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By Law Office of Bryan M. Grundon of Law Office of Bryan M. Grundon on Thursday, May 22, 2014.

Inspector Lawyer: The Detective Aspect of Collecting

One woman made a break for it and took out her garbage. Another debtor attempted to pull out of his garage. And one man was attending a social event, chatting with friends and sipping drinks.

All of these individuals unsuccessfully avoided the process server and were eventually personally served with an order to appear for a judgment debtor’s exam, a slam-dunk for anyone attempting to collect on a judgment.

When you have obtained a judgment you can seek an order for the judgment debtor to appear in court and answer questions about their assets. Forcing judgment debtors to appear in court and reveal where they work and bank, where their spouse works and banks, and what property they own is one of the many ways to collect on a judgment.  

Unlike regular service of process, debtor’s exams must be personally served, which can make them a bit of a challenge. Yet, knocking down that barrier is possible if you employ a variety of detective-esque tactics.

Finding a current address is the most obvious first step. Simply looking through the white pages or Googling a name doesn’t always reveal an accurate address, particularly with seasoned debtors who are adept at hiding their whereabouts.

Donning our detective caps, we use a specialty database that pulls from recent utility records, work information, real property holdings, criminal records and a variety of other information to sniff out a current address. If this background check fails to lead to any viable addresses, we’ll continue snooping around by running an address skip.

Once an address for that sneaky debtor is discovered we’ll send it out with a process server. For some, the prospect of a debtor’s exam is the last straw, they cede defeat and pick up the phone, offering to settle.

Yet, there are still many debtors who would rather slink out of their homes in the dead of night than spend a day in court detailing their finances. And they will do all in their power to avoid service. That doesn’t mean we call it a day. Setting up stake-outs, wherein the process server waits outside the debtor’s home, often results in successful service. After all, that garbage will eventually get stinky.

Contact Bryan Grundon today to see how he can help you track down that sneaky debtor.