Get Your Orange County Bank Levy Served Right
What can you do if you know where a judgment debtor banks, pay a Sheriff to levy their checking account, and you receive a notice from the bank that says “no funds” or “account closed”?
Orange County bank levies can be expensive, with the combined cost of locating the bank account and paying the court, the Sheriff and a process server.
Getting a “no funds” or “account closed” letter can be discouraging.
Typically, there are six reasons for this outcome, in order of probability:
- The judgment debtor is poor and/or closed their account
- The Sheriff, you or another person made a mistake or a typographical error that caused the levy to fail
- Either you or your source information was wrong and the judgment debtor never had a checking account at that bank or branch
- The debtor makes use of an AKA, or is only a signer on the account and has no ownership of the money
- The bank made a mistake
- The bank is lying or protecting the judgment debtor
The most typical reasons are the judgment debtor either never had an account, closed their account, is only a signer on the account, or uses an AKA name. When your judgment debtor is poor, bank levy outcomes will rarely cover the cash you invested.
At judgment debtor examinations, when you ask judgment debtors where they bank, they may lie about amounts and locations of accounts. Even when you know for sure where a judgment debtor banks, some judgment debtors alter savings accounts to avoid having their funds seized. There are state laws that protect private banking information, including those of judgment debtor’s.
So, there are really only a few techniques to help you complete your Orange County bank levy successfully. Many banks have records that are not current, especially with poor or creative judgment debtors. If the judgment debtor makes use of an AKA, you should obtain an affidavit of identification approved by the court, with evidence that connects the judgment debtor with the names they actively make use of.
When the judgement debtor owns a DBA business, to get an affidavit of identity authorized by the court, you will require a notarized copy of their fictitious name statement.
Occasionally, “no funds” implies the judgment debtor is just a signer on the savings account, indicating the judgment debtor is just connected to the account and has no ownership of the money that could potentially be levied. Some individuals open savings account for their children under The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act to keep funds out of the hands of creditors, due to the fact that they do not own the account.
If you are confident you know the right bank for the judgment debtor and how much cash was in the account at the time of the levy, you may subpoena and serve a judgment debtor for an examination at the court. A subpoenaed request for the production of papers is known in court as a Subpoena Duces Tecum. When served on banks, these forms should be worded to include any and all accounts connected with the judgment debtor. You can subpoena a request for the production of papers, from both the judgment debtor and their bank as a third-party. You should hire a Sheriff or registered process server to serve your documents securely and establish an official paper trail.
One objective can be to get both the bank and the judgment debtor in court at the same time to answer questions and produce papers to make it difficult for either party to lie. Ask for a year’s worth of records and luck may turn up evidence of an account that “did not exist”.
In California, if the debtor is an individual, you’ll need to first serve them a “notice to levy”. If the judgment debtor does not arrive in court, you could keep trying to recover the judgment on your own. If the bank does not show up, California law enables you to sue them in court.
If you can show the bank had funds in the name of the judgment debtor at the time your levy was served, you could begin by composing a letter to the bank, politely demanding the balance in the account on the levy date, up to the amount needed to satisfy the judgment. Include evidence the checking account existed, the Sheriff’s documents, and the bank’s memorandum of garnishee, that shows their previous declaration of “no accounts”.
Some banks pay after getting a request letter, while other banks will wait until they are sued. Many times, the bank or lending institution will settle a claim before ever going to trial.
If you need your Orange County bank levy served, give JPL Process Service a call at (866) 754-0520. We can get it done in days, not weeks or months, and have proof of service to you quick so you can get back to life.