Typically, when a person is convicted of any type of crime, the Judge orders the convicted criminal to pay the victim (or victims) restitution, or compensation, in the form of a set monetary amount. This restitution is awarded to the victim in an effort to make that victim whole for the crimes that were committed against him or her. Insurance companies that pay out on losses caused by a criminal act are also considered victims and are also awarded restitution. Very often, a criminal who is ordered by the Judge to pay restitution to the victim fails to do so.
One of our firm's specialties is in helping victims of crimes collect these unpaid restitution awards from the criminals who did them wrong.
Under Michigan's Crime Victim's Rights Act, victims of crimes, including insurance companies, are given special legal rights that help them collect money from the person who committed a crime against them. Once a Judge orders a criminal to pay restitution to a victim, either as part of the criminal's punishment or probation, the victim has under Michigan's Crime Victim's Rights Act the ability to enforce that restitution award in the same way he or she would enforce a civil judgment or lien against the criminal's property. The victim actually becomes a creditor of the criminal and has a legal interest in the criminal's money and property.
The specific Michigan law that gives a victim those creditor rights under the Crime Victim's Rights Act is detailed in Michigan Compiled Law 780.766 (13):
MCL 780.766 (13):
An order of restitution entered under this section remains effective until it is satisfied in full. An order of restitution is a judgment and lien against all property of the defendant for the amount specified in the order of restitution. The lien may be recorded as provided by law. An order of restitution may be enforced by the prosecuting attorney, a victim, a victim's estate, or any other person or entity named in the order to receive the restitution in the same manner as a judgment in a civil action or a lien.
Because a restitution award gives a victim the same rights as if he or she had a civil judgment or lien against the criminal, and because the victim actually becomes a creditor of the criminal, a victim can conduct a "Creditor's Examination" of the criminal. During a Creditor's Examination, a series of questions and answers are made under oath detailing the criminal's income, finances, and any valuable property he or she may have. Once the criminal's income and property are determined, the victim/creditor may garnish the criminal's wages and/or force a sale of property to help pay the restitution. It is also possible to enter into a payment plan with the criminal to get hold of the restitution owed.
Our firm has extensive knowledge in helping crime victims, including insurance companies, recover restitution awards owed to them by criminals. Furthermore, because our firm has great trial and interrogation skills, we are quite able to assist victims in obtaining money for any unpaid restitution awards owed to them.