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Ex's divorce lawyer: Send 3 years of complete financials or else. Me: As you wish.

TLDR at the end.

This happened several years ago when my ex and I were going through a heated divorce/custody battle. While we were married, we had a couple of conversations about how rich people hide their assets to avoid paying taxes. I've never had enough assets to do this, but she somehow got the idea that I was and told her attorney that I was laundering money and hiding income. It was more likely the heat of the moment as divorce/custody battles often come down to. I couldn't even afford my own attorney so I represented myself.

Her lawyer wasn't a total ass, but he clearly was out to get me, and he talked down to me like I didn't deserve to breathe the same air. One day, I get a letter in the mail from him requesting an updated income declarations form and 3 years of financials. It had a long ass list of things to include.

I own a communications tech company that was in super startup phase back then. Money was already tight. I was trying to get this business off the ground with no financing, I was finishing my MBA with scholarships and loans, so paying for copies and postage or driving this 30 miles to his office meant eating peanut butter and saltines for a week. So I called him to explain my situation. He all but called me a liar and didn't believe I couldn't afford it.

I was put off by that, and I said this was taking time away from business I needed to handle. To which he replied (and I'll never forget this), "Well, according to your income declarations, you're not that busy. What do you do all day?" He then said if he didn't get these documents, he would consider my previous filings as fraudulent tell the judge, contact the DA, and also alert the state tax agency and IRS. Probably an empty threat, but I'm no lawyer.

Efax is one of the services my company provides, and at this time it was relatively unknown. So I asked him if he has a fax machine. He said he had a fax/scanner/copier device, then said what law office doesn't have a fax machine? And I suddenly got an idea. Okay, I said to him, I'll put together and fax whatever I can.

Okay, motherfucker. You want 3 years of financials? You got it.

I scanned-to-PDF every receipt I could find. McDonald's receipt from 5 years ago? Fuck it, won't hurt to include it. CVS receipt? It's 3 miles long, perfect. They get the $1 off toothpaste coupons too.

I downloaded every bank statement, credit card statement, purchase orders from vendors, and every invoice I sent to clients. I printed to PDF the entire 3 year accounting journal, monthly/quarterly/annual balance sheets, cash flow statements, P & L's. Not only did I PDF 3 years of tax filings, but every single letter I received from the IRS and state tax agency, including the inserts advising me of my rights. It took awhile, but I was a few days ahead of the deadline!

I made a cover page black background with white lettering. Wherever I could, I included separator pages in all caps in the biggest, boldest font that would fit on the page in landscape: 20XX RECEIPTS, 20XX TAXES, etc. I merged everything into a single 150+ page compressed PDF and sent the document using my Efax system. Every hour or so, I received a status email saying the fax failed. Huh, that's weird. Well, they're getting this document. So I changed the system configuration to unlimited retries after failures to keep redialing until it went through. Weird, I was still getting status email failures. I'll delete the failure emails and keep the success one after it eventually goes through, I thought. Problem solved.

Two days later, a lady from his office called and asked me to stop sending the fax. Their fax/scanner/printer/copier had been printing non-stop. It kept getting paper jams, kept running out of ink and they had to keep shutting it off and back on to print.

I explained that her boss told me to send this by the deadline or else he would call the DA and IRS. Since I didn't want a call from the DA or the IRS, I would keep sending until I get a success confirmation. I suggested they just not print until my fax completes, but she didn't like that.

She asked me to email the documents, and I told a little white lie that my email wouldn't allow an attachment that big. Unless her boss in writing agreed to cancel the request or agree to reimburse me for my costs to print and ship, I said I would continue to fax until they confirm they have received every page.

She put me on hold, and the attorney gets on the line. He said forget sending the financials. I said that I would need this in writing, so I will keep sending the fax until he sent that to me. He asked me to stop faxing and he would send it in writing, and I said send it in writing first and then I'll stop.

Long moment of silence... click.

About 20 minutes later, I received an email from his assistant with an attached, signed letter in PDF that I no longer needed to provide financials. The letter then threatened to pursue sanctions in court or sue me for interfering with their business. Every time I saw him after that, the lawyer never brought up sanctions, lawsuits, criminal referrals, or financials again.

TLDR; ex accuses me of hiding income and money laundering, her divorce lawyer demands 3 years of financials, I spam fax them with my company's Efax service.

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