I can help you with this as I am going through this right now with several people in Belize City.
You have to go to civil court in Caye Caulker and file an action which will cost $4.00bz to file. ( civil court is good for any amounts under $5,000.bz and you don't need a lawyer you can do it yourself.
A friend or agent can file for you but you will have to come to the court date which will be after they serve the defendant with a summons. (You will have to keep on top of it and keep phoning the court because they are not very good at notifying you of court dates on their own.)
If you have a paper such as a promissary note which he has signed you will probably get a judgement against him pretty easily. again on your court date you can represent yourself and explain to the judge the circumstances and present your evidence. (be prepared to return to court on several occasions before it actually gets to trial.)
If you get a judgement the magistrate will decide how and when payments will be made.... sometimes depending on what the defendant asks for with regard to his ability to pay, job situation and family commitments etc...
Getting a judgement...thats the easy part...collecting this is the hard part....
If he does not pay, you go to the Bailiff and first get a distress warrant. They will go to his residence and collect
non essential possesions of his and sell them at auction.(they can't take his bed, clothing or other such "essentials of living". you will then get paid from the proceeds. If he has nothing of value or the proceeds are not enough to cover the judgement, you go back to the bailiff and apply for a commital warrant, which means the magistrate will order that they take him to jail for a certain amount of time(usually a couple or few months) or until he makes some sort of payment.
If he does not pay he will stay in jail for the time the judge sets and once he is released the debt is still owing. so you wait a while and again if he dosen't pay you go back again, and again until he gets the message.
Sounds like a lot of hassle for 1500 especially since you are in the US but unfortunately that is exactly what he is relying on. so it really is up to you.
If you don't plan on spending some time down here the cost of a flight is going to be more than you will probably recover plus all the hassle. It is a very long and tedious process and you have to monitor it closely. It has taken me over a year to collect on four actions I have filed and been awarded judgements, and the monthly payents are small and infrequent from $20 - 200 per month. You will need a lot of patience and an incredible amount of persistance.
Edited by Capt. Hollywood (07/15/11 07:32 AM)
Edit Reason: spelling