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  • Kenyan Marathon Runners run up $1200.94 Phone bill then run

    Kenyan Marathon Runners run up $1200.94 in Phone bill then run away.
    Good morning everyone.

    I thought I will throw this out there to get your advice and reaction. For the last so many years I have sponsored young Kenyan runners to come to the US and run long distance races including the marathons.

    As a former runner- I came here on a running scholarship. I am All American in Track and Field and cross country.
    I have decided to help young Kenyan runners with limited opportunities to compete abroad. I pay their airfare, put them up in my home, feed them
    for free and then send them to various races. The idea being if they work
    hard there is some serious money they can make. Look at Tergat for
    example. He is a millionaire.

    Last December I brought two runners: Wesley Ochoro and Lamech Mokono Mosoti. This is the second time they are back here. I told them that if they wanted to call home, I have calling cards or they can buy their own.

    However, last week Feb 24th, I came home to find them missing with no
    notice. I noticed the key they used to my house was left by the door. I thought this to be unusual.

    I also happened to get my phone bill which was $269.00, a bit higher than usual, then I decided to look at the detail of calls. That is when I found that they had made many calls all over the country including Kenya. Immediately I calle my local phone company - Cox Communications who told me to be ready for a $1200.00 bill coming my way.

    I do not know what to make of this. In two days, Feb 14th and 15th they
    had made over $500 of calls to Kenya.

    I do not know how to handle this:- Call the police, INS, Immigration or
    what?
    I finally traced them using the calls they made to New Mexico at a
    Scott Robinson's training Camp. He had secretly sent them an air ticket without contacting me. Scott knows me well. He claims that the runners told him that it was okay for them to go to his camp. As a manager he never bothered to check with me about the runners. I reached him at his home in Santa where he claims that it is nobig deal for runners to change camps. He saw no need to contact me.

    Rememember that I wrote the invitation letter they took to the US
    Embassy in Kenya to get their visas.

    Note:

    Since 911, there is a requirement from the Immigration that whoever sponsors Kenyan runners to the states is responsible for their where abouts and must report them if they leave. I have no choice but to report them to the Immigration.

    Any advice from you guys out there before I act irrational.

    Thank you,

    Harrison
    602 791-0073

  • #2
    Pretty simple answer - block any outgoing long distance calls from your landline when you have foreigners staying at your home. If you have personal need to make a LD call use your cellphone. I honestly don't know why anyone would have LD service on their home phone anyway.

    As for your CURRENT situation there is, I suspect, nothing you can do. Just consider it an expensive lesson learned.
    There are no strings on me

    Comment


    • #3
      It is a universally true cliche that "no good deed goes unpunished". If I were on the hook as these guys visa sponsor, I would first try to contact them or their new camp sponsor, If no resolution, report them to immigration..maybe it will get their attention.. if their new training camp has a vested interest in their future you may even get reimubrsed.

      Comment


      • #4
        I've heard of phone companies often refunding charges like this when kids did it without permission. Especially when 900 numbers were new. I would seriously look into the phone company dropping the charges.

        If the first person you speak to at the phone company won't help you, ask to speak to their manager or call back.

        As far as them taking off, I'd simply report them to Immigration and move on.

        Comment


        • #5
          One thing I would do - take them to small claims court. Chances are they won't show up, you'll win the judgement, then you can have a garnishment attached to any earnings(winnings) they have here in the US.
          There are no strings on me

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by guru
            One thing I would do - take them to small claims court. Chances are they won't show up, you'll win the judgement, then you can have a garnishment attached to any earnings(winnings) they have here in the US.
            Exactly HOW do you plan to effect a garnishment against someone with no known bank account or employer? There is no such thing as a cross jurisdictional universal garnishment decree that's good for all businesses and bank accounts everywhere, you know?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by malmo
              Originally posted by guru
              One thing I would do - take them to small claims court. Chances are they won't show up, you'll win the judgement, then you can have a garnishment attached to any earnings(winnings) they have here in the US.
              Exactly HOW do you plan to effect a garnishment against someone with no known bank account or employer? There is no such thing as a cross jurisdictional universal garnishment decree that's good for all businesses and bank accounts everywhere, you know?
              The garnishment would be through the employer, in this case the race handing out the prize money. The money would go straight to the plaintiff. As long as it's in the US it's enforceable.
              There are no strings on me

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by guru
                The garnishment would be through the employer, in this case the race handing out the prize money. The money would go straight to the plaintiff. As long as it's in the US it's enforceable.
                How would you go about identifying who the "employer" is? Please explain? You would have to file in many different jurisdictions, each one costing you money.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by malmo
                  Originally posted by guru
                  The garnishment would be through the employer, in this case the race handing out the prize money. The money would go straight to the plaintiff. As long as it's in the US it's enforceable.
                  How would you go about identifying who the "employer" is? Please explain? You would have to file in many different jurisdictions, each one costing you money.
                  Probably not. A small claims judgement is generally good for between 5-10 years, and is renewable. If not paid off in a timely manner it also collects interest as allowable by law. Assuming his guys do develop as he mentioned, all he has to do is wait for for ONE race where the winnings are large enough to cover the whole debt, then file before the checks are issued(most big races wait for drug tests to clear before issuing winnings). As with most small claims collections it might take some legwork and patience by harrisonrun.
                  There are no strings on me

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    guru, you're out of your depth here. First of all you need to get a judgment. It's doubtful anyone would even be able to serve papers on the guy, much less get him to court. Once a judgment is received, you would have to serve a valid garnishment writ on a potential source of income the day the runner earns prize money. Check list: 1) serve and receive judgment against runner. 2) serve garnishment on financial institution or employer or other entity where the runner makes money in the same State as the judgment. Garnishments are not continual unless specified in the writ. They're good the day the writ is served, unless the debtor is a regular employee, the writ can be continually in force through subsequent pay days until satisfied.

                    I've done this dozens of times, and have some great stories how i was able to get judgments, etc... There's a lot more involved in the process than what you understand of it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Fair enough, and maybe garnishment wasn't exactly what I was looking for. But I would assume any income would actionable if they had a civil judgement against them, and I don't believe they actually have to be in court for the small claims case to go forward(default judgement).
                      There are no strings on me

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To remove your accountability with Cox Communications, you:ll need to file a polis report which implictly states calls were made from your land line without the account-holder:s knowledge or consent. Cox may (not) dismiss all the calls in question, and may only hold you liable for a percentage of the costs billed to the account. You will need to demonstrate that the same house rule was in effect both times the Kenyans were invited to stay with you, and that you were specific on both occasions about the phone use. You will also be required to provide phone records from their first stay to ensure that there were no phone calls recorded without your prior consent/knowledge.

                        What the polis do with the information collected is purely up to them. The Kenyans, having moved from one jurisdiction to another, are not going to be pursued by the FBI; local polis in Scott Robinson:s city/community/district won:t be on the look out for them, either despite a felony-level offence.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Send hammy's henchmen after 'em. Where is hammy, anyway?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Alas, the truth comes out, and one learns the reason he:s called bad hammy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Of course, the thing that happened is that all hell broke loose in Kenya and these guys felt the need to be in contact. Keep in mind how big a thing this was. One contribution to the scale of the problem is probably that the account you have does not have inexpensive options for calls to Kenya. My account with Charter provides free long distance within the US (and Canada, since it is the northern province of Wisconsin, or at least that is what they say about the UW hockey team) and relatively cheap calls overseas (5cents/minute to UK/Europe.

                              Comment

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