www.weebly.com
Weebly is an easy-to-use online tool lets you pick a website template from about 150 choices and add photos and text using drag-and-drop tools. You can also add a full e-commerce portal, photo galleries, and slide shows, and register your domain right on Weebly.com. The result? A polished, professional site that’s up and running in a day, if not hours. Cost: Free for a basic site, then starting at $3 a month for a custom URL and advanced features.

5. Dashlane
www.dashlane.com
If you’re like me, you diligently strive to “be safe” and use different passwords on different sites across the internet. However, the downside to this “safe behavior” is that I can never remember any of my darn passwords. I would spend hours each week hitting “Forgot your password?”, waiting for my new password, getting re-authenticated, only to do the whole rigamarole over again the next week. Dashlane to the rescue. With one master password, Dashlane covers you across the internet — airline frequent flyer numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, addresses, pin codes. Never forget an online password again. Brilliant.

6. PaperRater
www.paperrater.com
We all know how important it is to put our best foot forward when communicating with existing or potential customers. PaperRater offers a free in-depth online grammar and spelling check. Just cut and paste your letter, email or other communication into the checker and PaperRater allows you to find those pesky mistakes and correct them before sending out important correspondence.

7. ZOHO
www.zoho.com
ZOHO offers free productivity, collaboration and business applications. A centralized collection of tons of free spreadsheets, presentation tools, management software and much, much more.  There is even a new section of apps for your small business needs.  Everything you could possibly need for operating a more productive business.

8. Wave Accounting
www.waveapps.com
Wave Accounting is a completely free app that helps you manage your business finances from any place you can get online. For an entrepreneur or freelancer, it also allows you to separate and track your personal finances, too, so you can handle all of your financial management from one location. You’ll find invoices, expense tracking, reports, and more. It has its limits, of course. It doesn’t track timesheets and some of the other features you’ll find in a paid app, but for those getting started or with a small business, it might be the perfect choice for you.

9. Jax Works
www.jaxworks.com
JaxWorks has hundreds of Excel spreadsheets available on their site for downloading at no cost to you. These free offerings cover a number of financial, accounting and sales functions at all skill levels.  Browse the selections and save any number of these for future reference. The free downloads are available for Windows Excel, Apple Macintosh Excel and Apple iWorks Numbers.

10. FormNet
www.entrepreneur.com/formnet
Use this free business forms download service available on Entrepreneur.com. Save yourself time and expense by using these free business form templates and documents available in Microsoft Word, Excel or Adobe pdf. Categories include accounting, credit and collections, insurance, inventory, human resources, leasing, marketing, management, sales, shipping and starting your own small business. No more creating documents from scratch!

11. LinkedIn
www.linkedin.com
These days I can’t imagine building a business without LinkedIn. I had a LinkedIn profile for years before I realized what an incredibly valuable networking tool it was. It’s free, and if you’re consistent about inviting and networking with new connections, within no time at all you will have access to a truly diverse network of people. I am still surprised by how many people do not have a LinkedIn profile. If you want to be taken seriously in your business, you need to set one up.

12. Small Business Administration (SBA)
www.SBA.gov
The SBA offers several free tools and resources, including online training webinars and videos for everything from how to write a business plan to how to qualify for government contracts. Apply for loans, grants and government contracts.

So there you have it – enough loot to make you feel like you’ve discovered buried treasure. “But wait…” you may ask, “What about the Mack Daddy of them all – Google?”

Excellent question. Google still offers one of the best collections of business tools around. A veritable Swiss Army Knife for the digital age Google is a startup’s best friend. Google hooks you up with a toolbox in and of itself between Drive, Documents,
Spreadsheets, Hangouts, Search, Chat, Calendar and (of course) Gmail. A decade ago, this suite would cost a small business hundreds if not thousands of dollars. As of 12/6/12 it’s no longer free, but it’s still a great value at $5/month, and it rocks.

You can store, share, and collaborate on documents using Google Drive, a cloud-based system accessible on the Web and a variety of mobile devices, including the iPad, iPhone, and Android phones and tablets. And if you’re still paying for email, you probably shouldn’t be on the internet, but if you have a business, your email address needs to end with @YOURDOMAIN.com. Using Gmail, Yahoo, or other services can look unprofessional and hurt your credibility. Google Apps solves all of that.

Those are my top picks, but if you spend a little time poking around I’m sure you’ll come up with some other free gems. As always, I welcome your questions or comments. If there are any topics you’d like to see discussed on this blog, please let me know and I’ll do my best to oblige!

If it’s been awhile since you’ve explored judgment recovery, and you’d like to read through the free Start Up Guide again, you can download it by clicking on the ‘Free Judgment Recovery Start Up Guide’ link below. If you have any trouble with the download, just contact me and I’ll send it to you manually.

Kind Regards,

Christina Smiley

PS: If you’re ready to get started with your judgment recovery business today click here: Join SJR

Sierra Judgment Recovery
Professional Judgment Recovery Training

Links:
SJR Home
Judgment Recovery Training
Free Judgment Recovery Start Up Guide

The Power of Positive Thinking

Thoughts are funny things… We’ve all had days where it feels like everything is just going wrong. We think, “Why me?” and, “What did I do to deserve this?” or, “Good grief! What else could possibly happen?” And the more we let ourselves feel like a victim, the faster things seem to spiral out of control. We tend to spend all our energy focusing on the negative. But think about this: wouldn’t it serve us better to wade through all that garbage and find just one nugget of good to focus on?

When we focus on the positive things in our lives, we will ultimately attract and invite more positive influence. I’ve experienced this first-hand.

True story: When I was a struggling young mother of three small children, I came to a point in my life where my income wasn’t enough to pay my bills. It seemed like the harder I worked, the less time I had to focus on things that really mattered – like my family and friends – but most particularly I had no time to figure out how to make things better. I was spiraling the drain – both financially and spiritually.

It was a vicious cycle. Less money, more bills, more stress, work more hours, have less time to spend doing the things that make us happy… and the misery just went on and on. At the time my husband and I were running a carpet store. When we lost the store I thought my world was over. Little did I know that it was just the beginning of this crazy wonderful journey I’m still on today – because that’s exactly when I started my judgment recovery business.

The funny thing is, looking back now I can see how impossible it would have been to start the new business if I was still wrapped up in the carpet store. It practically hit me over the head! Had I still been so completely obsessed chasing my tail on the hamster wheel, I’d never have taken the time to seriously consider something else.

Instead of mourning the loss of the store and feeling like I failed, I became excited about starting something new.  Instead of giving in to fear and panic, I embraced the potential for new possibilities. Once I did that it seemed like everything miraculously started falling in place. I had recognized that when one door closes, three more open. All I had to do was walk through.

I’m sure everyone has a story they can relate this to. Maybe you lost your job, or your hours got cut back? Perhaps your retirement income didn’t turn out to be the golden goose egg you thought it would be. It could be that your life or career was derailed by other unanticipated circumstances out of your control… The silver lining in any of those discouraging events is that now you’ll have time to explore other possibilities where before you didn’t have time for a spare breath.

Some things happen at just the right time. They seem bad, but really they can be doorways to something better. Something you would never have considered unless you were forced by some other circumstance to look for other answers. Sometimes those answers literally just land on your head.

Even with the busiest of schedules, anyone can find time to set aside to focus on making things better, if they really want to. We find time to exercise, watch TV, shop and spend time on FaceBook… Why not invest a little of that time toward finding a way to make a positive change in your life? Skip a television show – there’s an hour. Spend a little mental energy on how you can create change in your life when you’re walking the dog; running the errands; watching the kids at baseball practice.

What’s stopping YOU?

Kind Regards,

Christina

Are you ready to get started with a judgment recovery business? Click here: Join SJR

Sierra Judgment Recovery
Professional Judgment Recovery Training

SJR Home
Judgment Recovery Training
Free Judgment Recovery Start Up Guide

5 Steps: From Daydreaming to Starting a Business

As a self-confessed opportunity junkie, I’ve spent countless hours daydreaming about new business ideas. Most of the time an idea only takes hold long enough for me to think how wonderful it would be if I could (“insert random idea of the day”)… Sometimes though, an idea actually gets some glue and I’ll spend even more time envisioning how to turn the dream into reality. I’m sure we’ve all done that, but actually navigating an idea from your imagination to the real world can be a daunting task to even consider.

I heard an old rock ‘n roll song the other day that inspired me to write about this topic. It was one of those songs that I sing along to, without really thinking about the words. The Eagles said it so eloquently: “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains – and we never even know we have the key.” Personally, the “key” for me was to get off my butt, stop daydreaming and GET MOVING.

Here are some suggestions to help you get your own head out of the clouds:

1. Make an Official Road Map. Obviously, you already know where point “A” is. Point “A” is that idea rattling around in your brain looking for a way to see the light of day. This is true whether it’s your own original idea, or someone else’s business model that you’re considering for yourself. Now think about where you ultimately want to go on this entrepreneurial expedition. There will be several required points of interest along the way, and you may not even realize where all the pit stops are going to be, but recording your idea in writing is a great way to map out a plan of action. It will be your compass and provide you with a logical sequence of steps to get you where you want to go.

2. K.I.S.S. If you’re not familiar with that acronym, it means Keep It Simple Stupid (umm… not that I’m implying that you’re stupid – but you get the idea). Don’t obsess over making every little aspect of your business perfect, because at this point it’s impossible to even know what that should be. Focus instead on how you can make your primary product or service desirable to your customer – the rest can be fine-tuned later. Remember that nothing is set in stone. At this stage of the process (or any stage, for that matter) you can always change what doesn’t work, or tweak what does.

3. Use the tools in your toolbox. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to invest money in brand new equipment, especially if you already have the tools to get the job done. Too often I see people get caught up in the mindset that they must squirrel away a ton of money to purchase brand new computers, printers and other office equipment. Or worse – those who think they must give wads of cash to hungry web designers for flashy, expensive websites. To keep your costs low, think about using what you already have and save your hard-earned resources for legitimate start-up necessities. The bells and whistles will come down the road.

4. Take the First Step. When starting a business (or even a major project) one reason it’s so difficult to get started is because there are just so many tasks demanding your attention. It can be positively overwhelming when the whole enchilada is staring you in the face. But I’ll tell you this – nothing will happen unless you take the first step. Splash some hot sauce on that son-of-a-gun and take a bite. For Pete’s sake, just pick something simple, like identifying who your target market will be. That should be easy enough, and you’ll feel terrific for taking action toward making something actually happen. Overcome your analysis paralysis… When you begin to take those initial steps, pretty soon you’ll gain some momentum.

5. Get the word out. Talk about your new business and let people know you’re starting. Nothing gets your engine revving faster than talking about a new business with friends, family and other acquaintances. Not only will it make your new business more of a reality for you, but it also invites questions and answers from others that offer invaluable marketing insights. In fact, when I started my judgment recovery business, talking about it with others is exactly how I landed several of my first assignments. I swear – people were throwing the stuff at me. And then would you just look at that… I was started.

What’s stopping you?

Warm Regards,

Christina
Are you ready to get started with a judgment recovery business? Click here: Join SJR

Sierra Judgment Recovery
Professional Judgment Recovery Training

SJR Home
Judgment Recovery Training
Free Judgment Recovery Start Up Guide

Skip Tracing Online: 7 Basic Steps

When I actually started writing this final installment of the Skip Tracing Series, it soon became apparent that there is – by far – too much material to cover in a blog post. This is the “meaty” part, and it quickly went from being a 10 ounce New York Strip to a hefty 5 pound hunk of steaming beef. That being the case, I made an effort to whittle it down to methods using free online resources to conduct a simple skip trace. Still, I apologize in advance for the length of the article.

To re-cap, you should by now understand what a ‘skip trace’ is, as well as how to build a profile of your subject. If you missed those earlier articles, you’ll find them here: www.recoverycourse.com/blog.

When trying to find most targets, these basic techniques will locate the average person 90% of the time. By ‘average person’ I mean someone who isn’t necessarily trying to remain unfound. For those who are intentionally hiding, it can sometimes be a bit more complicated.

If I were actually discussing the hard-core skip tracing methods used to locate a judgment debtor who doesn’t want to be found, these techniques would be much more in-depth, and involve a number of private information sources (like credit reports and banking detail reports). Even so, the following steps are still used as a jumping-off point when enforcing judgments to locate the basic whereabouts of the judgment debtor… and they are absolutely free.

At the start, you’ll want to begin with the most obvious way to locate your target, moving progressively forward using more involved processes. Be forewarned however, sometimes following a lead can be just like Alice chasing the White Rabbit down a hole into Wonderland… Don’t be afraid to follow, but try to keep your head.

Basic Skip Tracing Steps

Diving right in – these are the basic (and sometimes obvious) methods used to locate your subject. These methods should be used in conjunction with the profile you’ve already assembled, and remember to fill in or update any of the information about your subject in your worksheet as you go along.

Step 1 – Build a Profile

As discussed in my previous article, your profile should be completed with as much information about your subject as possible. Now it’s time to get busy filling in some of the blanks.

Step 2 – Is your subject living?

I know it’s a little morbid, but this is the first step to take in any skip trace. You can determine whether or not your target is still alive using the Social Security Death Records database (or SSDI). While you would think that you should be able to access the index from the Social Security Administration’s website, you cannot – though you will find free access here: http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3693

Since search results include the date of birth, city and state of last residence and the state the social security number was issued in, this should be enough to identify whether or not it pertains to your subject.

Step 3 – Telephone Directories

This is obvious – I’m aware – but not to be overlooked. It only takes a couple of minutes to search using online directories. Be sure to search multiple areas and states, if your profile includes that information – such as places where your subject previously lived or may have moved to. Admittedly, with the introduction of the cell phone revolution, many people no longer subscribe to a ‘land line,’ but it’s still worth a shot – you might get lucky, or you might find a relative.

While there are literally thousands of online telephone directories, here are some of the more popular ones:

AnyWho: www.anywho.com
AT&T Directory Assistance: www.corp.att.com/directory/
SuperPages: www.superpages.com
SwitchBoard: www.switchboard.com
White Pages: www.whitepages.com
Yahoo! People Search: people.yahoo.com

Step 4 – Internet Search Engines

There’s a reason it’s called the ‘Information Age.’ Any and all information ever recorded or archived about you on a website is likely to be found online. If that doesn’t make you a little nervous, it should. In capable hands, the Internet can reveal all manner of statistical and personal data about you.

My husband is more than a little paranoid about posting anything online – and for good reason.  Posts you’ve made in discussion groups; reviews you’ve provided online; resumes posted to job or career sites; ads on Craig’s List; newspaper articles; PTA
meeting minutes – it’s all out there.

I’ll refer specifically to Google here, but generally the same principals apply to other search engines like Bing and Yahoo!. If Google is not the largest conglomeration of websites and information on the Internet, then it’s close. I always start here.

To get the most out of this search tool, you need to be aware of what’s in the toolbox… I’m sure there is not one person among you that hasn’t at some time searched for something on Google, but I’m wondering how many of you have used the Advanced Search feature? After you perform a basic search, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see the link for ‘Advanced Search.’

Like most search engines, Google’s queries are based on ‘Boolean logic’ (if you’re not sure what that is, you can Google it). The Advanced Search feature lets you enter data into a form that makes it easier to narrow down the focus of your search to a defined set of parameters. You can specify a search for specific words or phrases, and exclude others.

Other nifty tools that Google provides are separate search engines for different types of information. Assuming you’re using a reasonably current web browser, you’ll find several links displayed in a menu across the top of the Google’s search page. You can search specifically in the ‘Images’ section for snapshots of your subject that may be displayed on other websites. By clicking on that image, you’ll be taken to the website where the image is originally displayed. You can also use the ‘YouTube’ search engine, which has become very popular.

Step 5 – Social Websites

Lately there are more social sites cropping up than I can (or care to) keep up with. By ‘social sites’ I’m referring to websites like MySpace, FaceBook, etc., where people have made an astonishing amount of information about themselves available to anyone who’d care to ‘Friend’ them. I’ll use FaceBook as our example.

You can conduct a simple search for anyone you wish on FaceBook, but unless you have a ‘page’ of your own, you’re not going to be able to see very much in your results – so if you don’t have one, get one. It’s a fairly simple process to set up, and you can set your ‘Profile’ to private so others can’t snoop.

Once you have created your own page (make sure you’re logged in before searching) your search results will return information about anyone you search for by name – that’s pretty basic stuff. You can also search by name and city or state. What you may not know is that if you search with a subject’s email address you will have a much better chance of positively identifying your subject. You would think that most people post a picture of themselves for a profile, but you’ll soon learn that puppies, kittens, caricatures and photos of other people are just as common – so a valid email address is a better way to search, if you have it.

If you aren’t able to locate your subject’s ‘page,’ try looking for a page belonging to a relative or friend of your subject. If you scroll through other people’s ‘Friend’ list (if their profile is not set to ‘Private’) you just may find your subject, or another lead to your subject. I especially look for ‘Happy Birthday’ posts in a person’s history, since most people tend to chime in around that time.

I feel an ethical responsibility to note that when enforcing a judgment or other debt, it is in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to mislead (or lie) about your intentions when communicating with debtors, so it would be a big no-no to pose as someone else to gain information about a judgment debtor you’re trying to collect from (even on FaceBook). Neither am I condoning any of this information to ever be used for stalking purposes.

Step 6 – Professional Websites:

LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is another great online source for skip tracing, particularly if you have a rough idea about where your subject may be located and previous professions, careers or employers. Because this is a site designed for interaction between certain types of professionals, it is also likely to be reasonably up to date. Similar to LinkedIn are Plaxo (www.plaxo.com) and Ecademy (ecademy.com).

Another place to look is CorporationWiki (www.corporationwiki.com). A unique feature of this site is that the information is gathered from sources like Dun and Bradstreet and the Secretary of States’ corporate filings. If your subject owns a business, the information is likely catalogued here. Even if they don’t own the business, often if they are a manager or primary officer of a business or company, you’ll find their information here.

Step 7 – Other Online Resources

Still hitting a wall? Here are some other online resources that may provide what you’re looking for:

WordPress and other blogging (web log) sites. Google even provides a search engine specifically for blogs.

Alumni or Reunion sites. If you know where your subject went to high school or college, you may be able to find information about them from a site like Reunions.com or Classmates.com. Remember, if you know who else may have gone to school with your subject – you can look for them too.

Public records are becoming more and more available online. Many states and/or counties simply don’t have the manpower to attend to manual requests for records, so they’ve simply made the information available on the Internet. There are many sites that may charge a fee for this information, but don’t be fooled – much of it can be found free if you go directly to the source. A good starting point would be a public records portal, like SearchSystems.net (http://publicrecords.searchsystems.net/) or BRBpub.com (http://www.brbpub.com/free-public-records/).

Don’t overlook court records – including civil, criminal divorce, bankruptcy and traffic violation records. Many states offer access to these databases online.

Inmate locaters, where available, can be an excellent tool if your subject has dropped off the grid. For state inmates try InmatesPlus (www.inmatesplus.com). For Federal prison inmates try the Bureau of Prisons website (www.bop.gov/iloc2/LocateInmate.jsp).

Black Book Online has an excellent U.S. Active Duty Military locator (www.blackbookonline.info), as well as many other public record resources.

Genealogy record sites, like RootsWeb (www.rootsweb.ancestry.com) or Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com) have put a great deal of effort into keeping track of the family trees of millions of ancestors.

At the End of the Road?

Make certain that while conducting your searches you’ve used any and all possible variations of your subject’s name or aliases like a maiden name or nick name – that goes for possible friends or relatives of your subject too. If you still haven’t managed to locate your subject after exhausting all of these skip tracing methods, it may be that your subject has gone to great lengths not to be found. If that’s the case, then it’s time to break out the big guns. By that I’m referring to private records, like consumer credit
reports and other sources of fee-based data that the general public doesn’t have access to. You won’t be able to gain access to it, either, unless you have a legitimate and legal purpose for doing so, such as a civil judgment, litigation, licensed private investigation, or other debt collection purpose. If you still decide to pursue it, you may want to consider paying a professional to handle it for you.

As always, I welcome your questions or comments. You can email me directly, or feel free to post a reply in the comments section. If there are any topics you’d like to see discussed on this blog, please let me know and I’ll do my best to oblige!

For more information about the professional judgment recovery training my company provides, please use the link above, or the one below in my signature line to visit my website.

Warm Regards,

Christina

Christina Smiley
Sierra Judgment Recovery
www.recoverycourse.com

Skip Tracing: Building a Profile

Last week, in the first part of this series, I focused on providing you with an accurate description of “skip tracing,” as well as what types – or categories – of missing persons we generally deal with. In the second installment of this three-part series we’re discussing the importance of building a “profile” of your target, and what steps should be taken to build that profile. Your profile is like a road map that will lead you to your subject.

Building a Profile

Any nugget of information that you can gather about your subject will put you one step closer to finding their current whereabouts. Keeping all of this data organized is very important as you are collecting and compiling your clues.

Think of it like a jigsaw puzzle. At first, there’s nothing but disjointed bits of color that don’t seem to look like much of anything. Later, as those bits are added to other bits, a bigger picture begins to emerge. A skip trace profile can accomplish the same thing.

For those of us who skip trace for our daily bread, a profile worksheet is the key to keeping all this compiled information readily available in a format that makes it easier to both draw conclusions and tie bits of data together.

A simple profile worksheet can easily be created using a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel – it doesn’t need to be complicated. In this profile worksheet you’ll add any and all details that you already know about your subject, as well as any new information that you obtain during the course of your skip trace. Don’t be discouraged if a lot of information is missing when you start… by the time you’re able to fill in most of the blanks you’ll most likely have found your subject.

Assemble All Known Data

You may already know more than you think you do, once you start putting all of your known information together. Sometimes this may be all you need to find the person you’re looking for – but it’s more likely that what you already know may point you to another piece of information that will eventually lead you to your subject. It’s important to list every detail you can think of, because you just can’t tell when or if that little fact will bridge to another little fact that ties it all together.

Spending a couple of minutes to make sure your facts are accurate from the very beginning will save you hours of frustration and wild goose chases down the road. You’ll want to make sure that you have the correct spelling of your subject’s name and as much other information as possible. For example: is your subject’s last name Johnson – or Johnston? Is your subject’s first name Deborah – or Debra? If you’re not entirely certain, you’ll want to keep an eye out for possible variations of both first and last names as you’re conducting your skip trace. This includes nicknames, like Tom, Tommy, Thom, TJ, etc. Also remember, if your subject is female, she may have married or divorced.

Try to remember that you’re solving a puzzle and be certain that you always fill in a blank when the information becomes available. For instance, suppose your search leads you to someone who used to know where your subject lived, but may have lost touch with that person? That person may know more about your subject than they realize, and may be able to help you fill in more of the blanks in your profile.

Known data consists of hard facts such as:

  • First, Middle and Last Name
  • Aliases and Nicknames
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Email Addresses
  • Telephone Numbers (land line and/or cell)
  • High School Attended
  • College Attended
  • Known Previous Addresses
  • Military Service
  • Employment History
  • Names and Addresses of Relatives
  • Known Friends and Associates
  • Ex-spouses or Significant Others
  • Previous Professions or Occupations
  • Business Associations or Affiliations

Assemble Any Assumed Data

Information that is already known to you will be comprised of hard facts. Assumed data can be a little more elusive and subtle. Let’s lump into this category things your subject may have said (or indicated to you or someone else) about what sort of career they’d like to be in, or a particular area of the country where they wanted to live – or anything else you can think of. These are not “hard” facts, but it may give you ideas about other places to look for your subject.

This is all conjecture, of course. There’s no way to know if any of this stuff will pan out, but you should still make note of it in case you hit a brick wall and you need a new direction to go in. Also, something else could pop up as a result of your other search efforts that may tie in with something you’ve assumed about your subject.

Create a Plan of Action

By now you should have gathered as much information – both hard facts and assumed – as possible. This is your “jumping off” point. Now it’s time to get busy and build on what you’ve already accumulated to find your subject. To do this you’ll need to create a plan of action.

Your plan of action will help you add clues and information to your profile in a structured and efficient manner. A lot of it will hinge on what category your subject falls under (I discussed categories of missing persons in Part One of this series). If you’re just trying to track down an old friend or a relative you lost touch with, it should be fairly straightforward and simple. However, if your subject is among those who are intentionally hiding, like debtors or deadbeat parents, it will probably take a little more elbow grease on your part. Some of these skips will also use tactics to avoid being found.

Deciding on your plan of action and implementing that plan are one of the things the next installment of this series will go over in more detail – so you’ll definitely want to tune in, because that’s when it starts to get interesting (at least for me, personally).

As always please don’t hesitate to ask or post any questions. You can either post them as a reply to this blog or Contact Me.

Warm Regards,

Christina

Christina Smiley
Sierra Judgment Recovery
Professional Judgment Recovery Training
www.recoverycourse.com

What is Judgment Recovery? An Explanation in Plain English

For many of us who are in the judgment recovery industry, we often forget that the rest of the world may not really have a clue about what “Judgment Recovery” is. As with many industries, we are so used to throwing around terminology like “skip tracing” and “asset location” that we just assume everyone else understands.

Here’s a simple example of the whole process, in plain English…

The Dispute

We’ll start from the very beginning. Imagine, if you will, that you’ve rented a home for several years. Situations change, and you’ve decided it’s time to move. You kept the property in great shape, always paid rent on time, and certainly didn’t trash the place, so you’re looking forward to getting your deposit back.

After the move, your landlord decides to be greedy and won’t return your deposit. What?! Your demand for an explanation goes unanswered, so your only real option is to file a lawsuit in small claims court.

The Court Date

You’ve filed your papers with the court to request a hearing and served the landlord with notice of the hearing date. The court date arrives and both you and the landlord argue your case in front of the judge, who decides that you are right and the landlord must return your deposit. A judgment is awarded for the amount of the deposit, plus any court fees you had to pay.

A week goes by… and you haven’t received any payment. But the landlord (now he’s called the judgment debtor) technically has thirty days to cough it up, so you’re trying to be patient. Now three months have passed – and still no check. At this point you call the court to tell them that the judgment debtor has still not paid, and you want to know what they’re going to do about it. Shockingly, the answer is nothing. Guess what? It’s up to you to make the judgment debtor pay. The court will not enforce the judgment for you. You’re on your own…

The Judgment Recovery Specialist

Time flies when you’re living your life, so three years have flown by and you’ve given up hope long ago that you’ll ever see a dime from that crooked landlord. Then one day you receive a letter from Statewide Judgment Recovery. Of course, this letter sparks your curiosity, so you open it.

It isn’t exactly what you were expecting, but perhaps the next best thing. This company is telling you they’ve seen your judgment at the courthouse and noticed it hasn’t been paid. They want to know if you’d be interested in letting them enforce the judgment. Since the company is willing to pay for all of the fees associated with collecting the judgment up front, no money will come out of your pocket.

Figuring that you have nothing to lose, you call the company and take a few minutes to discuss your case with a friendly and helpful person on the phone.

Let’s give this faceless judgment recovery person an identity. Let’s call him Jim. Jim is a highly trained, specialized kind of dynamo. He’s equipped with every skill he needs and all the latest tricks of the trade to make sure you get your money.

Jim tells you that he will do everything necessary to enforce the judgment in exchange for 50% of whatever is collected. It really just turns out to be a simple matter of signing a couple of agreements.

After Jim receives your signed agreements, he files them with the court and is ready to dig his heels in and get started.

The Pursuit Begins!

This is a no-brainer for Jim – this case is a slam dunk for a go-getter like him. Since the landlord owns rental property, and you’d passed along copies of past cancelled checks written for the rent, it’s a simple matter to collect this judgment.

When a judgment is assigned to someone like Jim, he becomes, in the eyes of the law, the judgment creditor and new owner of the judgment. He has exactly the same right of enforcement that you had to use the powerful legal remedies provided by law to force the judgment debtor to pay the debt. Actually, the landlord now owes the judgment to Jim.

Jim files a form with the court and sends the sheriff over to the landlord’s bank to seize the money in the account. A bank account seizure freezes all of the money in the account from the moment it is delivered to the bank.

The money in the bank account was not quite enough to cover the entire judgment amount, so to collect the remaining balance, Jim again sends the sheriff – but this time to intercept any incoming rent from the current tenant residing at the rental property.

When Jim receives a check for the money collected by the sheriff for the rent and from the bank account, he adds the filing fees that he incurred to the judgment. The crooked landlord will ultimately pay for them. Then he keeps half for himself and mails a check for the remainder to you.

The ending to this story is a happy one. You receive a substantial chunk of the money that was owed to you and Jim gets a hefty well-deserved sum as well. The icing on the cake… Jim discovers that the landlord has several other judgments awarded against him, and decides to contact those judgment holders to help them get their money, too.

 

If there are any other topics you’d like to see discussed on this blog, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to cover them for you!

Warm Regards,

Christina

 

5 Myths About Judgment Recovery

I spend a good bit of every day answering questions about the judgment recovery business. Truth be told, the majority of those who take the time to write to me are pretty skeptical – and who can blame them? Aren’t there a million other ‘opportunities’ – many of them scams – flooding the Internet these days? How can you know who to trust, especially when it costs next to nothing for the ‘expert’ to market their product?

I honestly don’t mind answering those questions – I would much rather hear from someone if they have doubts, so at least I have a chance to personally address them.

Following are some of the concerns I find myself responding to most often.

Myth #1: Starting a judgment recovery business will cost a ton of money.

Fact: Costs to start and operate a judgment recovery business are surprisingly low. Chances are, you already have all the essential equipment you need to get going (computer and printer). Other very basic expenses will include a phone line dedicated for business use, a generic business license, a post office box and a locking file cabinet or desk drawer.

As for ongoing business operation costs, you’ll need information to help you find the debtor’s job, bank account and other assets (credit reports, banking detail information, etc. at $11-$12 per case), and court filing fees – approximately $35-$50 to seize any assets you find through the court system.

By comparison, consider that the average franchise requires thousands of dollars in investment capital. For example, a Subway restaurant will cost $12,500 cash just for the name, plus an additional investment ranging from $92,050 to $222,800 – and that’s just to get the door open. You’d need to rent or buy a storefront, hire and train employees, buy or lease equipment and inventory, and purchase advertising just for starters. Talk
about sticker shock!

Myth #2: I will have to harass the debtor to make him or her pay.

Fact: The assumption that you’ll need to become some sort of a finger-breaking thug to collect judgments is a little silly. Actually, you’ll have very little – if any – direct contact with the person who owes the debt at all. You’ll be using strictly non-confrontational, behind-the-scenes methods to collect these judgments. There’s simply no need to make harassing phone calls or send scary letters. Everything you do to enforce the judgment can and will be carried out through the court system by filing paperwork.

Myth #3: I’ll have to be some sort of legal genius to make this work.

Fact: No legal background is required in order for you to be profitable in a judgment recovery business. In fact, no background of any kind is necessary. Most of our current members didn’t have any sort of legal or collections experience when they began, either. I certainly kept this in mind when the course materials were written. I’ve trained truck drivers, soccer moms, retirees – you name it!

Don’t get me wrong – you’ll still need to do some research into procedures in your state, but the concepts and general rules are all pretty consistent throughout the US. These procedures are covered in step-by-step detail in the training materials. I’ll also provide you with the SJR State-By-State Civil Research Guide that includes specific information about the laws and codes that govern the enforcement of judgments in each state.

Myth #4: There is new “legislation” which makes collecting judgments very difficult.

Fact: Ah… the Internet rumor mill. If it’s written there, it must be true, right? Sorry, but it’s just wrong.

There hasn’t been any recent legislation passed or pending in any state that I am aware of that would affect your ability to successfully operate a judgment recovery business, or any new laws that would make enforcing judgments more difficult.

In fact, the opposite is true. In a few states, there is actually pending legislation that will make it easier to collect civil judgments. Most particularly, in some states where wage garnishments have never been permitted, there is pending legislation that will now make it possible.

Myth #5: Only attorneys can collect a judgment that was awarded to someone else.

Fact: Here is one, simple truth: Anyone who owns a judgment – or owns the rights to a judgment – can use the court system to collect. There is no court in the land that legally requires a judgment creditor to retain or use an attorney to collect a civil judgment.

Further, when all rights to a civil judgment are properly and legally assigned to another person, that person becomes the judgment creditor and owner of the judgment. This is all governed by civil statute in all 50 states.

I hope this helps to ease your mind about these important concerns. I know that if some people are asking about these issues, many more must also be wondering about the same thing. As always, I encourage you to contact me if you have questions of your own. Or if you would like to see any specific topics covered in more detail.

Warm Regards,

Christina

Christina Smiley
Sierra Judgment Recovery
SJR Strategic Research

Please note: I am not an attorney, nor do I aspire to be one. If you need legal advice, please consult qualified legal counsel.

Judgment Recovery Case Study: The “Eyes” Have It

Have you ever found yourself wondering what sort of issues bring people to court? There’s the usual run of the mill stuff… unpaid loans, property disputes, evictions – and all that. But every now and then a case comes along that just goes to show that sometimes there’s nothing mundane about civil disputes.

Consider the following case, where Janet Lawrence responded to an advertisement at a local tattoo parlor for a cosmetic procedure. Ms. Lawrence had long been thinking about permanent eyebrow application, which is generally done via tattoo. Initially, all went well and Ms. Lawrence was very satisfied with the results. A few days later told a different story, however, as an infection had set in. The consequences were, let us say… less than attractive. It also caused permanent disfigurement and scarring. According to Janet’s doctor, this type of infection was usually caused from exposure to dirty or unsterilized equipment.

After unsuccessfully seeking reimbursement from the tattoo parlor for the cost of the procedure and her medical bills, Ms. Lawrence took the tattoo parlor to court and was awarded a $2,400 judgment.

Some general statistics about this case: By the time it had been assigned to me, the judgment was 8 years old. In this state, judgments are enforceable for a period of 10 years, and can be renewed indefinitely. Interest was also accruing at the legal rate of 10%, so by this time the actual amount due was approximately $3,600 (and change), and accruing interest at the rate of $0.65 per day.

The first order of business was to find out if the tattoo parlor was still up and running. After a quick check with the city’s business licensing department, it was no surprise to learn that the business had gone under years ago. Not too shocking, considering their methods of operation left a lot to be desired. It wasn’t a total loss, though, because I was able to determine that the business was structured as a sole proprietorship – or ‘D/B/A’ – rather than an LLC or other incorporated entity.

A little background information will help you understand the critical differences when it comes to how businesses are structured. A sole proprietorship (D/B/A) is simply an individual person operating under an assumed business name – legally it’s just an extension of the person. This is important because it means that even if the business is not still operating, the individual person is still responsible for the debts incurred under the business name. The same is not true of an LLC or other incorporated entity. That type of business is considered a completely separate entity – like a whole other ‘person’ – in which case, the officer(s) of the LLC or corporation would not be responsible for the debts incurred by the business.

Why is this important? It means that even though the business failed, I can still enforce the judgment against the owner, Jake Morris. And that’s exactly what I proceeded to do. But wait – it gets better!

I started with my usual due diligence, which is generally always the same. If you missed that in last week’s case study, you can read about it here: http://www.recoverycourse.com/blog/?p=94

While researching the debtor, Jake Morris, I learned that he’d set up shop again a couple of years ago, across town in a new location. Again I checked on the business status, and yes – another sole proprietorship. This was excellent news, because it meant that now I could not only proceed with the seizure of any assets owned by Jake Morris, but also his new tattoo parlor.

There are many ways I could have gone with this case. I could have spent time and resources finding property, bank account(s), and other personal assets belonging to Morris, but rather than waste valuable time and expense, I decided to go right for the jugular: the new business.

Surely having had to cope with a lingering bad rap from his last tattoo parlor, I anticipated the fastest way to make Morris pay would be to use some heavy-duty legal intimidation. I could have seized business equipment or bank accounts – because technically they all were Jake Morris’ property – but instead I went for the most sure-fire way to make him pay.

After having the court issue a writ of execution, I delivered my specific instructions to the County Sheriff’s levying officer. The County Sheriff’s office has a civil department that is dedicated specifically to acting on the instructions of judgment creditors to seize assets.

On Friday (which I assumed would be one of the tattoo parlor’s busier days), soon after opening, a Sheriff’s Deputy strolled through the door in full uniform. He served Morris with a copy of his official paperwork, notifying him that anything in his cash register was being taken to satisfy the judgment. Then the Deputy proceeded to take up station behind the register, and prepared to remain there for the next eight hours, intercepting any payments that customers would be making that day. This is referred to as a ‘Keeper.’

Although I wasn’t there to personally witness, I’m told by the deputy that Morris had a check in hand for the full amount of the judgment in less than five minutes. Have a nice day, sir.

Next week I’ll send the third installment of this series; a case study involving a company that sued another company, and the details that led to not only a great resolution, but an ongoing business relationship that’s still active today.

As usual, I welcome any comments or questions.

Warm Regards,

Christina

Christina Smiley
Sierra Judgment Recovery
SJR Strategic Research

Please note: I am not an attorney, nor do I aspire to be one. If you need legal advice, please consult qualified legal counsel.