Going After Uncollected Judgment Money! (Side Hustle Idea #85)

Good morning!

Found an intriguing note in my inbox this week and thought you’d enjoy it ;)

People are getting more and more creative with how they earn $$$ on the side!! File this one next to suing robocallers for cash and uncovering hidden money as a forensic accountant

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Hi J Money,

I came across your blog post recently, and saw you describing how you won a lawsuit against your former employer, only to have them conveniently disappear. (Readers from 2011 will remember this! Where I got laid off but never received my last paycheck!)

Sadly this is all too common – in fact, only about 20% of money judgments in the US ever get even partially collected on. Talk about ridiculous! I’m wondering if you might like to explore the possibility of actually collecting on that judgment?

Depending on your jurisdiction, it may be that the judgment is still enforceable. Many states stipulate that judgments expire after 10 years, but that’s not always true. If your judgment is still active (or even if you think it might be) I’d love to arrange a time for us to connect if you’re open to it.

As far as who I am/why I’m interested – I am a private investor looking to add several uncollected judgments such as yours to my portfolio.

To be clear, I am NOT an attorney, but I do have quite a bit of knowledge in this area. While I cannot provide legal counsel, what I can do is purchase and take assignment of judgments from those who have won them, and then proceed to pursue the debtor myself. So please let me know if you’d like to discuss this further, and I’ll be glad to give you more details at that point.

Kind Regards,

Mr. Investor

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Fascinating right?! This guy is willing to do the dirty work for you so you can recover your long lost money!! Which is incredibly helpful as most people (like me) don’t know jack on how you’d go about chasing it down, or whether it’s even worth the time spent to spend on it or not…

Of course, you’d have to trust a guy enough to let him assume “ownership” of your judgment and act on your behalf, but if you can get past that it sounds like a helluva deal. Especially if you’re currently getting $0.00 of what you’re owed!

I told him thanks but no thanks in my particular case since I really don’t feel like opening up that can of worms again and plus the company has long been dissolved by now, but it did hit my curious spot so I wrote back:

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Hey dude! Bringing me back a few years here! Haha…

It’s probably not worth it to be honest as if I recall it was only a few thousand dollars which is less important to me today than it was back then, and unfortunately I don’t really keep in touch w/ the rest of the gang where we could all do a group thing or something to make it more worthwhile…

But I do appreciate the reach out and love the hustle! Do you do this stuff on the side or is it your main gig?

Reminds me of the latest installment of our Side Hustle Series: “I’ve Made $40,000 going after illegal robocallers.” (Side Hustle #84)

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His response:

Totally understand, and thanks for getting back to me!

Just so you know, there’d be no out-of-pocket cost to you and very little effort required on your part if you wanted to pursue this further – basically what I’d do is take ownership* (officially called an “assignment”) of the judgment from the original creditor (you), which then enables me to pursue the debtor myself (I can’t represent you since I’m not a debt collector or attorney, so I have to essentially step into your place in order to do what I do).

Then, I would split whatever I’m able to collect with you after accounting for any expenses I incur in the process.

All I would ask is that you’re able to answer occasional questions to fill in any informational gaps I encounter. I would do all the legwork of enforcement such as post-judgment discovery subpoenas, levying bank accounts, asset seizure, placing of real estate liens, and so forth. There are even methods of pursuing debtors who have offshored their assets, though that likely wouldn’t apply in your case.

This is just a side gig for me at the moment, my primary expertise is in IT. I sort of fell into learning about judgment enforcement after suing a gym I used to belong to as a self-represented litigant after they refused to cancel my membership and stop billing me when they shut down for Covid. I had followed their instructions exactly, and they still refused to stop harassing me, even going as far as sending me to collections.

As a matter of fact, it’s funny you mentioned robocall lawsuits, because the TCPA was actually one of the statutes I used to go after them since they were using an auto dialer to pester me about paying for the membership I had canceled months previously.

In the end, I wound up withdrawing the lawsuit after they agreed to stop pursuing me and not muck up my credit score which was all I really wanted to begin with. So even though I didn’t end up winning a final judgment, I did a LOT of research and learning as the case progressed, which, among other things, led me to become pretty darn knowledgeable about how to enforce judgments.

As you and so many others have found out, it’s super common to have a debtor refuse to pay even after the judge bangs the gavel so to speak. I hadn’t done much with the knowledge I gained for a year and a half or so, but earlier this year shortly before my son was born, I decided to see if I could put my knowledge to use helping people like you who went through all the trouble of seeing their cases through to the end, only to be denied being paid a single cent of what they’re rightfully owed.

I do try to be somewhat targeted with the judgments I purchase though – usually I’m looking for debtors that are businesses, and there are some states with stricter regulations that I steer clear of as well.

Mr Investor

*The assignment of judgment to the enforcer is standard practice in most cases. If nothing else, just remember that I as the enforcer have every incentive to collect as much as they can from the debtor – if you don’t get paid, I don’t get paid! The only ways to have someone else collect on your judgment and avoid assignment are to either hire an attorney or work with a collections agency, and it’s rare that either of these options work in the creditor’s favor – attorneys of course will require substantial upfront and ongoing fees, and collections agencies will almost always just call people incessantly. Most attorneys receive almost no training in law school surrounding the enforcement of judgments, they are trained to litigate and bring a favorable resolution for their client but anything after that point is almost always up to the client to figure out for themselves.

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Gotta love the hustle!

Sucks he had to go through all that nonsense, but now he’s armed and dangerous with all that knowledge – watch out future debtors!! Lol…

Or maybe even watch out past debtors of yours?? I asked him if it was cool to share our communication here and if he was open to hearing other cases that readers may be involved with, and he wrote back saying, “HELL NO – Are you an idiot! Don’t ever share this publicly, you turd!!!” J/K, haha…

He said sure – he’d be happy to help ;)

He has to be picky on which cases he takes on as he alluded to, but if you’ve got one you think could use some power behind to recover money legally owed to you, drop me a note and I’ll forward it along to him.

He also passed me this if you’re interested in digging deeper yourself:

“If anyone is considering going after a debtor on their own, or just wants to go a bit further down the rabbit hole and learn a bit more about some of the specifics involved in doing this, I highly recommend any content by Joe Dickerson of Financial Forensics LLC.

Here is one of my favorite videos featuring him: Debt Collection: How To Locate Bank Accounts & Other Assets To Enforce Judgments. There are a few other videos of him I’ve found on YouTube, and he also did a limited podcast series a while back called “The Judgment Enforcement Hour” which was fantastic.  I found it on Apple Podcasts but I’m sure it’s available on other platforms too.”

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Hope this helps!!

In getting back some of your own money, or going down a new side gig path… It’s clearly not for everyone, but sounds pretty lucrative for all those bulldogs out there!

Any questions at all, just leave them in the comments and our Investor Friend here will be happy to answer them…

To check out our list of 80+ other ways to make money on the side, check out our Side Hustle Series. Always some way to earn more depending on your time, skills, personality! You can even make stuff up out of thin air like this guy! :)

Yours in The Hustle,

j. money signature

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4 Comments

  1. Financial Fives August 25, 2022 at 4:27 PM

    This is super interesting! I had always heard that once you win a judgment, such as in small claims court, the court gives you the right to garnish their wages or seize money from their bank accounts if they don’t pay. But you have to know where they bank, and I assume garnishing wages opens a whole can of worms.

    It sure would be nice when you do win, they have to pay the court before they are allowed to leave, and then the court disburses the money to you.

    Reply
    1. J. Money August 25, 2022 at 5:50 PM

      Yup yup… And it’s SUPER easy to move banks too once/if someone does finally find out where the business keeps their cash! Especially since it takes forever to get the legal paperwork done to even pull out the money when you find where it is…

      If I recall correctly in my case, I believe our company had already gone bankrupt or was on the verge of it when the case was finally settled, so even if we did track it down there probably wasn’t much left over to even pay us with… Which sucks, but turns out I was one of the lucky ones losing only a paycheck.. Some of my colleagues ended up losing *months* worth when all was said and done 🙃

      Reply
  2. Jim August 25, 2022 at 10:04 PM

    This is really interesting J, I would have thought you’d have to be an attorney to do this. This guy is certainly a hustler, gotta love that!

    Reply
    1. J. Money August 26, 2022 at 4:16 PM

      Yeah, I assumed the same! Makes you wonder what other things you can get into without needing fancy degrees ;)

      Reply

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