Civil Disputes vs Crimes

What is a Civil Dispute ?
A civil dispute involves a legal dispute between two or more parties. If the two parties can't reach an agreement to avoid a costly court process, then a civil case is filed with the courts. The person/entity filing the civil case is the "plaintiff" and the person/entity being sued is called the “defendant.” Contrast this with criminal cases where a victim of a crime does not sue, but rather, the State (plaintiff) sues the person allegedly committing the crime (defendant), and the victim becomes a witness in the case. Another way to view this - a crime is a violation of a law established by a government agency - either city, county, state, or federal. Contrast this with the "dispute" between two or more parties in a civil dispute. i.e. There is no such thing as a "civil crime".

Law Enforcement Agencies Do Not Handle Civil Cases.

Law enforcement agencies do not have the staff, nor do they by law have the authority, to assist with civil cases, even if it appears that one individual has blatantly taken advantage of another. Law Enforcement Officers are personally at a dilemma. They passionately want to help a senior in some way, but they just can't because in these situations they have no more authority than the next door neighbor. When law enforcement agencies have a Seniors Vs Crime Project Office partnered with their agency, they can assist the senior by referring the senior to the Seniors Vs Crime Project, then work with the Senior Sleuths behind the scenes as needed to provide assistance. Should the Senior Sleuths discover criminal behavior in the case, it can then be easily transitioned back to the Law Enforcement Officer.
Due to this cooperative beneficial relationship, Florida Sheriffs and Police Chiefs are passionate about their support for Seniors Vs Crime. When possible, Project Offices are co-located in, or nearby, sheriff or police department facilities.

Taking a Civil Complaint through the Civil Legal Process is complex.
To begin a civil lawsuit, the "plaintiff" files a complaint with the court and "serves" a copy of the complaint by having it delivered to the "defendant" by a method approved by the court. The complaint describes how the plaintiff was damaged, explains how the defendant caused the damage, and asks the court to order relief. A plaintiff may seek money to compensate for the damage, or may ask the court to order the defendant to stop the conduct that is causing the damage.

Civil Disputes involve SEVERAL Time Consuming Costly Civil Actions.
All of the civil proceedings are expensive and arduous, and out of the financial and emotional reach of most seniors. While many civil lawsuits against scams are successful, to make matters worse, the proceedings expose a senior who has been scammed to public display for being naive or foolish, which is effectively making the victim a victim again. And making the victim a third time victim, most often when a senior "plaintiff" wins a civil case, the efforts to collect the court award involve another long civil process. In the end the process could take several months and thousands of dollars. To avoid the arduous legal process, the Seniors Vs Crime Project's Senior Sleuths do everything possible to reach a settlement for a senior without cost and without public or family embarrassment. In fact, Senior Sleuths are successful in a very high per cent of their cases because most businesses, given the chance to put emotions aside and settle a dispute amicably, really want to do the right thing.

Civil Dispute Case vs Criminal Case Example.
To clarify how a civil case is defined, it is best to provide an actual case as an example. Let's take the case of an invalid senior who has been unable to drive. The invalid senior handed their car keys to a neighbor who has agreed to drive the senior's car to assist the senior. Their verbal agreement was that the neighbor would use the car only to take the senior for medical care or to grocery shop. But suppose the neighbor violates the agreement. One day the senior discovers the car and the neighbor are gone. After a couple of weeks the senior can't find the neighbor or his car and calls the police. The police track down the neighbor out of state at a relative's home. He says the senior gave him permission. In this case there is little that law enforcement can do to assist the senior. If the keys were willingly handed to the neighbor by the senior, then the dispute over the specifics of their agreement are the subject of a civil action, not a criminal action. It becomes the senior's view vs the neighbor's view. This example is unfortunately the exact circumstances of some Seniors Vs Crime Project cases. If the neighbor has manipulated the situation to take advantage of a senior due to their age, poor health, diminished capacity, or trusting nature, Seniors Vs Crime Sleuths will assist the senior in resolving the situation.


Civil Cases Transitioned to Law Enforcement as Potential Criminal Cases.
In the previous example, once the Senior Sleuths gets deeply involved in reviewing the situation, they might discover that the neighbor had committed a crime and that it was not a civil case at all. For instance, perhaps the senior had always kept the keys to the car in a kitchen drawer and gave them to the neighbor for each permitted use, and that on the occasion the neighbor disappeared with the car the neighbor had sneaked into the senior's room and taken the keys. This case would then be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement authority for criminal investigation and criminal prosecution.

Here is a true story of a senior whose Seniors Vs Crime civil case that was transitioned to local law enforcement. After investigating, the local law enforcement detective turned the case over to the FBI. The FBI and Seniors Vs Crime