Cheque Mates

Cheque MatesSilverman Helps a woman whose loan repayment promise didn't cheque out.

This is a cautionary tale about choosing your friends and making sure they donít become your enemies.

Bella Rozler learned that lesson the hard way in September 2003, when she loaned an acquaintance named Mikhail Voinovski $20,000.

He promised to pay back both the interest and the principle. He made good on the former pledge, but when Bella tried to cash his cheque for the latter, it bounced.

Frustrated, she called her Ďpal?and tried to find out when she could expect her money. Voinovski made a commitment to repay $1,500 every month until the amount owning was finished. But her $13,000 never came.

Thatís when Bella borrowed some more aid from Silverman Helps. We contacted the errant friend, who made yet a new pledge ?he vowed to repay everything by January 2004.

Bella agreed to the date, but found herself once again stood up.

We managed to reach the late payer once again, getting yet another guarantee to dole out $500 a month beginning in April 2005.

Rozler isnít holding out a lot of hope. But she admits she lives to be surprised. And she's hoping others will learn from her error.

If youíre planning to lend money to a relative or friend, get it in writing through a lawyer. It could initially cost you a little more. But it will save you a lot in the end, and give you a recourse should your payments go off course.