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    Being sued for money that was given to me, no written agreement

    My boss gave me check for $2000, with no specific terms of repayment. In fact when he gave me the money I told him that I didn't want to take it because I didn't know when I could repay him. He told me that he wasn't worried about that, and that I could repay him in a few months or even a year or more, it didn't matter to him and he was not worried about it.

    He emphasized that he cared for me and wanted to help me take control of my financial situation. I was very distressed at the time and was crying during our meeting, I refused his check at least 2 times. He told me that I needed the money and not to be foolish and to take the check. He convinced me that he cared for me and wanted to help me. So I cashed it.

    I had just taken another job before we had this meeting. I decided that I needed a more steady source of income, since I was doing real estate at the time as an independent contractor, and I had no reliable income. He didn't want me to quit, so I agreed to work there still and do a 90 day plan, which consisted of me working 3 jobs, including the real estate job. He insisted that if I did his plan I would have $10,000 saved at the end of 3 months. So I agreed to take his advice and committed to doing the 90 day plan. Our talk consisted of him helping me make a budget and allocate where the little funds that I had would go. He helped me to make some decisions about how to pare down my expenses and make some money in real estate so I could save a little. After we talked about the plan, and I agreed, he pulls out the check. I did not sign anything or agree to any repayment terms, although it was implied that I would pay him back at some point. He never gave me any specific terms.

    Fast forward to 5 months later. I finally quit the real estate job with him because I was not making any money and I could no longer live with the uncertainty regarding my income. I had done his 90 day plan, and low and behold, I did not have $10,000 in the bank. When I quit, he told me that I had to pay him back the $2000 in one week or he was taking me to small claims court for the $2000 plus interest, plus any and all business expenses that he had incurred/payed out for my being part of his real estate team. He sent me several hostile text messages and had another team member go back and forth between us to try to work out a deal. I told him on several occasions via text that I wanted to talk to him in person or on the phone, not on email/text, but he either avoided me or just yelled at me when I got him on the phone.

    During one phone conversation, I had told him that I would pay him $50 a month for the next few months and then pay it off in full within the next 8 months. That was not good enough for him. He demanded that I pay him in full in one month in order to avoid any interest. When I explained that that was impossible, he proposed running my credit to come up with an interest rate based on my FICO score. I refused that as well, as I don't feel comfortable giving him that info nor do I think that interest is justified. Next he said he will accept the $50 a month at 15 percent interest. At this point I told him that I would not agree to anything while he is pressuring me to make a decision just to avoid him taking me to small claims court.



    So now he wants me to pay him $100 month for the next 4 months and then $200 a month until it equals the $2000. I simply don't have the money, if I did, I would just write him a check. I am not the kind of person that would just take money from a person without expecting to pay it back, however since we did not have a contract and he is harassing me via text and through my coworker as well as threatening to take me to court, I am less inclined to pay him. I am not refusing to pay him, but if he takes me to court I want to know what legal defense I should take. If he is going to attack me in court, then I am going to defend myself to the fullest. I feel that he is not just trying to recoup his money, he is trying to punish me and actually make money in the situation. It feels like extortion, usury and/or loan sharking to me. I have never communicated anything to him in writing or electronically, admitting that I owe him money or that he gave me a loan verses a gift.

    I have a few questions:
    1- Can the money he gave me be seen as a gift since there were no repayment options?
    2- Does a verbal contract hold any water in small claims court? What has to be proven?
    3- If I admit to the money being a loan in court, can he legally get interest from me?
    4- Since I agreed to take the money in a time of duress, does that have an impact on any so called verbal contract?

    Thanks,
    JD

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    1. No, not unless you plan to lie in court and say that he said it was a gift. When your boss presents how he helped you plan your finances, it would be hard to prove this was a gift and not an honest effort of someone to help you get your financial life straighened out.

    2. Yes, a verbal contract certainly holds water in a lawsuit

    3. Yes, although there are limitations on the amount of interest he can charge.

    4. No.

    Your boss was willing to work with you on the repayment while you were present and could be monitored. He is fearful that now you have taken another job you will begin to believe you do not have to pay him back. Which, honestly, from some of the things you've written here, it certainly appears as if you are looking at every angle to allow you to do just that.

    Gail

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    Thanks for your response Gail.

    However, I am/was not looking for every angle to allow myself to believe that I do not need to pay him back. I have every intention of paying him back, but I am not agreeing to pay him anything above and beyond what he gave me, and his bullying and harassing has been uncalled for. I never refused to pay him nor am I now, in fact, I sent him check 2 weeks ago for $50!! I just wanted to know how I could defend myself if necessary, seeing as he threatened to sue me for as much as he possibly could in small claims court, even though it is clear that I don't owe him that much. I was merely asking for legal advice not a moral judgement.

    At any rate, he finally agreed to speak with me today and it will be worked out without going to court.

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    You owe your boss $2000.00 its that simple. Yes verbal contracts (Parol contracts) are enforceable.

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