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NBA player faces bank account seizure over debt

Longtime professional basketball player Allen Iverson reportedly may have his bank account assets garnished in a Southern U.S. state. Although each state controls what steps a creditor must follow to lawfully seize bank accounts or garnish wages, creditors generally can sue to collect on a debt in every state of the union, including Ohio.

The National Basketball Association veteran may be seeing the money in his bank account seized after a judge allowed the creditor access to the ball player's Wells Fargo bank account. Seizure of money from a bank account can differ greatly than a wage garnishment order.

Generally, a creditor that has a judgment on a debt after a civil lawsuit can seek to garnish a worker's paycheck. In Iverson's case, however, the judge reportedly granted the judgment creditor access to the ballplayer's bank account. Generally, a bank account seizure allows the creditor to take all of the funds from the bank account. In wage garnishment cases, at least in Ohio, a creditor can only garnish 25 percent of a worker's post-tax income per paycheck.

Apparently, a jewelry store in Atlanta sued Iverson in 2010, seeking to collect on a $375,000 bill that the NBA player amassed. The lawsuit claimed that the pro had purchased nearly $700,000 worth of jewelry from the store in 2008 and 2009, but only paid a portion of the outstanding balance. The jewelry store claims that at some point, the ballplayer stopped paying on the debt.

The creditor initially sued on the debt. News reports indicate that the NBA player did not appear in court for the civil suit and the judge granted the creditor a default judgment. The ballplayer now reportedly owes the jeweler a much higher balance, with interest and attorneys fees from legal proceedings tacked on to the original debt.

The jeweler initiated a bank account seizure proceeding to gain access to the bank account. News reports suggest Iverson did not show to defend against the bank seizure and the judge granted the creditor access to the bank account. The creditor, however, still does not know if any money is in the account. Iverson apparently has not made any public comments related to the issue.

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Judge: Jeweler can garnish NBA Iverson's bank account," Fran Jeffries, Jan. 31, 2012

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