What to do if my boss borrowed money from me to make payroll and pay for payroll taxes last year then fired me?

I worked for a local physician who split from the larger group she was with 1 1/2 years ago. We had many business and financial issues to deal with and didn’t see any money coming into the business for months. One payday we didn’t have enough money to make payroll so I loaned her $5,000 and then approximately a month later she didn’t have enough money to pay her payroll taxes so I loaned her another $10,000. She fired me about a year ago and refused to pay me back. She ignores my e mails. I have copies of cancelled checks. Now what?

Asked on October 8, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois


Mike Harvath / Harvath Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

     Hi.  I am an Illinois and Missouri-licensed attorney that handles work throughout eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois.  Our office does handle collection matters, and we represent creditors who are seeking to recoup money due and owed to them.

     One question that is highly relevant here is whether there is any signed contract or agreement, even an informal document, indicating that you are lending money with the expectation of being paid back.  Although such a written document would be substantially helpful in establishing that a breach of contract has occurred, it is not an absolute requirement.  Oral contracts are enforceable as well, though require a bit more work to be proven in the legal context.  Copies of checks are helpful, and any evidence that would tend to show that you relied on the debtor re-paying you is very important.

     Communication from an attorney, including, but not limited to, letters, and/or phone calls may provoke a response from the debtor and, if not, the threat of a collection lawsuit may draw a response.  In the event that the debtor does not respond, suit may be filed.  Due to the amount that is owed to you, small claims court would not be the best venue for pursuing this, as the amount that can be recovered in small claims court is limited, typically to around $3,000.  More detail is needed, however, to determine the likelihood of recovering your money, and the appropriate process to invoke to go forward with this.

     For convenience, I can be reached via e-mail at mth2000@yahoo.com.  Website-www.harvathmissouriillinoislawyers.com.

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