In the Red

I don’t know when my bank account was last in the red….back in my twenties I think!  So, it’s no food shopping next week and hopefully I can contain matters until this weeks’ money goes in.  Don’t think my stomach dropped that much since the time we logged into our account and discovered it had been suspended.

Whilst husband may be inside, I still have to service one final investment that remains in his name.   It’s complicated but apparently we will not benefit when this gets sold, but we have to furnish the loan – so that’s what the small sum of pension that husband has remaining is going on….. just thought I’d let you know in case you thought he’d stashed stuff away and I was only play acting the  grieving prison widow.

Well, you know what they they – crime doesn’t pay.  And I’m living testimony to that fact.

Facts and figures omitted, feelings not.

I feel shitty.  I spent 10mins this morning sitting on the stairs sobbing my heart out.  Not only do I have a husband in prison, but now I’ve been sacked.  I’ll not go into the sacking in any detail because I wish to appeal what I feel is a grossly unfair decision.

What else is making me tear my hair out – Legal Aid.  Good old Legal Aid.  I have been advised, by Legal Services Commission that now that my husband has been sentenced, they will no longer consider appealing any decision about the amount he has to contribute.  They seem to be sticking to the £8,000.00 figure and I have nothing to tell me how they have come to this amount.  Would you pay £8,000.00 without any details on how this figure originated?  Take you car to the garage, and they say, through clenched teeth “that’ll be £1,980.00”.  What would you do – write out a cheque there and then saying “thank you my good man, I’m sure you’ll do an excellent and worthwhile job.”  Like billy bonkers you would, you’d say “How much!!!!  What are you going to do for that amount”.  Ah ha, a breakdown of costs is it that you are requiring.

Well, not with legal aid.  What happens is that you tell them all you details, how much money you (don’t) have and your bills you have to pay, then they stick their finger in the air and arrive at an arbitrary figure.  Or so it seems.

And another thing.  What about the fact that I’m supposed to be paying this seeing as THE FREEZING ORDER IS STILL IN PLACE.  Yep, maybe this is just what I needed, a bit of vitriol.  Still don’t have access to the now negative balanced bank account, Barclays still have not sorted out with “other side’s” lawyers on the sum of £2,500 owing.  And I’ve just received notification of the bill racking up with husband’s ex-Institute……..

For the record, I am as depressed as I was this time last year.  Not as depressed as I was in October 2010 when I did want to end my life, but well back on the way.  I just hope that there is a light, just a little flicker, at the end of this incredibly long, black, dark, stinking tunnel.

History of Events, part 3

So, what’s it like to discover your assets are frozen – apart from cold.  It’s a horrible feeling.  It takes your breath away.  You are speechless.  Your mind is in turmoil – How could this happen?  How can they do this?

How did it happen…. sneakily! We were due to attend an employment tribunal/meeting and at the last moment it was cancelled.  The following morning we were on line attempting to cancel any unnecessary direct debits and to see how long we could survive with no income, and that’s how we found our account had been “suspended”.  We called the bank and were told to go into a branch for an explanation.  We went to our local branch and they had no explanation and told us to go home and await a call (we were like a couple of zombies at this point).  About an hour after returning home, a rather jubilant looking female solicitor arrived at the door with a male colleague, asking whether she could come in (I denied her this privilege), telling us she had come to serve us an order to attend the Royal Courts of Justices.  She advised us we had 24 hours in which to deliver certain information regarding accounts and when I explained this was not possible without internet access (which had been removed by husband’s company) she explained I could go to an internet cafe…..  How kind and thoughtful.

Shock is a wonderful thing.  Sometimes it just protects you from doing what you really should not do – like punching a solicitor full in the face.

We got out the yellow page to try to find a solicitor and that’s when we discovered how impossible it is (a) without money and (b) without legal aid.  Several times I was asked by solicitors whether or not we had a “wealthy benefactor” who would be able to meet our costs (we don’t by the way).  And several times I was told how difficult if not impossible it was to get legal aid to fight a civil case.  You see, you’ve stayed on the right side of the law, you are not aware of “civil” cases versus “legal” cases.  We asked a couple of solicitors if it would make any difference to go to a police station and for my husband to hand himself in.  Would we then gain Legal Aid….. we were advised by the solicitors we asked, not to pursue this course of action (and in hindsight, I still do not know why considering what we did not know then, that the “other side’s” fraud investigation company have a “duty” to advise the police if they know of any fraudulent activity going on).

So there we were, in the lounge, with files the sizes of bricks hastily cobbled together by “the other side” accusing husband or goodness knows what – half of it untrue, the only true bits was what I had said in my phone call.  The solicitors had even tried to get our passports taken away, claiming we were a flight risk….. erm, where the hell were we going to go?  But maybe to a thrusting law firm this is standard practise, maybe you just chuck all the mud you can find cause as sure as eggs is eggs, something is going to stick.

Under the court order, we were allowed a “living allowance” but trying to get money out of the bank with suspended cards was impossible.  I had a total of £75.00 in my personal account, an account I’d had since starting work many years ago and used just by me when I didn’t have access to our joint account (little tip for you ladies out there – keep a sum of money in an account in your name just in case…. you never, ever know when you might need it).

And then Vodaphone satellites went down.  We actually had to go to a friend’s house to send our legal documents through.  Luckily these were good and true friends, ones that hadn’t deserted us (and to this day stick with us through thick and thin).  Lesson number whatever (?) You certainly do know who your friends are in a crisis!

And I think for today I’ll finish there – and finish by saying thank you to those friends – and they know who they are – for seeing us, me, through this nightmare.  They were there for me at all times and understood, questioned, offered assistance – even put a roof over our head at one point.  They are friends that I could never do enough for and will never be able to repay their kindness.

What’s happened now….?

So, it has taken me this long to get over my last posting.  It’s not at all cathartic to look back and remind yourself what happened then.  It’s gut churning, sick making, really, really unpleasant.  I had a dream the other night that I’d actually murdered someone – don’t know who – but when I woke I was in a panic, thinking “oh no, the police are going to be after me, when is this going to end”.  Then I realised, as you do as you start to awake, that it wasn’t me they were after, it was my husband.  And then I understood what he must feel like every morning.

If there’s one and only one think I’d like my blog to do, that is to warn anyone, and I mean ANYONE, who deceives, crosses the line, does something they know not to be legal, then stop.  Don’t do it.  It marks you forever and the effects will hammer through your family in ways you cannot, at the time you do an illegal action, imagine.   We are 14 months down the line and we are still living in limbo.  Still without a bank account.  Still no trial date.

Legal Aid – nope, nothing yet.  They wanted clarification on the amount of interest my savings had earned.  Yes, that’s the £5,000 I’ve managed to save since all this kicked off, and no, that won’t pay for a lawyer.  I can only apologise now to the tax payer that you may find yourself funding this action.  It grieves me, it grieves my husband.  But it has to happen.  If the “other side” were being honest (and yes, I know, why should we expect honesty from someone to whom “he” has been dishonest to) then no solicitor to act for husband would be required.  But I am afraid when it comes to it, a lot of other garbage is being thrown in with the truth.

So….. no legal aid.  Sum of money taken from our account is still outstanding.  But at least the weather was nice over Easter.

History of events, part 2

OK, so let’s have another go at what happened next without naming names, dates and any other facts!  To do this, I have to refer back to the emails I sent at the time and I have to say this is a dreadful and depressing thing for me to do.  Is it cathartic?  No.

My emails tell me that at the time I was in a state of denial.  I couldn’t take anything in.  Immediately husband spiralled into a suicidal state of depression.  I was in communication with his company, in hindsight stupidly, telling them what was going on at home.  I thought we were talking about a much, much smaller amount of money.  I thought they’d ask us to pay it back, sack husband and that would be the end of it.  Husband wasn’t sleeping and it was unnerving to wake and find him not there – any worrying too.  I was terrified he’d go off and do something stupid and took to hiding the pain killers and knives.  Because our internet was provided by the office, we were asked not to use it.  I dutifully obliged and resorted to using a VODAFONE DONGLE – useless (for this I will name a name!)

We visited our GP and she prescribed sleeping pills as husband hadn’t slept since the event, she warned they were addictive and would only give him a weeks’ worth – finally he got a couple of hours sleep.   With the prospect of no income in sight, we went on-line and cancelled a lot of what had suddenly become unnecessary direct debits – pet insurance, music subscription, insurances – anything we thought we could do without.  Including the maintenance husband still paid to his ex-wife (even though the children were in their 20’s!).   We eventually went to the Samaritans after I found he gone looking for his sleeping pills (I had hidden them).

After a few days Husband was asked to return stuff to the office and to attend a meeting.  He couldn’t even drive, so I had to go with him.  Details of our bank were requested and I kindly provided that…….   The meeting was brutal.  Husband was in a state of shock, I admitted his guilt for him.  Forensic Accountants led the meeting.  They told me to find a solicitor – what for thought I……

Then, just a week after the start of this, we discovered, quite by accident when attempting to log onto our bank account, that this had been suspended.  They had applied, and gained, an asset freezing order.

Now I really do feel ill again and am stopping.

Waiting, hoping, waiting for news

I’m a bit concerned.  Husband’s application for legal aid submitted via our solicitor was returned because of insufficient evidence. Hmm.  I am concerned that the form was not checked adequately before it was submitted.  I am concerned that for some reason he might not get the legal aid.  Just as I think we are so close to having someone to help steer us through the legal mire, that we’ve previously navigated on our own, that hope is beginning to fade.  I have been told I am panicking – based on our joint incomes and savings (hahah what savings) we must be eligible.  But the wait is agony.

Husband’s qualifications body is itching to crack on with the case and pass judgement before the court case.  Again, forms have been handed to his solicitors – but have they been dealt with?  Who knows.

And as a final insult, we received a letter from our bank.  Now this is a good one.  This is our joint account.  It was frozen along with all our assets when “all the evil” kicked off.  It remains frozen.  It had money in it.  It is now overdrawn by a couple of thousand pounds.  We have not received any bank statements since the freezing (this is what happens to you when stuff gets frozen).  We have had no control over our account, direct debits were suspended and we had to cope with sorting out alternative ways of paying utility bills, insurances etc from my personal account that until we signed on had about £34.00 in it.  So how, I hear you ask, can we have run up a debt of a couple of thousand pounds?  And where has our money gone?   Of course, we have called the bank and have been advised that their “legal department” will get back to us.  That was last week.  Have they returned the call?  Now what do you think?

My offer to take over a business has been rejected, well, not rejected, but I have been asked to relook at how much I can afford and come up with a revised (upwards) figure.  I can increase my offer….. but I need to get a loan.  Ha ha ha.  I am not on the books yet, so will need to give the bank three years worth of self employed accounts.  I’m still laughing.  I’ve only been employed since last year.  Husband advises that all is not lost and not to give up at the first hurdle.  I both want and need this business to give us both some kind of life after all this crap has passed.

Do I sound down in the dumps today?  Well, I am!  But in the words of Scarlett O’Hara….. “tomorrow is another day”.