I Regret Lending Money to Friend - Please Help

I'm looking for advice on how to recoup funds I lent to a friend.

My friend asked to borrow $10k to pay legal fees related to the settlement of an investment scheme. I regret lending him money because my gut tells me that I won't get my money back. I trusted my friend and didn't do my due diligence - this is was my mistake. He said he'd return my money within 1 week and it's now going on 4 weeks.

1st red flag - after sending him the funds (Saturday), he asked me for another $7k the very next day!! (Sunday). He said that he sent the $10k to his friend (who I don't know), whom is also in this investment scheme to pay for the legal fees. However, his friend's doctor/hospital took $7k out for "cancer treatment". WTF?! Doctor's just don't direct debit $7k on a Sunday, they'll usually call and ask for your card details. Even so, who doesn't have the money ready for their life-saving treatment?! I said no and he had the nerve to ask me to ask my parents…

2nd red flag - he says things like "Don't lose sleep, I'll take you to Nobu and on a shopping spree once the money settles" and "just a few more days, trust the process" This comes off very charlatan-like and rather evasive, not very assuring at all. I get the feeling he is only saying this to keep me calm.

I'd appreciate any advice on how to best approach the situation. I want my $10k back and I don't care if the friendship is over. I am stressed out and it's affecting my job/work and personal relationships.

TLDR: Lent friend $10k for "legal case". Gut tells me that he is a degenerate gambler. How to get money back.

Edit 1: I already feel shit as it is. If you don't have anything constructive to say, please gtfo.


  • +7

    just randomly reading through some of the comments…sigh…goes to show the average knowledge of the general public… but seriously, why would you come on ozbargain to ask for advice on quasi-legal matters?

    Here's my 2 cents on the matter. There is the practical route and there is the legal route - I will only focus on the legal route if you decide to go down it. It has consequences of course, i.e., forget your friendship, etc but I guess at this point that's likely non-existent anyway.

    Firstly, lets take a step back and assess the situations again.

    1) do you have record of lending of money to this person? i.e., is there text messages or emails stating that person X wants to borrow $x from you? you need to have a coherent and clear correspondence with him. I'm referring to person X asking you for money and you responding, etc. Also, is there a record of when person X was going to return your money?

    2) do you have record of the money actually moving from you to person X? i.e., was it a bank transfer? I'll be slightly surprised if you gave him $5K cash. If you gave you cash, your whole post is likely a ruse and it was probably drug related. If so, you can GTFO.

    3) if you have the above traces, you actually should be able to take person X to small claims court and serve a notice. Filing a claim will cost you a nominal fee ($100-200 I forgot exact figure) and you can serve that notice to him via mail. This will put things in motion, he will have to show up in court and defend himself. If you have all the records, then he needs to return the money.

    Now, if there is no written record of the lending of money, you are out of luck as he can claim it was a gift.

    Note to all readers here. Saying you should not lend money to family and friends is nonsense. You should be able to lean on your family and friends when a situation happens but you need to just make sure things are laid out in written so its clear. Who lend money to who, the amount and when it needs to be returned. Have both parties sign it a piece of paper and you should be fine.

    Good luck

    • some common sense and a win for critical thought process on the internet. There's still hope….

      • Thanks - its a landmine here. People giving out just nonsense advice…. i'm both angry and disappointed at the same time.

        • Yea I've given up lol. What amazes me is how willingly people give categorical black/white 'advice' based on very little info and of course their own personal circumstances which may have zero correlation to the OPs situation.
          I treat it as entertainment these days, as I see it as people just projecting. There's some smart people here who can be listened to if you can filter out the 99% nonsense. Much like the general population I suppose.

    • -1

      Imagine taking your mother to court. I'm sure you'll still be her favourite child, everything will be back to normal.

      • +3

        I already caveat'ed that there is a practical and a legal route to take. The OP needs to use common sense and assess the situation. No cookie cutter approach to these things.

        If you're taking your mother to court, the relationship is most likely beyond broken so you would have already accepted the fact that things won't be back to normal. Instances of offspring / parent court cases happen more often than you think. Just think about Britney and her dad.

  • It gone.

  • +1

    I would consider it gone. I would also try to help motivate the person to want to pay you back.

    For example may be a good too immediately stop asking for the money. Month or so down track you inherit a large term deposit locked in for 2 years. You want to access it but can't afford to pay the 4k break fee.

    Your friend smells more money, and may pay you back the 4k. Oh no 3k was taken to repay your credit card. Could you pay me back a bit more.

    Only works if the person isn't savvy. Sometimes the smell of more $$$ will blur their vision

  • +3

    Break their leg. They are 3 weeks over due.

    • +1

      Da boss says I gotta break sometin'

  • +1

    Try sending him and email to say something along the lines of "I lent you the $10k that was supposed to be repaid within a week and now it is nearly 4 weeks. Can you please repay or let me know when this loan will be repaid."

    That may go some of the way to documenting the actual agreement, particularly if he replies and doesn't try to say it was a gift ……

  • +1

    Don't think you'll get it back. Often the saying goes, only lend the amount you're willing to lose.

  • +3

    Your not the first person this has happened to, these so called friends know how to play to your emotions. Been done to me a few times, but never for $10k.

    What worked for me was throwing all the friend nonsense out the window and going hard at them every day, get angry, shout, yell, send abusive messages, dont let up, dont buy their excuses. Every morning, day and night: "wheres my money? You said a week, its now been 4. I expect the funds in my account by tomorrow" etc

    If you go easy on them, they will just keep playing you. You dont owe them a thing, and its totally worth loosing a friendship over, as they werent a true friend to begin with.

    • how much money

  • +2


  • +13

    Issue a statement of claim.

    A very similar thing happened to me when I was much younger albeit with a manipulative girlfriend.

    After a lot of broken "I'll pay you promises" I issued a statement of claim. Of course she messed the court around and in the end judgement was entered in my favour in her absence.

    She made a couple of payments and then disappeared and I had to let it go.

    Some years later, she had gotten into a relationship and was trying to get a mortgage… dramatic music…. the unpaid judgement showed up and they were forced to resolve it.

    I made her pay me the interest for all those years on top of the debt.

    • +6

      username checks out

    • +6

      King move.

      • +4

        I neglected to add that we had already broken up when I lent her the money (selling my very first share portfolio to do it).

        She kept dangling the carrot and I was a massive sucker.

        • +2

          Dangling the carrot, nice euphemism :-) We live and learn.

          • +3

            @Monad: Not sure about that. I'm a sucker for my wife and kids. Although I'm very comfortable with that.

  • +4

    Next time you lend, as for some collateral

  • +1

    A lot of the replies i've read seem to cater to a logical mind - I lent you this money you said you would repay in 1 week, it is now 4 weeks, please repay ASAP.

    We've established that this guy is probably not telling you the truth about where the money is going.

    You need to play his game. You're now in a situation where you're going to be able to win something/you're being chased for debt and something bad is going to happen if you don't repay. "i didn't want to admit this to you but i borrowed the money to lend you from a loanshark - i didn't want to admit to you that i had no money. He's going to get violent if i don't pay him back this week, i need my money" etc..

    I watched someone recently go through something similar. What got him his money back was fake pressure that they were going to lose their house and marriage if he didn't repay. No doubt the money got borrowed from someone else to repay, but that's not your problem.

  • +1

    You know what they say, NEVER look at your girlfriend or wife's female friends below the neck line, EVER. Women can sense the trajectory and angle of your eyeballs and accurately calculate the degree and focus point of light reflecting through your eyes. From that, they can tell if you were staring at their boobies. Especially if they are wearing low cut tops to further entice you to focus your eyeballs below the angle of threshold. The other thing they say is, never do business with friend's and family or get them involved in financials.

    • +5

      speed is the key

      • If you are looking at something at that height infront of their path, when they have walk through your line of sight it isn't your fault that you were looking there.

        • This is the Way!

        • +1

          Guys i hate to tell you…. we know you do this. We know it all. We know BEFORE you even know you're gonna do it 🤣

  • +1

    Not sure if this is already covered before and I hope your friend is not on Ozbargain.

    In the hope of getting back your money, let's say his intention was genuine when he initially lent the money from you, but due to his poor calculations, he is unable to repay and hence dodging you/your calls. Trust me, this happens in many cases when it comes to future money, people seldom calculate it wrong.

    If you are still in contact with this guy, acknowledge the fact that he is facing difficulties and you understand his situation. Meet him/her in person, explain your situation, tell him that you're ok to wait and ask him to commit to a timeline. Try to get this formal at this point and cover your position.

  • +2

    This happened to me as well. Don't lose your sleep over this, take this as a life lesson. They wont pay you back even if they have a lot of money.
    - Lent money to a cousin in 2017 for them to visit their dying parent, never receive a cent back
    - A friend of mine asked to borrow some money to buy his sister a present, never receive a cent back
    - My best friend lost 100k on sport betting, borrowed me some money to hedge for the game that he was going to win and he ended up gambling the money that won, lost it too, never receive a cent back
    => never lend money to friends, relatives under any circumstances

  • OP ghosted the thread I see……

    • +2

      Stay tuned - tomorrow.

  • +1
    Merged from Regret Lending Friend Money to Friend (Part 2 Update)

    My previous post (https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/649126) gained a lot of comments from people expressing similar stories of misfortune, as well as advice on how to recoup my money that I had lent. I read every comment and a lot of people requested an update, so here is Part 2.

    I confronted my friend at his house. He looked somewhat dishevelled with big eyebags and was acting sheepishly. After intensely playing good cop bad cop by myself, what I found out has left me with more questions than answers. It's possible that he is a blind fool, who has fallen victim to a scam setup by his friend with cancer (see previous post). Let's call this friend Ben.

    He revealed that he lent Ben $30k for cancer treatment. After beating cancer, Ben convinces my friend that instead of paying him back, that he'd invite him to a lucrative investment scheme with his Godfather who's "a former investment banker". My friend agreed and the 3 of them went into the investment scheme together, in which he made ~$300k return on his mere $30k investment. However, the funds have been frozen by the ATO, and the only way they'll release it is if he pays the legal fees so that the lawyer can fight this case. And guess who the lawyer is… Ben's Godfather the joint-investor and former Investment Banker. WTF?! Sounds like a scam to me.

    I requested to see evidence/paperwork of this so-called "investment" and "legal case", as this story would most certainly have a paper trail, but he was unable to provide any. He said that Ben and his Godfather have all the paperwork and that he trusts them. WTF?! I challenged him on the many things wrong with his story but it was futile as he deflected all points made. He was very defensive about Ben and his Godfather, which came off very cult-like or that he'd been brainwashed.

    I took OzBargain's pseudolaw advice and made him sign a contract so that the loan is official. As he's due for a big payday, I demanded $30k my way by the end of this week and he agreed. I've also requested the services of some bicycle enthusiasts to ensure that payment is made. I find myself having more questions than answers. Is Ben and his Godfather pulling the wool over my friend's eyes with this scam? Is my friend complicit with Ben in this? Are they as thick as thieves? Could this be legitimate and I'm over analysing? I welcome any further advice or banter on this predicament.

    TLDR: Friend is possibly victim of an elaborate scam but refuses to believe it. Either way, actions have been taken to ensure my repayment is made.

    • +1

      Cool story, can’t wait till the movie comes out

    • +1

      "actions have been taken to ensure my repayment is made."


    • +4

      I've also requested the services of some bicycle enthusiasts

      I don't think this is what people are referring to when they say "bikies" 😁

    • +3

      This guy is either getting scammed or making up an elaborate story to appease you. You lent him 10k, but demanded 30k ?

      This story has so many holes in it, who knows what is real or not.

      • I think he is getting scammed. I did some digging around and found out that in high school he got scammed online from malware and actually paid it lol. He also got caught up in a charity scam (collecting money for a fake charity at his church).

    • +2

      I demanded $30k my way by the end of this week

      Can someone contact OzBet and see what the odds are on this never happening…

      You wont ever see your money.

      • +2

        I checked on Ladbrokes and it’s paying $1.01

    • +3

      that money is gone mate! Gooooooooooooooooooone.

      Move on, learn from this mistake and don't be a trusting fool in the future.

      • -1

        I have learned, there is now a contract with collateral (his car worth $40k).
        Sounds like you were once a trusting fool as well.

        • +1

          Car is worthless if there’s money owed

    • +3

      Ben and his Godfather

      Sounds more like those 2, live in your friend's head. tbh.

      the funds have been frozen by the ATO, and the only way they'll release it is if he pays the legal fees so that the lawyer can fight this case.

      This prince scam sounds awful familiar. lol.

      You might have better luck turning your story into a movie script to sell, to get your money back.

      • +1

        Belle Gibson et al.

        • +3

          An awful witch.

          • @FareEvader: Can you not see the correlation yet?…

        • Do you know when her friends asked her what the name of her cancer doctor was, she replied “Dr Phil.” 😂

    • +1

      Going from another viewpoint…
      He was quite disheveled but was he quite chaotic in his thought process and the content just changes very often? Did he manage to actually give you a good description of the person and the situation? was he looking around the house or pacing around looking very restless as well?
      Do we actually know that there was such a real life person or not some people of delusion? as we do know people with bipolar I disorder with mania have impulsive spending and at times may in fact be psychotic as well

      Guess even if it is the case its not really your problem though

    • +1

      Hey there OP. Thanks for coming back to give us an update.

      If I was in your position, I would also really want to understand what was really happening in the background with my friend. It seems that your friend is either unwilling or perhaps unable to be honest with you. I'd like to give your friend the benefit of the doubt and agree that perhaps he has been misled, but you've demonstrated here that he has a history of poor choices.

      I think it best that you accept that you may not ever know the truth here. Better to move on rather than spend your time trying to read between the lines of a dodgy story - this friend does not have much integrity. Hopefully you can leave the friendship with your money returned, but seems that most of us here would be surprised if that happens. Good luck!

  • +1

    "As he's due for a big payday"…the only way your friends getting another big payday is if you lend him another 10k.