Legal Question in Criminal Law in Rhode Island


First off, Thanks for your time. It's very much appreciated at this hour.

When I was very young, I was put into DCYF custody and from there became a ward of the state. Not soon after, I was taken in by a gentleman and his girlfriend, getting the nod from the state.

The gentlemans father had a very poor financial sense and gambled most of his money away. With a daughter in college to become a lawyer, a wife and a mother-in-law to support, it was not smart thinking.

The gentleman and his father would approach me a few years later while they were still looking after me in 1997 when I was 20. The father was due to lose his house and also he would have to pull his daughter out of school. Knowing I had a large sum of money tied up in a trust fund left to me by my grandmother, they asked if I would lend them $19,000 stating that I should after all they "had done for me" (they were being paid by the state of RI) and promised I would eventually be paid back.

The money in the trust fund could not be touched with the exception of a health or legal emergency. The two came up with a story that I had demolished a BWM vehicle. This vehicle sat in the fathers front yard unoperable for years. The trustee accepted this story and signed off on two promisary notes. One releasing the money from the trustee to me and another releasing the money from me to the son.

Tonight I rediscovered these promisary notes and was curious to see if there was any way at all to get this money back. There are no police or accident reports nor are there any damage estimates as the event never happened. There are in fact articles from the local newspaper that show the house the father owned was due to be sold off by the bank/state for nonpayment during this time.

Looking back almost 15 years later, I know what a stupid thing this was but I simply didnt know what else to do. I trusted these individuals a great deal and thought I'd be paid back. All ties were cut shortly after this happened.

I'm not sure if I have a case or if I have any right to approach the family members to regain these funds.

Any advice at all would certainly be appreciated.

Thanks once again for your time.


Asked on 5/18/11, 1:06 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Staff General Counsel LawyersCollaborative

While Rhode Island has a 10 year statute of limitation for actions brought under a contract - such as a promissory note - you may yet have a case, depending on the terms of the promissory notes (i.e. If the promissory notes were not due to be repaid until 10 years after the date of the notes themselves). Bottom line: let an experienced lawyer review the notes, and he or she will then be able to discuss your options.


For your information, LawyersCollaborative offers as a community service low cost telephone consultations, limited engagements, and low-bono and pro-bono services in appropriate cases.


Best wishes,

Scott Summer, Staff General Counsel


Cell 401-965-7771




Note: The above information does not constitute legal advice. Unless a written Collaborative Representation Agreement has been signed, neither LawyersCollaborative nor any of its Staff General Counsel is your legal representative.

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Answered on 5/18/11, 4:42 am

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