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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I have a problem with a lady in Belgium that owes me a great

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I have a problem with a lady in Belgium that owes me a great deal of money , and I’m not sure whether she is genuine or if I’m being taken for a mug
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I am in the U.K.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I don’t know what steps to take she has taken over €200,000 from me , my pension everything
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I have been in contact with her for over 2.5 yrs ... I’ve now hit a brick wall as she always assured me that I would be repaid but now I find out her Apartment is only valued at 70,000 euros , this was how she kept telling me that my money was safe

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years’ experience. Please be aware that although I will endeavour to reply to you promptly, I am also in full time private practice and so I may not be available to respond immediately and it may also take me a few minutes to prepare a reply. The site will notify you as soon as I respond. I look forward to working with you to answer your question fully.

I am very sorry to read of the above and I imagine what a difficult position it must be. I will certainly try to clarify your options.

are you able to kindly outline the basis upon which you have paid her these monies please - i.e. what you understood you were paying the money for?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
She came across me on an adult dating site back in December 2018 she is a Belgium citizen that was trying to recover a legacy from her late father that was held in a bank account in Mali ... now I know that all sounds like a scam , and I’ve asked that question myself many times .... but that money is apparently in Belgium now but is alledgedly blocked in a bank account ... I’ve had contact from different Agencies in Belgium where lots of money has been taken from me for various Taxes and fees to allow access to the funds , but now the icing on the cake is she has to establish I believe a form that details who gets what in the inheritance. Only this form is supposed to be set at 1.5% of the total inheritance , so she is being asked for €120,000 .... I’m not obviously aware of how Inheritance works in Europe and how it works if you say receive an inheritance from a country
Like Mali ... For now I need to entertain the possibility that she is genuine as she has taken everything from me even my pension .... I’m looking at financial ruin and it’s easy to just assign this person as being a scammer but I don’t know how to prove it

thank you. Essentially everything you describe above reads as an advance fee fraud - the request for a payment of money on the promise of some form of reward, in this case the inheritance.

I am not familiar with Mali's succession laws however, the laws in relation to succession on inheritances whilst they can vary around the world virtually universally follow one of two bases: 1) if there is tax to pay on the inheritance it is deducted from the inheritance itself and no money needs to be found to pay this or 2) if the tax needs to be paid up front (which is also the case in the UK) then a bridging loan can be obtained and secured against the inheritance itself. Therefore there is never a need to find money from one's own resources to pay such taxes as fraudsters claim.

My view on the above is that the police should be involved and a report of fraud made. I am not sure if you have met this person and know of her real identity. A report can be made in the UK to action fraud but it would be sensible to also involve the Belgium police in the circumstances you describe particularly as the British police does not have a very good solve rate on such crimes.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
The form I’m talking about is an ECS form European Succession Certificate , this is the one that is supposed to be set at a percentage of the inheritance .... but I can’t find any information on this as to charges
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
How do I get the Belgian police involved ? .. Yes apparently the inheritance tax can be deducted from the inheritance via the bank , these other charges have been about laundering the money through the Belgium system ... so I don’t know what’s to be believed
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I have never met this person , I’ve seen a couple of videos she made of herself not naughty ones , so I have a visual of what she looks like , but she has also sent me fake photos of herself which I’ve found her out on .... I’m so worried about all of this as it’s my whole life down the drain

This is an EU document which applies between most ( though not all) EU countries and so it is not obvious to me why this would be involved as between Belgium and Mali. In addition, there is no percentage fee to pay in relation to the certificate.

In relation to the Belgian police, I have no specific expertise in relation to Belgian law but the following link appears to be pertinent in this regard:

https://www.belgium.be/en/news/2016/contact_point_fraud_deception_misleading_practices_and_scams

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
She told me that this certificate was the final thing that was missing from her file and her money couldn’t be unlocked without establishing it , she told me that the other charges and I have emails from the tax department telling me how it was required to pay all these fees prior to the funds being unlocked .....

Until the next thing... Unfortunately the modus operandi will be one pretext after another for request for further monies until such time as you eventually refused. She appears to have been very effective in extracting monies from you for one reason or another over the years

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thanks for your help , I kept paying because I wanted my money back , if I stopped paying then I wouldn’t get repaid ... But I was also contacted by a Tax dept that convinced me that they were the final department and once the money was paid the money would be unlocked and then she would be free to repay me , same with a lawyer , same with a Justice department ... But this final amount has made me think and the fact that she has now admitted that her apartment wasn’t worth the amount to repay me ... That’s all set my alarm bells ringing again ..... I know I’m to blame but when you are in the situation all you think about is getting repaid

I am afraid such people to the extent they have a skill can be very adept at weaving stories and playing in human psyche. This has every hallmark of a scam I regret

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