Someone is threatening to put chages on me for a laptop that was a gift

I was gifted an expensive laptop as a birthday present. We broke up and I am still using the laptop for school work. Recently I’ve been getting phone calls of him threatening me that he’s going to put charges on me for the laptop he let me ‘borrowed’. I am a resident from a state away from where he lives. I still want to keep the laptop for school work and perhaps sell it to save a bit of money for school. Do you have any suggestions on what I should do?

Asked on March 21, 2016 under Personal Injury, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Legally, if he gave or gifted it to you, it is yours--he can't get back it back or file charges for you keeping your own property.
Practically--can you prove he gave it to you? Do you have a gift receipt; an email; a card saying "enjoy the laptop!"; text messages; etc.? If you don't have proof and he is willing to lie, he can look to press charges and/or sue you for the return of the laptop. At that point, it will come down to who is more believable or credible--you'll have an advantage procedurally, in that the defendant does not need to prove his/her case, but rather the state (criminal) or plaintiff (civil) has the burden of proof. But if he would make a particularly believable witness, or can get other people to also testify for him, you could have problems. 
You need to ask yourself, is he likely to follow through and lie? Who is more believeable? What proof do I have that it was a gift? Etc. It may not be worth fighting about.


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