What’s the most dishonest thing you’ve witnessed a family member do?

In October 2014 I received an e-mail from Bank of America, thanking me for my recent electronic payment toward my credit card. I didn’t have an account with Bank of America and hadn’t since I was 19.

It had actually been brought up during a security clearance interview a month prior, but I didn’t initially make this connection in my mind.

I initially brushed this off as a phishing attempt, and went to work.

I was in the Navy at the time and had just finished 5 years of sea duty. I was decompressing at shore duty, spending my work days laser engraving command plaques and doing college courses. I’d then spend my nights drinking, a habit I had picked up during my time at sea.

The e-mail was bothering me, so I decided to show it to my supervisor, who was also the security manager for the command. He recommended that I check my credit report, which I promptly did.

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I had recently went back home to see my family after three years, even though I didn’t want to. My family was very dysfunctional; my mom had been in and out of prison throughout my adolescence and my dad was always in a bad mood. They made it clear that they wanted me to leave, so I saw no reason to go back.

I go into more detail in my book:

The Machinator: An Autistic Navy Veteran’s Critique of Normality: Nizza, Justin P: 9798698350729: Amazon.com: Books

I hopped onto my Equifax report and learned that there were two credit cards open in my name – neither of which were mine – totaling around $10,000 in debt.

I called Equifax to claim fraud and was told to call the bank, one of which was Bank of America.

Once the bank started reading off the charges made on the card, I remembered how – while back home on leave – my mom pointed out that my credit was almost perfect, opening my mail knowing full and well that this was illegal.

The charges were all at places my mom frequented around her house, and the first charge on the statement was from Victoria’s Secret.

I confronted my mom about it on Facebook and she started apologizing profusely, begging me not to tell anybody about it, promising to pay me back within six months. She also said she hoped she’d have paid it off before I noticed.

I then gave her the money to pay the bank so she wouldn’t go to prison, draining all of the savings I had accrued on sea duty.

After six months she still hadn’t began the process of paying me back; every time I asked her about payment she had another excuse, usually a phone or TV bill. At that point I realized her phone and TV were more important to her than I was. I then told her about my alcohol dependency and threatened to hurt myself. She said nothing for six months, then told me she promised she would pay me back as soon as she could.

After three years and only receiving roughly 1/10th of the total amount back, I decided that I didn’t want her to pay me back anymore; the window for reconciliation had passed. I realized that not having her in my life would make me happier than getting my money back ever would.

Ironically, I never planned on making her pay me back, the only reason I demanded it was because she never even put in the effort to do the right thing.

I have not spoken to her directly in four years.

I talk about this on my YouTube channel.

www.youtube.com/justinnizza

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