Criminal Actions For Debt Claims


Posted and filed under Criminal Law, Legal Issues in Spain.

criminal actions for debt claims

We will explain everything you need to know about criminal actions for debt claims.

When you can you use criminal actions for debt claims?

Usually in Spain the law states that claiming debts from someone or a company is a civil issue. This usually originates from a breach of contract.

However, many people do not realise that there are incidences that a breach of contract could be considered a fraud. If there is a fraud, then criminal actions for debt claims could be used.

What are examples?

criminal actions for debt claims

Examples of criminal actions for debt claims could be if the debtor never intended to complete the contract and was stringing the other party alone. Or if an Estate Agent keeps the money from a buyer or seller that really they are not entitled to. In addition, if a promotor receives a deposit or further payments but the property is never built.

Criminal Actions

It is true that generally, a criminal action might take longer than a civil action in the Courts. But sometimes it can be the best way. It can also sometimes be the only way to get paid if the debtor does not have any money.

Sometimes, however, it is the case that the debtor does have money. But they do not pay when they receive the news of a legal action against them in the Courts. They may decide to wait and by the time the Action comes to Court, they will have hidden their assets. It is a big difference though if they are accused of fraud, find out there is a criminal action against them and their lawyer says they are looking at potentially being in a Spanish prison for several years. Many times we have known a client get an offer of money then.

We cannot always claim debts by using criminal actions but do let us know whether you have a situation we can help with especially now when debtors could try to avoid payments.


  • Usama Ali Rana

    Hello my name is usama and j live in spain
    In 2017 i came from Pakistan to spain because my father had a business over here in spain.
    But in 2018 he named all the business on my name when i was 18 years old and i did not know anything he ever did my fake signs on the papers after that he did not payed any tax and bank money and electric and gas bills because it was on my name.Now in 2019 he left us and divorced my mother and he ran away . And now i have debt of 7000 euro to pay to the tax office. 7000 euros to the bank and 8 thousand for the gas and electric and im still 21 years old and dont know what to do .Please help me please tell me something this was a big fraud .Thankyou

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Usama, What a terrible situation, we are sorry. Well our advice is that you can try with the local Guardia Civil to do a denuncia against your father as identity fraud. It may be that, if you could demonstrate that you did not know anything, you will have some advantage against the debt claim. You can then send that denuncia to both the Tax Office (or maybe better to arrange a meeting) and with the utility companies. You can also ask for a bankruptcy as a fiscal person in the Courts. I am not sure we are going to be able to help you, you may need an asesor local to you, but we wish you all the best. You could also contact the Citizens Advice Spain for free advice on this matter. Kind regards

      Anyway, he can ask for a bancrupcy as a fisical person, in Court.

  • Ian

    Hi. I am getting a works pension from uk
    I am living in Spain. I did not know I have to pay tax on it. I was made redundant in January. I got a lump sum of 14000 in 2017. I also get a small monthly amount every month under 200 pounds. I got a letter from the tax office. Saying I did not declare 2256 euros in 2018. So I took my fiscal and one years bank statements to show my pension was paid in. Now I have another letter saying they want 2017 fiscal. I only got two payments of pension in 2017. November and December. That when it started. So do I just give them two months statements. The statements will take three weeks to get from England because 2017 is not in the archive so they cannot email them to me. They have to send. The other thing is I’m leaving Spain in 7 weeks to live back in uk. Can you help me with a solution. Do I have to show the statement on my lump sum. Thanks.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Thank you for your enquiry Ian,

      This has been passed to Ana who deals with the taxes, we are certain we can help.

      Kind regards

  • Tammy

    Hello. The man I love traveled to Spain on business in July of 2017. He got in trouble by and owed debt that he was unable to pay. I could not get him enough money to help him out of this debt. He was placed in prison in 2019. He is still there. With the help of a friend there we have managed to pay over 60000. He was given bail. 8000. I took loans, he got sick and needed surgery, he got it I paid for it. He got more sick and was sent to the hospital ICU. And had a bill for over 12000 I took on more debt and managed to pay that to. He was sent back to jail to await seeing the Judge and have him sign his release. Then just before he was released. They said no he owes another 8000 for his cell over the last 2 Years. I took more loans and got it paid, then he got sick again but rather than send him to the hospital they kept him in the jail infirmary 1 week. I was given a bill for 3200. It was paid. Just before he was let out. They came back and said. No he still owes 3100. I have given closed to 40 grand in a month. I am ruined financially. The friend there has sold his belongings and worked some outside labor jobs. I have sent what I could to help but we are 550 from our goal. Thus has been a complete nightmare. There is zero mercy for him and they botched his surgery and made him more sick. Yet they keep him in jail. Won’t allow him to make a phone call for help. Spain is not a third world country, yet my man has been held for ransom for over 2 years. I am so disgusted and distraught over the way we have been treated. I just want some justice for him. They are planning to send him back to prison for owing 550. What do I do?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Tammy, I am sorry about the situation. But no one has to pay for prison, only for any fines related to the problem. You need to talk with the solicitor who has been dealing with the case.We wish you the best but we cannot help. With kind regards,

  • Martin OMALLEY

    Being robbed by Bankia now caixa bank we purchased a lifemark bonds in2007 which was being handled by a uk company but was told it had to bedone in Spain our bank at the time was Bank caja charging us 6o to 70 euros every 6 months they were taken over by Bankia the charges went to250 euros each 6 months we tried to close the account and the said it was ellegal todo the bond had gone bust around this time. We tried to close all our accounts and they kept 6 cents in one of the accounts for this they want to charge me 15 euros per month service charge When we asked for a copy of the contract it had been signed with forged signatures. Ihave copies of this contract and proof of all their fees. Now i received e-mails and telephone calls from a debt collection agency on aweekly basis
    Please can you help i have spoken to various solicitors about it and don’t seem to want to know yours hopefully Martin OMALLEY

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Martin,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      We are sorry to hear of your situation, we will contact you directly to discuss this matter further.

      Kind regards

  • Nell

    We had a a business in Spain but sold it on and moved back to the Uk
    We owed taxes to Agencia Tributaria and also we’re unable to pay our mortgage for the last 4years on the house we still have in Spain
    Have just found out from our neighbours that someone has come and changed the locks to the house. We have spoken to the bank and they have said that it has nothing to do with
    Could it be the tax men that have put an embargo on the property and we have not been informed , unless there was notifications by post that we have not seen as we have not gone back due to coronavirus. We do not have the money to pay the taxes or the mortgage so is there any solution to this

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Nell, please can you send me an email to with where the property is located and if possible a copy of the deeds, Kind regards Amanda

  • A

    I got a payday loan which I’ve been unable to pay back and now it has doubled and I’m being threatened with court action, I don’t know what to do

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Aimy, If the loan was provided in Spain please send us copies of the communications regarding this and we will see if we can help in any way, however we do not do legal aid. Kind regards

  • Ingrid

    What does one do when they have some outstanding debt with a bank but do not have the means to pay? I was in Spain on a student visa so I was not allowed to work. My Spanish bank offered me a line of credit, knowing that I didn’t have a salary in Spain. I got into an emergency situation and used some of the line of credit. I tried to work outside of Spain to pay it off but then the company had financial problems and couldn’t pay me. So I have not been able to pay anything and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to get into trouble, but when you can’t legally work I’m not sure what my options are. Thanks for any advice!

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Ingrid, The only thing you can do really is to keep good communication with them and try to arrange an even tiny payment until you are able to do more. We hope you find something soon. Kind regards

  • Ama

    Hello , I registered for course online, down the line I couldn’t afford the course anymore , and I don’t speak spainish well . So I decided to stop the course . The school refused to cancel the course . I haven’t participated in any of the course activities. They have brought a letter to sue me for bleech of contract , how can I resolve it .I Don’t have any intentions of paying them a dime for something I didn’t benefit from nor cancelled.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Ama, I am sorry, you need to check the terms and conditions of the course and if it says you are entitled to a refund if you cancel then contact a lawyer near to the school. With kind regards

  • Sabah Attia

    I owe this person 78000 euros since 2018 who is resident in Spain his residency he has to renew it every 2years because he
    I live in uk please help me how to get my money

    He holds an Algerian passport .
    Please tell me how to get my money
    I live in uk
    Best regards

    • Nicola Ryan

      Thank you for your enquiry Sabah,

      This may be a matter for the Police in the UK. You would need the address of the debtor to be able to contact them to formally request the money back. A solicitor would be able to send a legal letter to them. We hope you get this matter resolved quickly.

      Kind regards

  • Claire Spruce

    Can you please help me

    • Nicola Ryan

      Yes, of course Claire.

      We will contact you directly to discuss how we can help.

      Kind regards

  • Luis

    Hello, I am being contacted to pay Council Tax debt by an enforcement agency and today I managed to do the only deal they could accept which unfortunately might be a little too steep for me. I will try to uphold the agreement but I am moving to spain in about 2 months for life, my only fear is that if im unable to pay for 1 month or 2 they will somehow try to charge me over there or whatever. I dont even know if they can send an agent to my house or anything in Spain, I am very worried.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Luis, You need to ask a UK lawyer about this as we don’t know what the UK may do, however to enforce a debt here they would have to go to Court or get a European enforcement order. But the best thing is to try to talk with them and sort this out. Kind regards

  • Sarah

    Hello, I have an outstanding loan in a finance company. It was 800eur. I was not able to pay and my details was pasa to proccobro. I have been asking if I can pay monthly 50eur. But they dont want to accept
    They want mw to pay 2,000uer. Now they arw saying a gestor will viait me at home. Is thia legal? Please help

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Sarah, Well, I am afraid you have the obligation to pay but companies don’t send anyone to your house usually, they send several letters (possibly signed for, which is maybe what they meant), phone calls. You will probably receive letters soon, Kind regards.

  • Louise Downey

    Hi my mother lives in Spain she is elderly but in the eyes of the law competent and has capacity. She was befriended by a waiter who then after a few months started to ask her for money at first 400euros all taken from the atm never over 1000 at any one time usually after her pension goes through. He now owes 18,000 euros and has depleted her bank savings. He keeps promising to pay back then asks for more as he is getting money from the Netherlands, he tells her more money will make his money come quicker , this has been the story for 8 months. We found out today he is known in the area well for being a con man and has even been on TV yet gets away with it. What can we do?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Louise, I am sorry to hear this. To advise, we would need more information, bank statements, whatsApps. A criminal claim could be difficult, but maybe we can claim the reimbursement of the loan, if your mother is local to our office. If she is, and you wish to pursue a legal case, please contact us by email. With kind regards, Amanda

  • G randles

    Hi, 8 years ago, my wife and I along with our 2 children spend a period of time living in Spain. Due to a relationship breakdown, my wife and our 2 you d children moved back to the UK, I followed a month later. We rented a property from a private landlord, and of course we only stayed in that property for 4-5 months before heading back to the UK. Effectively, we did not stay for the full length of the tennanacy. My wife and I quickly made things right, as it was just a strange period when we both lost our heads a little at the same time. Anyway, we’d like to go back to Spain to visit family in the same area, but fear than we owe money and that could result in an arrest. We don’t believe we do, but we don’t want to take that risk especially as our children are coming with us. Any advice?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Good morning, It is extremely unlikely that you would be unaware of any court action. You could both apply for criminal record certificates in Spain but they take months and it would cost around 400€ so probably not worth doing. With kind regards

  • Susan Stewart

    Good Morning,
    In Oct 2021 we applied for Residency in Spain. We took out the required Medical Insurance but, unfortunately the Residency was refused in Jan 2022. We were then forced to leave immediately and have not returned since. We did not give a thought to the insurance and simply wrote it off as a loss. We are now being hounded by the insurance company for payments of over €2500 for 2023. We have written and explained we haven’t been in the country since and apologised for our oversight in failing to cancel the policy. We have also explained that we don’t have those types of funds to hand. We lost everything when we tried to move to Spain.
    We have offered to pay in installments to which they agreed but then they demanded 6 payments of just short of €500 which we cannot afford.
    We have a State pension if under £700 and a government pension of £1200 after rent and utilities there simply isn’t €500 to spare.
    ASSSA say they will prosecute us but can they .

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Susan, I am sorry to hear this. Firstly, please make sure that the insurance is definitely cancelled now. Unfortunately you have entered into a contract and so yes it is binding and they could prosecute. However, if you have no assets in Spain, no property, car, bank account, I don’t think it would be enough for them to try to prosecute here and then enforce the Judgement overseas. With kind regards

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