If someone is contacted by the United States government after they, or a loved one, has been convicted of a crime, and becomes informed that the government wants to start to take either wages or items of property from that person, pursuant to a restitution order, a lawyer can make a great deal of difference. In those circumstances, it is important to have somebody who knows how to speak the language of prosecutors, to try renegotiate a payment plan that’s affordable.
When I receive clients in this circumstance, and I receive a lot of them, they’re often in a panic, just like anybody else who has a collector after them, is in a panic. They’re even more anxious because they’ve been convicted of a crime and they know that they really don’t have the same capacity to fight the underlying basis, like someone who’s not been convicted. They’re feeling like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve already been convicted, I don’t have any bullets, they’re going to take my house, what do I do?”
There are certain limits under law as to how much restitution the government can collect. There’s also a certain amount of energy they have to go through to collect it. A savvy attorney will try to take those items of leverage, and use a negotiation posture to come up with a repayment plan that can make sense. Often times, those repayment plans are at a rate that will never repay the underlying obligation.
For example, if somebody has a million dollar judgement because of their Medicaid fraud case. If their wages or their circumstances can make a justifiable argument that only $400 or $500 dollars a month in repayment is what they can afford, well then you can often times convince a prosecutor to live with that, provided they’re assured that’s an accurate explanation or description of the assets of the client. Basically you could come up with a plan that’s never going to repay the million dollars, and give assurance and security to the client.
To learn more about federal restitution resolution, click here.
Also published on Medium.