The federal government is petitioning to garnish $148,831 from the Lakin Law Firm of Wood River to satisfy a debt owed by the firm's founder, Lowell Thomas "Tom" Lakin, who is now serving a six-year prison term on drug charges.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerald Burke states in a petition filed Feb. 4 that Tom Lakin, serving time at a Forrest City, Ark. prison, has satisfied only $200,300 of a $349,131 judgment.
Tom Lakin was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Phil Gilbert in October and was ordered to pay a forfeiture, restitution and for the cost of his incarceration.
"The Garnishee is believed to owe or will owe money or property to the judgment debtor, or is in possession of property of the debtor, and said property is a nonexempt interest of the debtor," the petition states.
The Lakin firm was renamed in December to LakinChapman LLC.
The petition names Brad Lakin, Tom Lakin's son, as authorized agent for the garnishee.
Brad Lakin is required by law to answer in writing, under oath, within 10 days of the writ filed with the clerk today, whether or not he has in his custody, control or possession, any property owned by his father, including non-exempt, disposable earnings.
"If you fail to answer this writ or withhold property in accordance with this writ, the United States of America may petition the Court for an order requiring you to appear before the Court," the petition states.
"If you fail to appear or do appear and fail to show good cause why you failed to comply with this writ, the Court may enter a judgment against you for the value of the debtor's non-exempt property. It is unlawful to pay or deliver to the defendant any item attached by this writ. Additionally, you may be held liable for a reasonable attorney's fee to the United States of America."
Burke wrote that there are exemptions of property that may apply, and that Brad Lakin has the right to apply for them.
"You have a right to ask the court to return your property to you if you think you do not owe the money to the Government that it claims you do, or if you think the property the Government is taking qualifies under one of the above exemptions," Burke wrote. "If you want a hearing, you must notify the court within 20 days after receipt of the notice. Your request must be in writing."