If a judgement lien has been granted against me, canI deposit a check into a friend’s bank account without the risk of it being taken?

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If a judgement lien has been granted against me, canI deposit a check into a friend’s bank account without the risk of it being taken?

I have a lien against me and I just received a settlement check for $18,000. I want to deposit it in a friend’s account that is not connected to me in any way. I just want to make sure that since the check is payable to me that there is no risk of it being taken.

Asked on October 25, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Legally, it doesn't matter where you deposit and into who's account--yours, a friend's, a strangers, an enemy's, the President of the United States, whomever--as long as it's your money--that is, as long as you are person who has a right to it--a creditor can come after it for payment. As a practical matter, they may or may not become aware of it; but legally, they have a right to go after that money and you cannot defeat a creditor's interest just by putting it into another's account. Since what you propose is in essence committing a fraud on the creditor, your friend could find him/herself liable in some way.

Technically, even if you severed all interest in the money--gifted it to someone--if it looks like that gifting was again a fraud on the creditor, it *may* be possible for a creditor to reverse the transaction. And, of course, if you give the money to someone else so you truly no longer have a right to it, that person could then keep, so you have to ask if  your friend is more than $18,000 loyal to you.

This is generally a very bad idea.


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