He bought a house with money earned from fraud
Fatwa No: 160383

Question

Assalamu Alayk, I have earned unlawful money through credit card fraud while living in the United states whereby I apply for credit cards in other peoples names and use the credit and dont pay for it.The government eventually bears the loss even though the credit card owners also undergo some inconveniences not financial loss.I have used the money i gained from this unlawful activity to build a house in my home country. I was later arrested by the government and was sentensed to 39 months in prison which I served. I was asked to pay back the money when i get released and was working in the country but I got deported on release which makes me unable to pay the money of which the government is aware. Now since I have received the punishment and was willing to pay back the money provided I was deported, what am I supposed to do now that I am deported and have repented and want to start freshly with halal. Can I benefit from the house or I have to sell the house and give it to charity. Also, not all the money from haram was used to build the house but most of it like 80 percent. Please advise me

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Indeed, you did well by regretting this forbidden act but repentance does not become complete unless you return the rights to their owners, whether it is a the government or else. However, if being deported means that the government has dropped its right, then you are acquitted from it. But if being deported does not mean that the government’s right has been dropped, then you are still obliged to give back that right whenever you become able to, and if it is not possible to give it back to the government, you should give the same amount in charity to the poor and destitute.

As regards the house which you built most of it with that ill-gotten money, then it is your house and it is not forbidden for you to benefit from it and you do not have to sell it if you are able to give back the government’s right with other money [without selling it].

However, some scholars are of the view that it is not good to benefit from what is purchased with illegally taken money except after seeking the forgiveness from the people whom one has wronged and giving them their rights back.

Allaah Knows best.

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