Scary letter from Staatsanwaltschaft

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Yesterday (October 26th) I received a horrifying letter from the Staatenswaltschaft, which was bizarrely dated September 2. 

 

The letter claimed I have a 3,500 euro unpaid fine, and I now owe 7,000 or risk imprisonment. WTF. 

 

At first I was severely confused because, to my knowledge, I have never owed a 3,500 fine. Surely I would have heard about this before it escalated to a 7,000 fine/threat of detention?

 

I tried calling and couldnt get through to ask about it, and unsurprisingly the email address doesnt work. Basically means its impossible to reply (this morning I tried repeatedly to call again, but the number they provide doest even go through. what the hell)

 

Last night as I panicked instead of sleeping, I realised the sum is the same to an incorrect claim the arbeitsamt made back in 2019. The also said I owed 3,500 (I'm rounding here, but the exact sums were the same - down to the penny). So now I am assuming the two are connected, though I cannot be certain as the letter has no context (only a threat and an IBAN number) and I cannot contact them to clarify. 

 

The thing is, back in August, I was under the impression the arbeitsamt realised their mistake (FINALLY, took 18 months for me to get them to examine the papers I gave them proving I was indeed unemployed) and corrected the claim from 3,500, down to 125. I paid that immediately, back in August, and wrote to them again for confirmation. I received the following letter from the arbeitsamt:

 

''Ihr Anliegen habe ich geprüft und möchte Ihnen wie folgt Stellung geben. Mit Bescheid vom 18.12.2018 erhielten Sie einen Erstattungsbescheid in Hohe von 3577,32 Euro. Nach abschließender Klärung mit Ihrem Arbeitgeber zum Arbeitsbeginn, erhielten Sie mit Bescheid vom 01.06.2021 einen Anderungsbescheid zum Bescheid vom 18.12.2018 hinsichtlich eines korrigierten überzahite Betrages von nun nicht mehr 3577,32 Euro, sondem nur noch 125,52 Euro. Dieser Bescheid liegt zur Kenntnis in Kopie bei. Dieser Betrag ist bereits von Ihnen erstattet worden.''

 

I received the above letter on September 6. I interpreted it as "we finally spoke with your employer and now realise you don't owe 3,500, but only 125, and you already paid this by the time I am sending this letter." Am I wrong in. this interpretation?? Do I still owe them 3,500???

 

I am now terrified of the threat by the Staatenswaltshaft and frustrated there is no way to dispute it, and confused why the letter reached me almost 2 months after the heading claims it was written. I panic send the arbeitsamt 3,500 last night despite having received the letter from them it was only 125 (which I already paid) and am considering paying the staatenswaltshaft the other 3,500 to avoid wrongful imprisonment. However, the 7k here is will essentially financially ruin me as thats similar to the total amount I have in savings now. 

 

I already contacted a lawyer, but they said it will take several days to respond. 

 

My questions are:

1. did I interpret the letter from the arbeitsamt correctly?

2. if I pay now, do you think I can get my money back if my interpretation is correct and their demand is not legally valid?

3. any idea how I can reach the staatenswaltschaft and maybe get some answers about the origin of the claim, in case its not related to the arbeitsamt? again, it seems so strange to receive such a letter with no explanation, so I can only assume its related to the now-closed-claim by the arbeitsamt due to the sums being identical 

 

pray for me...

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1. As far as I can tell, your interpretation is correct.

2. possibly, but probably only after them once again taking an incredibly long time to re-assess things.

3. keep on phoning, and make a note of every time you attempt to do so.

   -  also, write back to them enclosing a copy of the letter from August

   - if the given email doesn´t work, try searching online for an appropriate one for the Stadtsanwaltschaft and write to them, asking for your email to be forwarded to the correct Sachbearbeiter (should be a name on the letter you received).

 

We don´t need to pray for you if all of the details you have listed are correct, but I´ll keep my fingers crossed anyways!

 

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I smell scam. Would not pay any money to anyone. You are not going to jail. Just no.

 

How about a hacker got into the system and can quote a figure you recognise ? 

 

If it is not a scam i would consider making a claim for schmerzgeld. 

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1 hour ago, ExPattheDog said:

I panic send the arbeitsamt 3,500 last night despite having received the letter from them it was only 125 (which I already paid) and am considering paying the staatenswaltshaft the other 3,500 to avoid wrongful imprisonment.

 

It's a shame you panic reacted and have already sent the Arbeitsamt the money. It could very well be a scam as Optimista says. There should be an address on the letter from the "Staatsanwalt", so (as @robinson100 suggested) I would also recommend photocopying the letter from the Arbeitsamt and send it to the "Staatsanwalt" (with a cover letter, explaining that this must a misunderstanding) as proof that you don't owe that amount of money and that the 125 Euros you did owe was already paid. 

 

It it's a scam the police could also be interested. There are regular police warnings about people being frightened into paying money they don't owe. 

 

1 hour ago, robinson100 said:

-  also, write back to them enclosing a copy of the letter from August

 

Edit: I would also recommend contacting the Arbeitsamt about this.

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2 hours ago, bramble said:

 

It's a shame you panic reacted and have already sent the Arbeitsamt the money. It could very well be a scam as Optimista says. There should be an address on the letter from the "Staatsanwalt", so (as @robinson100 suggested) I would also recommend photocopying the letter from the Arbeitsamt and send it to the "Staatsanwalt" (with a cover letter, explaining that this must a misunderstanding) as proof that you don't owe that amount of money and that the 125 Euros you did owe was already paid. 

 

It it's a scam the police could also be interested. There are regular police warnings about people being frightened into paying money they don't owe. 

 

 

Edit: I would also recommend contacting the Arbeitsamt about this.

 

I sent the 3,5k to the arbeitsamt just in case (rather than the staatenswalt directly), and sent the arbeitsamt a photocopy of the letter from the staatenswalt. there is an address at the top and it does (unfortunately) look real

 

 

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2 hours ago, optimista said:

I smell scam. Would not pay any money to anyone. You are not going to jail. Just no.

 

How about a hacker got into the system and can quote a figure you recognise ? 

 

If it is not a scam i would consider making a claim for schmerzgeld. 

 

what is schmerzgeld?

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8 hours ago, optimista said:

 

If it is not a scam i would consider making a claim for schmerzgeld. 

 

 

Good point there!

Go see your GP and tell him/her what is going on and that you haven´t been able to sleep for worry - if you want to be able to make a claim later it´s worth getting some "evidence" of your suffering :D

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Have you tried going through the general phone number of the Staatsanwaltschaft? Or the contact form the website? Does the phone number they gave you have the same prefix? 

030 9014-0

Kontaktformular der Staatsanwaltschaft Berlin - Berlin.de

 

I don't know how good your German is, but I would probably call them and pester them until I talk to a real life person that can give me relevant information. 

But definitely continue with the lawyer as there might be deadlines to consider. And get him to write a letter to the Arbeitsamt to demand your money back! 

 

Good luck! 

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14 hours ago, robinson100 said:

 

Good point there!

Go see your GP and tell him/her what is going on and that you haven´t been able to sleep for worry - if you want to be able to make a claim later it´s worth getting some "evidence" of your suffering :D

its honestly not a bad idea considering my mental health suffered severely after. I don't even want money from them I just don't want to be harassed & threatened for something that has already been resolved

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I wonder why it escalated to the Staatsanwaltschaft so fast. You usually get two Manhnungen before any action is taken by the authorities. 

 

A friend of mine got her company account frozen due to an allegedly unpaid health insurance bill for her employee. The issue was solved by a lot of calls to the health insurance and the tax office. 

 

But the prosecution and jail threats?! Sounds fishy but maybe Berlin is different. 

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On 28/10/2021, 12:56:27, yourkeau said:

I wonder why it escalated to the Staatsanwaltschaft so fast. You usually get two Manhnungen before any action is taken by the authorities. 

 

A friend of mine got her company account frozen due to an allegedly unpaid health insurance bill for her employee. The issue was solved by a lot of calls to the health insurance and the tax office. 

 

But the prosecution and jail threats?! Sounds fishy but maybe Berlin is different. 

 

What is a Manhnungen? I didn't receive any kind of warnings or prior letters from them. The first one was dated september but received end of October and just said "7k or jail" - no warnings

 

Just updating for those who may find this interesting... 

 

I received confirmation it is indeed related to the arbeitsamt, but the arbeitsamt has confirmed they dropped the claims against me after they corrected their letters. I even received the 3,5k back which I had panic sent them, and got another confirmation I don't owe them any money. 

 

I wrote the staatanswaltschaft about this and they said I still owe 7k BY TOMORROW or face jail time and that I intentionally was fraudulent (NOT TRUE, I WOULD NEVER DO THIS), and that I can't do anything about this. Unfortunately, I have verified this as real. 

 

Now I am confused AF. The arbeitsamt says: no fraud, no unpaid bills, youre good. The staatanswaltchaft says: arbeitsamt says you committed fraud, much unpaid bills, very not good. 

 

I have feather legal insurance but they said I cant help because the error happened in 2018, even though it only began to cause me legal trouble in october

 

So, without legal help, any one have any idea what to do??? Again, i didn't commit fraud, and the arbeitsamt has confirmed I do not owe any money. Despite this, the staatanswaltchaft continues to threaten me

 

It blows my mind the state & big companies can bully people like this without any ability to fight back. any idea of what to do? or any lawyer who might be willing to help?

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5 minutes ago, ExPattheDog said:

The arbeitsamt says: no fraud, no unpaid bills, youre good.

 

Did you send this to the Stattsanwaltschaft?

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19 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

 

Did you send this to the Stattsanwaltschaft?

 

I let them know & asked them where to send it, to which they sent a letter completely ignoring that and just saying "pay by the 11th..." so I wrote a second time saying I have proof, please tell me where I can send it

 

Essentially: they give no email or phone number or postal address to send responses, so I had to find a contact form online and miraculously they replied via post at all... nonetheless, I need a way to send the docs as a digital attachment or an address I can send the original paper docs to but need certainty the postal address is correct

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Regardless of insurance, I would still talk to a lawyer and get them to send a letter with the appropriate legal jargon and a deadline. This must be causing you a lot of stress, so definitely worth the money. 

 

 

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You know what ? You could also just let this roll and enjoy the cock up. Seriously. You know they have no claim. You have this from the AA. Just wait. Sit back. Drink tea. See what they come up with next. It sounds too ridiculous to be true. Try to get some distance on it. Easily said for sure. Maybe contact a journalist or two.

 

Bureaucracy gone potty. They deserve to be exposed.

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Yup, maybe just right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing, and in this case neither wanting to know or admit they might be wrong about what they think the left hand might be doing.

 

Paps once had a letter from HMRC telling him that he owed absolutely dringend X quid, panicked a bit, in the end decided to open the rest of the post before deciding which child to flog to raise the X quid, and the next letter was also from HMRC, announcing that they owed him the exact same X quid and here's a cheque for that amount. You couldn't make it up.

 

Hopefully something similarly bonkers is happening here, expatdog, and eventually the Staatsanwalt will come out of their self-perpetuating loop and stop with the harrassment.

 

I wouldn't send them the original docs - they seem untrustworthy. Copies maybe.

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