Underbelly Exposed

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My daughter wasn’t one to pull punches. Photo by Quentin Keller on Unsplash

As predicted before the end of the week was out, Walter tried to take money out of the account. It got him arrested. From there the drama jumped to the level of daytime soap opera. The phone rang and when I answered it I was greeted by a tirade.

“You got me arrested. You bitch. Don’t think for one second I will not make you pay. I’m going to take the kids and you are never getting them back,” yelled Walter.

“Actually you’re blaming the wrong bitch for getting you arrested. It was me I blocked you from taking mine and Shane’s money and doing goodness knows what with it. I told them to call the police if you tried to take out our money again.”

Silence took over the line. After a while, the question came. “Who is this?”

“The daughter you want to take from her mother. The daughter you ignored most of her life. The daughter you taught by your every action that all men who create a child are not fathers. The daughter who’s life you want to ruin by trying to keep her away from a full scholarship so you can steal her money.”

“What scholarship?” he asked a shock.

“The daughter you obviously know nothing about. You are not taking me or my brother, so we’ll see you in court.” Kylie slammed down the phone.

“What she said,” replied Lindsay and put down the phone.

My baby has shot the cannonball at his chest. She bounced into the sitting room where I had been relaxing waving her phone.

“I got it all on tape. We’ve got the rat bag now,” she said with glee. “I’m going to send this to dad.” She quickly sent the recording off to Mr. Divine then skipped back into the bedroom.

Mr. Divine called me several minutes later. “That child is scary. She has no fear.”

“You’re telling me,” Lindsay murmured.

“I sent it to the lawyer,” said Mr. Divine. “He is pushing for a court date so hopefully this helps.”

“Fingers crossed,” I said.

“I’ll be home in about an hour or so,” he said. “Love you baby.”

“I love you too,” I replied then ended the call.

Sitting back in the chair Lindsay considered her life as it was right know. Slightly complicated but she was loved and truly happy. To her, that was all that mattered. From her spot on the couch, Lindsay could hear the children talking and laughing. This was the life she dreamed of and now she had it, no one was taking it away. Walter better watch his back.

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Bank Business

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My daughter is about to check her phone until she realized she didn’t know about an account at this bank.  Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

My daughter demanded to know how my Ex got his hands on her and her brother’s money and as she peppered the manager with questions I could tell the man was not used to such a forceful and determined young person.

“Have the papers been filed against him?” she asked our lawyer.

“Yes,” he replied.

“Are we using this or are we going to nail him?” she asked to everyone’s shock.

“What?” Kylie queried when she saw the look on our faces. “I understand the concept of leverage as well as the next person but no matter what you do make sure you get back our money.”

Shane had been going through the bank statements with a highlighter when he nudged his sister and pointed to something. He took a red pen and placed an asterisk next to it then got his sister’s phone and took a picture.

“May I kindly speak to her, please? Knowing my father, I assume there is a ‘her’ he manipulated to get access to our accounts.”

The manager called in the woman.

“Do you consent to have this conversation recorded?” asked my daughter putting her phone in the middle of the table.

The woman hesitated and then slowly noted. “A verbal answer is required,” my daughter explained.

“Yes,” replied the woman.

My daughter pushed some papers across the desk to her. “Please state your name and tell me if this is your signature on this document?” directed Kylie.

“My name is Teresa Mayers and yes this is my signature.”

My daughter went on. “Can you please explain what this form is for and how it came to be added to these accounts?”

“It is a form that allows the named person, in this case, Walter Haynes, full access to the account. Why, because he wanted to be able to better manage to money on the account.”

“What about the persons whose names were on the accounts? Couldn’t they manage the money themselves?”

“He said his children were minors and his wife was a heavy spender. He was afraid she would drain the accounts.”

Kylie pushed another set of papers forward. “Can you see a single withdrawal on this account? When you see the first withdrawal, please state the date.”

She stated them for both accounts. Kylie pointed to the paperwork to access the account.

“How soon after access was granted did the removal of monies happened?”

The bank teller replied. “One week.”

“Who did the withdrawals?” asked Kylie.

“The person who signed the form Walter Haynes. Why are you asking me these questions? You are minor.”

“It’s my money you gave that man access to. My money he has been spending on goodness knows what. So I can ask as many questions as I please. But last question. Did you call the owners of the account or the person in charge of the account to verify the validity of the letter?”

The bank teller looked puzzled. “No. It was signed and dated.”

“Correction,” said Kylie. “The signature is a forgery.” The woman’s eyes popped open.

“My mother would never have signed this letter. Plus, when this was written, we were all in the US looking at universities. I’ve not spoken to my father in almost three or four years why would I want him managing my money?”

The bank teller shrugged, unable to reply. “I want his authorization revoked and a flag put on the account so that the next time he comes in to make a withdrawal, the police are called. I’m done playing games,” said Kylie.

“What do we need to sign to make it happened?” Kylie leaned back in the chair, waiting.

The manager started to get the necessary paperwork and placed the needed blocks on the account so no withdrawals could be made until the children were each twenty-one or older.

“Rental property?” asked Shane to Mr. Divine.

Mr. divine looked at the balances of both accounts.

“By twenty-one, if the market is right. It’s more than possible.”

“Sweet,” said Shane with glee.

Lindsay looked at her daughter going over paperwork and asking questions when she didn’t understand. Kylie’s maturity never ceased to fill her with awe. Her instincts told her this situation with Walter would be reaching a tipping point by the end of the next two to three weeks. During that time things would get really heated and she needed to have her fire extinguisher ready.

 

Storm Winds

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The signature was not mine. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

When I saw the paperwork had a forgery of my signature I was livid. I took out both my ID and drivers license and slapped them onto the table. “That is my signature.”

I pointed to the letter. “There is no way I would give that man consent to have access to my children’s money.”

“But if something happened to you?” stated the manager. “The father…”

“Has no right to access that money,” I interjected.

“My daughter and son understand how money works even better than me. They both have investment accounts that they manage themselves with only minor advice from my husband, so there is no way they would let their father use their money.”

“If they find out about this but things are going to get nasty,” murmured my husband.

“As it is their accounts. Especially the sixteen-year-old, they should know,” said the manager.

“That girl is worse than our lawyer. She will fight until she gets back her money and he goes to jail.”

“Her own father?” asked the manager in shock.

“He is trying to block us from taking them away to live and my daughter has a full scholarship. She is livid. If she finds out about this,” Mr. Divine laughed and shook his head.

“She gives me the shivers,” said our lawyer. “Told me to fix this, ‘meaning the custody battle’ then walked away like she hadn’t just threatened me but had asked me if I wanted a glass of ice tea.”

“I’m sorry, but as it is their account they must be here.”

“Just remember you were warned,” stated my husband and took out his phone.

“Honey, are you finished with the broker?”

Whatever our daughter said had my husband laughing. “Then come to the bank with your brother when you’re done. We have a little issue.”

Mr. Divine refused to go into details despite being pressed and that alone would speed up my daughter’s arrival.

They called to say they were downstairs fifteen minutes later and I went to get them.

“Hey mom. What’s up?” asked Lindsey

“How was the broker?” I asked, determined to distract her.

Her words as we entered the room made the bank manager’s head snapped up. “I just got another five thousand rolling for both Shane and I. Would you imagine he wanted to tell me to get bonds. I told him I’d reached my yearly cap. Let him go home and think about that. As if.”

“You should have seen the guy’s face mom,” said my son with a laugh.

“So what is going on?” Kylie asked assessing the room. “If the lawyer is here it’s big.”

The manager cleared his throat. “It has been brought to our attention that your father has been removing money from your account.”

“What account? I monitor my account like a hawk. Mine and my brother’s.”

Kylie went for her phone, then paused. “Wait a minute, I don’t know about any accounts at this bank.”

She looked at us, waiting for an explanation.

“Your grandmother started these accounts for both you and Shane and I put money in them all the time. The plan is you don’t access it until you are twenty-one or twenty-five. This is the account your father has been deposited money into for you since the separation, then divorce. It seems somehow he has gained access and has been withdrawing the money.”

“Then send the police for him because we want our money back and him, gone.”

“I told you,” said Mr. Divine to the bank manager with a smug smile.

 

Shot Across the Bow

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The bank manager was in for a shock. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

The lawyer broke into a huge smile.

“Fraud,” said Mr. Divine.

“Correct,” came the reply. “And theft of thousands of dollars from the children that he used on whores.”

“So what should we do? Bring this to the custody hearing for the kids or countersue?”

“I love how this woman thanks,” said the lawyer.

“He will not expect this countersuit and it will send him scrambling. After we file the papers, we will need to hit the bank. Someone in there give him access.” Explained the lawyer.

“When we were married. Well separated, I found out he was sleeping with this girl in the bank and used her to block my access to our joint account information.”

“He did this before. I love it,” said the lawyer with a laugh. “I think it is time for him to learn a lesson with a punishment to fit the crime.”

So on our dining room table, over wine and laughter, a plan and papers were drafted. As soon as we got proof they were filed we would be hitting the bank.

Things went smoothly and with the papers in hand and lawyer next to us, we hit the bank.

“We are here to see the manager,” said our lawyer.

“May I ask who is it an what it is about?”

“The lawyer handed over his business card and said in a loud voice. “It is about fraud and theft of monies from two accounts in this bank.”

The words drifted downstairs and a murmur could be heard. The time we turned up at the bank had been chosen with purpose. The place was busy. It worked. The secretary scrambled up.

“One moment.” She raced into her boss’s office and in less than two seconds the manager was in front of us.

“Good morning. Can I help you?” said the man.

Our lawyer handed over the papers and he took them. The man took out his glasses and started to read. “Charline, hold all my calls,” he instructed and urged us to follow him.

“This is a serious allegation,” said the man. “Can I see your proof?”

“It’s in your files. Only two or three people can give permission for him to have access to these accounts. The minors who they belong to don’t speak to him. The grandmother who opened the accounts and we know she didn’t do it. She hates the man, always did. Then the mother who is here and sure as hell didn’t give him permission.”

“That is my children’s nest egg. Why are withdrawals being made? Nothing is supposed to be withdrawn until they are twenty-one or twenty-five,” Said Lindsay arms folded.

“Get your files,” urged the lawyer.

 

New Information

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The files were very revealing. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

When Lindsay saw the investigator coming through the door with what seemed like a nonstop parade of files she felt my breath caught. I was massive, so much more than she expected. They started to explain what they found. Lindsay felt her jaw drop.

Not only was Walter living in a woman’s house, but he was making the woman pay the bulk of the bills by saying he had one payment or the other for the children. He didn’t actually.

The money for the children from Walter went into a bank account we didn’t touch. The aim was for the accounts to be a nest egg for the children to do something big with when they each turned twenty-one. To date, Lindsay had no clue how much each account held. When she saw the paperwork in front of her, she was shocked. Each account contained a significant figure, Kylie’s being the biggest.

As Lindsay looked over the bank statements that was when she started to notice withdrawals. Slowly she went over all the bank statements she had been given. They indicated that for the last year, Walter had been taking money from the children’s accounts because it hadn’t been them or me.

“Look at this,” Lindsay said to Mr. Divine. “He’s been taken money from the children’s accounts and considering he hasn’t been sending them cash. What has he been doing with it?”

“Rolling flush trying to impress women with it,” said the investigator who was handing us the papers as we requested them. “He pretends he is rich and can buy them anything and the women he had been sleeping with are pros and he doesn’t know. They are draining him.  That is why he has been using the children’s accounts, for the money.”

“Who started the accounts?” asked the lawyer.

“I did. No wait, it was my mom. When Kylie was born my mother bought me a thousand dollars and said I was supposed to open an account for her. Well, more like she opened the account and brought the book after she took one look at Walter. She did the same for Shane. The bank book came in the post. I deposited money every month.”

“When did you stop and Walter and start?” asked the lawyer.

“Since the divorce or more like months before. I started new accounts for them and planned to move the money but the bank was giving me drama so I left it there,” said Lindsay with a shrug.

“It’s funny how they give you trouble when it’s your money but let someone who it doesn’t belong to gain access it without a problem,” said the lawyer.

“Did you give Walter the power to withdraw money from the account?” The man went on to ask.

“Hell no!” I replied.

“Well, somehow he has it.” Was the lawyer’s reply.

 

Hidden Angle

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The lawyer was going over the paperwork. Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

Lindsay was tempted to just leave Mr. Divine with the lawyer to figure out a plan of attack but she had to stop herself. This was a problem she had been the root cause of, so she needed to contribute, somehow.

Settling in Lindsay told the lawyer about Walter’s interaction with the children throughout the years and the fact that after the separation things got progressively worst. He insisted she elaborate.

She went on to explain the massive switch in the children’s attitude because Walter had started to bully them. As she spoke the lawyer wrote down the information. The man was especially interested in the teachers who were present at the mediation meeting we were forced to hold to get the children back under control. Each story seemed worst than the last.

Leaning back Lindsay tapped her hand on the table as she tried to understand what was truly going on.

“What is his aim?” Lindsay asked out loud. “That is what is bugging me. Walter never showed interest in the children so why is he doing this?”

Lindsay turned to Mr. Divine. “I know you said you have your guys on him but tell them to dig deeper. I know he doesn’t what the kids. He is after something else I’m sure of it.”

She was almost frantic by the time she finished her speech.

Mr. Divine reached for Lindsay to calm her down and she clutched his hand like a lifeline.

“The investigators will come in tomorrow and we will go over what they found together. You know the way Walter thinks after enduring him for more than eighteen plus years, so if anyone can figure this out, it’s you.”

Lindsay took a deep breath and nodded, trying desperately to keep calm. It wasn’t happening. Mr. Divine had no clue what he had just asked of her. To get into Walter’s mind was to delve into a place of negativity, manipulation and hate. Anything that man did was self-serving so Lindsay knew she would have to keep that in mind.

Mr. Divine leaned in and kissed her and Lindsay held him tight.

“Make sure you pull me back after I do this,” she whispered to him as unease crawled through her body. “Pour the positivity into my life as soon as I’m done looking into what that man is doing. Fill me with light to counter his evil.

“I’ve got you baby,” he assured me. “I’ve got you.”

Spoke in Our Wheel

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The ‘Ex’ is determined to cause trouble but we’re ready for him. Photo by Alistair MacRobert on Unsplash

Everything is in place, well as much as it can be, and the children are excited for their big move to start their breath schools. The date for our move is a month from now and we are in the downsizing, sort mode to figure out what we are going to take, leave or get rid of. Everything is progressing well, close to perfect when the phone rings and we are tossed into a spewing volcano of drama.

“You think you can just take my children and move to another country. No way. I’m taking you to court and stopping it bitch.”

My breath caught and I put down the phone not wanting to answer and start a quarrel and have my words recorded to be used against me. Yes, that was how I thought now. Keep your mouth shut, listen and protect your interest.

The phone started to ring again and I let it ring for a while then answered it. Again the tirade started. I disconnected the call then took the phone off the hook and went to find my phone. I needed to call my husband to let him know trouble was knocking with a battering ram at our door and we needed to fortify our defenses.

When Mr. Divine answered me all I could think was this man loves me.

“Hello honey. How is the sorting going?”

“Good,” I answered dismissively. I took a deep breath.

“What is the matter? What happened?” demanded Mr. Divine.

I just let everything out. “Walter has called here twice in the last ten minutes saying we can’t take the kids overseas to live and he is going to take us to court.”

“Is he now!” Said Mr. Divine. “I knew things were quiet when it comes to him. Let him come. I’m looking forward to smacking him six ways to infinity. When I’m done with him he will know not to mess with my wife, my kids, my family. I’ll protect what I love no matter what and I’m to make him understand and never forget it again.

Build and Grow

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Bit by bit our plans where falling into place. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

With the children’s help, we’ve got five companies we plan to approach to talk about creating a partnership. Mr. Divine’s guy came back and cut the number down to three because the other two gad bad business practices which included and but was not limited to, dodgy associates. By that, I mean people that can get you thrown into jail or killed. That made things a lot more simple.

Over the next few weeks, we set up meetings to speak to the people in charge of the businesses we wanted to deal with and started to draw up contracts about what would be expected by both parties. We tried to keep things basic as we still needed to have a proper chat with the people we planned to approach.

The first guy we spoke with was the guy with the paddle board business. He was interested in what we had to say but wanted us to explain how the business would exactly benefit him. As passionate as I was about the possibility of working with partners to boost the business I didn’t want to give too much away.

Mr. Divine did most of the talking, with myself adding in bits and bobs as we went along. By the second presentation we had the process down to a T. Two of the three people we approached were interested and we worked with them, continuing negations to get the way how we would link the businesses established. The kids, because they were smart, figured out what we were doing and added another company into the mix.

By the time we were done, we had established contracts with three companies and were setting up a one month trial run to work out any potential problems we might encounter. We are all eager to evaluate the outcome so we can move forward. Another step along the exciting path to discovering one’s full potential.

Review This and That

reynzo-522685-unsplash My girl enjoying paddle boarding. Photo by Reynzo on Unsplash

“So what do you think?” I whispered to Mr. Divine as he suited up in a life jacket after the demonstration about how to use a paddle board.

“Not bad. The man answers questions with patients and tries to tell you everything you need to know. He explains potential problems and understands not everyone is at the same level.”

I nodded. “He runs a very tight ship. I like that.”

“So he goes on your list of people to approach about a partnership.”

“For now. I know you need to do your investigative wizardry to make sure the people who looked good were truly good.”

“I’ll get my man on it at once but for now let’s enjoy this.”

We spent the next hour playing on the paddle boards. The kids were truly enjoying themselves and after the time was up we went back to the car and got the picnic we had packed.

“So what did you guys think?” we asked the children. We hadn’t told them what we were going because we wanted an unbiased, unfiltered reaction.

Over the past few weeks, we had also been teaching them how to evaluate businesses, situations, events for business potential. Kylie was an ace at it so far but more than once Shane had revealed some truly amazing insights. In the quiet of the night when we talked, Mr. Divine noted that the children truly had the potential to dive into the business arena and do amazing and noteworthy ventures. They just needed to be trained to too at the things often overlooked by people on a daily basis. Believe me, they are getting the training.

Since the initial talk about making your money work for you, the children had been devouring information about business. Learning as much as they could about the stock market and how to choose stock. Right now, everything business caught their attention and they were always trying to come up with good business ideas.

“This guy is really good mom. Can we come again? He really knows his stuff.” They went on to explain what they thought about everything and why. The guys were on track and so were we.

Business Boost

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I always make sure I put in the work to get my business right. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

For the last few days, Mr. Divine and I have been talking back and forth about what I want I want to do which my business. Well maybe do is to vague a reference. It was more about what we are trying to accomplish while I tried to develop new, solid business ideas to strengthen and possibly expand the business.

Since it started, the business has been getting steady calls to take groups on various types of hikes. Due to the fact we traveled quite a bit this year I hired another staff member of staff so I could have an extra person to keep on top of office work and make sure everything was running smoothly. By making that hire, things got better organised and we were able to add a few more hikes to our schedule. Now its time to see what else was possible.

“Okay,” I murmured as we sat down to talk one morning while the children were out visiting friends. “The company has a solid handle on the hikes. It’s now to consider what we can add to make things more interesting. I was thinking to add some other outdoor activities to our hikes, maybe by teaming up with some other companies.

“I love the idea of more outdoor activities but my worry is the other companies. Finding the right ones to work with is the hard part. Your company has a top rep. One wrong move by working with the wrong company and that could ruin you.”

“So we do intense research to make sure whoever we do work with has the values we agree with,” countered Lindsay.

Mr. Divine smiled. “Okay. What do you think is the best to add to the hikes?”

“From just doing some basic research I’ve been thinking of some related things like paddle boarding, scuba diving. Maybe some horseback riding. I also remember coming across a place that does zip lining.”

Mr. Divine nodded. “These are good additions. What do you think about adding a photography focused hike?”

“That sounds super interesting. In fact, I think it is something I would love to add to the business. But how?”

“I think we can do it the same way we do the hikes now but put more emphasis on stopping at key points to take pictures. You have to get your skills up with the camera showcase what elements they can discover. It would be a good way to draw their interest.”

“We will get all these things to come together and it would be a brilliant new addition to the business.”

I smiled as joy filled every inch of my being.

“Time to go out and figure out the best companies to collaborate with dear. Time to have some fun.