Charging son with fraud...long

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Boxer Booster
Hi all, I need a few objective opinions. Back in 1999 my step son came to live with us because his mother could no longer handle him. He was up on charges of B&E. Unknown to my husband and I, my step son took our credit card and took out a subscription to an adult website. He then took another card and took out another subscription. We did not actually find out about this because until about a year later as we do pretty much all out banking on the web and there are a number of monthly payments from the internet that are automatically charged to our cards. These companies use inconspicous names like Interco & Interproducts Corp. (not real names) - they never show up as XXXX-Girls, Girls, Girls! Anyways, we confronted him and of course he denied it but we let it ride, got Netnanny and locked up our cards. Total charges on our cards for these sites was $800.00. Since then my step son has moved back to his mothers and also been in jail twice (once for stealing a guitar and a car).
Well, yesterday I noticed a charge on our card that I thought was internet charges but was not. You guessed it - another subscription to another site taken out June of 1999! I don't know how we missed it. Should we contact police and file fraud charges?
In the last month this kid has also given my name and address to some gang members he met in detention and told them I was looking for a man to put it nicely and to get in touch with me - which they did and now my husband is so nervous he is getting an alarm system put in.
I just don't know what to do - this kid is making me nuts and extremely stressed out. My husband has not spoken to him for 5 months as my stepson refuses to talk to him. His mother wont do anything.
What would you do?


Boxer Insane
Tough love is the only way in my opinion..first I would contact the sites and have them delete the charges because you didn't authorize them. Or contact your credit card company and see if you have fraud protection (alot of gold cards and platinum cards automatically offer that feature) so you do not have to pay these. And secondly in order to teach him a lesson he really needs to learn, unfortunantly I would say press charges. By not doing so you are condoning his actions so to speak. It is tough when you are dealing with family members but he needs some help and by letting it slide he won't be getting it. Good luck and I am sorry you are having to deal with this.


Boxer Booster
I totally agree with Aimee. All her suggestions are 100% correct. He hasn't learned right from wrong, he's been allowed to slide. It will only continue, if you let it go. Better he should learn the lessons as soon as possible for a chance at a decent life. Ignoring the situation, helps no one, him least of all.

Maybe you can get investigate further training of your Boxer. Mine have all been protective, but never specifically trained. There are 2 facilities in my area that go beyond obedience training, into protection training. I don't know the official title of the training.

Keep us posted. I am now dealing with B&E by someone with whom I was marginally acquainted. The occurance was last June, the current and first court date is 5/1. I expect delays, but hope it goes quickly and he's convicted. He's in his mid-30s and near as I can tell from the rumors I've heard, he's been enabled by family and girlfriends, doesn't work and spends their hardearned money on alcohol.

Betty's mom

Yeah, tough love is the way. But you also need to change your phone number and get it unlisted, cancel those credit cards and get new ones. You need to protect yourself and your family. Your step son has some major issues - emotional and mental. He probably needs help in those areas. I'm sure you and your husband has talked to the mother? Why isn't she doing anything? How old is he? Still a minor?

I'm a firm believer in counseling. Thsi kid really needs it. Maybe family counseling as well?

I hope all goes well for you. We'll keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers!


I'm sorry that happened to you. I must be the only softie here. I was a "troubled youth" so I guess I have more compassion (I don't know if that's the right word to use or not) - anyway, yes counseling is the best option, but he has to want to go.

My suggestion would be to ask this kid what he wants ~ does he want counseling, does he want to change? He has to want to for himself or he's not going to. It's kind of like do you want to be his friend or not. If you do, you need to talk with him and follow up it's really hard and takes committment. I know this because my mother works with troubled teens like your step-son. She uses self-love to connect with them. But she used "tough love" with me, it didn't work, until I had my daughter, then I straightened out on my own. How old is he? Another idea could be to strip ALL privilages, even if it means picking him up from school and keeping an "eye" on him and giving them back as he earns them. But he doesn't live with you does he? I think pressing legal charges is not an answer, what will he learn from it if he's already been in jail?

But as I said, I'm probably a softie. My daughter is only 9, I have yet to deal with issues like this, who knows when the time comes, I may just have to do her like my mom did me!!!

Best of luck to you & your family. I hope you all get involved and it all works out. Try not to give up on him, it's hard being a teenager nowadays, he probably needs an adult he can trust to love him unconditionally.

Gosh, I AM a softie!!!!!


Completely Boxer Crazy
Hi Liz, I'm sorry you have to deal with this, too. It's very difficult to know what to do, however, I have to say that I would press the charges. You don't say how old your step-son is. Counseling would be helpful, but as was said, if he doesn't want to change, counseling will do nothing. He obviously has some major issues. Have he and his dad always had a strained relationship? Is it because of the divorce? Does he have any siblings he's close to? His mother throwing up her hands is not helping. This is just another example to this boy that no one cares. Tough love will work, but it has to be meted out with TLC, too. He is acting out for attention. If he is not a child, then he is making choices and he must face responsibility for these choices. If he is a kid (teen), then it's not too late, but he has to have someone he can trust...years ago, a friend of mine had a brother who got hooked on cocaine. He was in his late twenties, married, job, etc. Money got tight and he couldn't take the pressure. Anyway, he stole money and credit cards, bank cards, sterling silver, anything he could get his hands on to get money for cocaine. To make a long story short, we did an intervention kind of thing. We all chipped in and paid him out of debt, covered his bad checks and got him into a drug counseling program. He had one relapse with marijuana...he's fine now, good job, divorced, etc. He has said that he wanted people to find out because he couldn't stop on his own. He was doing blatant things to get caught. Do you think this could be what your step son is doing? I wish I had the answer for you. Good luck and keep us all informed.

Brenda & Jeff


I agree with the tough love route. It is difficult, but needed, also about changing locks, phone numbers, web addresses, credit cards, etc. Also, contact a lawyer because having found out the hard way with a good friend of mine, you are legally responsible for him until he is 21. Meaning you could be sued for his actions. There is a legal term for this and it is not very expensive and could save you a bundle in the long run.

You can still help in out, but you need to protect yourself. I would also file charges and have all your documentation together. Let the police know about his talking with others in gangs so that you can have some extra protection, also let your supervisor at work know so that you don't walk to your car by yourself, etc. Trust me - an ounce of protection is worth a trillion dollars, I was saved from an attack myself by having someone walk me to my car.

I also agree with the counseling for him, but I think you and your husband might want to talk with someone who works in the tough love field so that you are comfortable with all of your choices.

This is difficult and I deal with it everyday with my stepson since he lives with us full time (he has since second grade and is now in tenth grade). His mother is the worst influence and problem we have. He is not bad - don't get me wrong, but it is a constant battle to keep on the right track and fixing all the bad influence into good life lessons.

Keep your chin up and just don't feel guilty - it is not your fault. Your stepson is old enough to make choices and deal with the consequences of them.

Take care, good luck and my thoughts are with you.



Boxer Booster
Thanks all for your opinions and support. My step son will be 15 this summer, his mother has had sole custody of him since he was 3 although my husband always made a point to take an active role in his life. His mother made access very difficult. She even told him that my husband was not his real father when he was six, she parents (and I use the term very loosely) with the idea that she is her childs friend and has always allowed her kids (2 by diff. fathers) to make their own decisions. He has lived with us a few times but she has always retained custody and pulled him back the minute he was no longer "having fun", this has been really hard on my two (4 & 6). He has been in jail 4 times for theft in the last 3 years. We had him in counselling while living with us but his mother does not think he needs it any more. We have not had any contact with him for about 5 months as he refuses to speak with my husband (they live about 1 hour away) and his mother does not want to push the subject because he might get mad at her. We have put in an alarm system and lodged a complaint with the police but no charges as it was 2 years ago and would be more trouble than worth. I have given up and want nothing to do with him or his mother. He will never come into my house again. It is just too hard on all of us. We are changing all out personal stuff (cards, bank accounts)and will just pay our child support. Thanks alot for letting me vent. Liz


Boxer Booster
I also think that tough love is the way to go. What does your hubby want to do? I think it is very important that you guys see eye to eye completely before you do ANYTHING. Either way you go I don't think it's gonna be an easy road.
:( I hope you are able to make the right decision and stick with it! Good Luck! :)
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