I am so stressed about what to do, regarding my debts, it's untrue.
Last night, I told my Girlfriend everything, after getting back from the CAB. She's been a star, but I lay awake most of last night, struggling with some very dark thoughts.
Having been to discuss things with a very helpful lady, at the CAB yesterday, I'm still considering a DRO, however I am worried it'll get me into other criminal trouble.
I really don't want to go down the DRO route, however I don't really have a choice.
My huge worry though, is the possibility of being 'done' for fraud :-/
2 weeks ago, I stupidly wrote 5 cheques out, at 'The Money Shop', totalling £500 (one of those 'cash 'til payday' loans)..
I lied at the time, and said I was still working in my old job (which I lost last November '09 / been on ESA since), when I wrote the cheques at 'The Money Shop', giving them my old works address / bank account / Visa debit card and cheque guarantee card details.
Stupid, I realise.
I'm a recovering alcoholic, and have been going through severe depression and anxiety, and fell off the wagon when I did this 2 weeks back, having since got help and climbed back on.
So, my worry now, is that I'm in such a pickle with my debts, I just can not think straight.
The Money Shop are going to present the cheques (£500 worth) to my bank (Alliance & Leicester), on the 8th July, and the money is not going to be there in the account.
I wasn't sure, if the cheques would bounce, or if they would be 'guaranteed' with the card, and so the CAB lady called the A & L bank on behalf of an anonymous client.
The A & L said, that the cheques would indeed be 'honoured', and so my account will go overdrawn, to the tune of £500 + bank charges (probably £25 I think for each cheque + £5 per day for being o / d)
It is worrying though, that if the A&L bank 'bounce' the cheques, the MoneyShop will then hound me for the money + charges, and could 'do' me for fraud (for fibbing, when I applied for the loan, saying I was working in my old job) This is making me ill with worry :-/
My Girlfriend was going to lend me the £500 - deposit it into my A & L account, making sure that The Money Shop get their £500 back, and that my A & L account is safe / not overdrawn / no charges incurred.
However, having spoken to the CAB, it appears I'm now in even more of a quandry.
If I pay off The Money Shop / A&L, and then subsequently, have to go for a Debt Relief Order, the Official Receiver will then see that I have 'shown preferential treatment toward one creditor over another'.. The DRO would then apparently, be revoked.
Any of you with any experience / knowledge of this on here please - Is this true?
My debts amount to about £11,000 (all unsecured - no assets - rent flat - no car - out of work and on ESA), and so I was told by the CAB yesterday, that yes, I am eligible for the DRO.
We went through all the figures, and the angel of a Woman said that the worst case scenario regarding The Money Shop / A&L bank, will be that The Money Shop get repaid their £500 loan, and the bank overdraft / charges will then be treated as a seperate debt - which can then be included in my DRO, and written off after 12 months.
I am so worried though, that the A&L bank will then come after me for Fraud. Surely they will see, that I obviously wrote the cheques, knowing the funds would not be in my account to cover them. Will I then be looking at criminal proceedings / a jail sentence? I could not sleep last night, because of all this.
Even if the bank 'bounce' the cheques, The Money Shop will still chase me for the money back, and they too (more likely them, as apparently The Money Shop, are quite aggressive when it comes to their collection practices by all accounts) will come after me for fraud.
Either the bank or the Money Shop, are going to wonder, why I could afford the loan 2 weeks ago, and then a month later why I'm going to a Debt Relief Order. Surely this is going to arouse suspicion?
How on earth do I sort this out?
My other 'Priority Debts' are - Severn Trent Water (I called them last Friday, before the CCJ was due to go through this week - they agreed a plan with me - CCJ suspended, pending £45 a month / first payment due in 10 days time - I can't afford this) = £225.00
Also - NPower Electric Arrears = £635 - I called NPower last week also, explaining that I am trying to sort this out, and would discuss it with the CAB. NPower are asking for direct payments, from my ESA each fortnight, of £15.30 - again, I will not be able to afford this, until I'm back into work, so no formal agreement has been made as yet.
TV License Arrears = approx £118 owing - again, I can not afford to repay this at present. I have not been in touch with TV License yet.
DWP Crisis Loans = £710 owing - the DWP are deducting £7.72 from my ESA already - yet more deductions I can not afford.
Council Tax arrears = £459 (Liability Order already been granted) - the Council are not making deductions yet - they are wanting documents back from the CAB, to agree to £3.25 a week - more deductions from my ESA. The CAB lady advised not to return agreement for deductions, to the Council, and to instead include the debt in DRO asap.
I also owe £2,333.24 to the Council, for a Housing Benefit Overpayment - this was 'coded fraud', and so will not be allowed to be included in the DRO - I will continue repaying this at £5 a week.
On top of these debts, I owe £20,784.99 in unsecured debts to my Creditors (Girlfriend / Credit Cards / Catalogues / old mobile contracts) - This also included £13,938.00 of Student Loans though, so it would be £6,846.99 included in the DRO..
Plus the £4,483.88 owing to the Priority Debts
= a Total Owed / to be included in the DRO = £11,330.87
So, obviously I am below the £15,000 limit for a DRO.
This is so tough to face, however I realise I can not repay all of this debt, given that my income is only £57.73 per week (after deducting £7.72 weekly towards repaying the Social Fund Loans to the DWP).
I just can't believe I've been so stupid :-/
Also, if I do go for a DRO (am thinking about going for it in the next couple of weeks), won't this then attract attention to the fraud I committed, regarding The Money Shop / Alliance & Leicester bank.
I really don't want to lose my A&L bank account either - this is the first 'proper' bank account I have had in years..
I am aware though, that this account will probably be close anyway, once / if it goes £600 / 700 into the red..
I do have another seperate basic bank account with the Co - op - I've had this 6 years, and have treated the account well.
Am just so worried I'm going to end up in the Magistrates Court for my wrongdoing at The Money Shop, once they either don't get their money, or the bank lose their money..
Sorry to witter on here, but it's all making me feel quite ill, and I'm trying to get better, so I can return to work and make a fresh start.
At the moment though, I'm so scared that there's no way out of this.
Any pointers would be most appreciated.