Your three main options are to get the money back from him yourselves (this option appears to have failed), to report the roommate to the authorities for theft, or to sue the roommate in small claims court. If the ex-roommate has a drug problem and no money, your judgment might not be worth the paper it is written on. If law enforcement investigates and the local prosecutor is willing to pursue the matter, getting restitution for you is a realistic possibility. Often prosecutors will incentivize quick payment of restitution by offering favorable deals to defendants. On the other hand, if you sue the defendant in small claims court, you could ask for exemplary or punitive damages as the victim of a crime and because the roommate acted without regard to your rights. You could potentially sue the defendant and report him to law enforcement.
Please mark answers you appreciate with positive feedback!<p><a href="http://www.msm-law.com/nicholaspasse.html">Attorney Nicholas J. Passe</a><p><l>Disclaimer: Per the avvo.com community guidelines, no attorney/client relationship is created by the asking or answering of questions on this web site, nor do the answers constitute legal advice. Always hire an attorney before making any important legal decisions. Posting details of a case on avvo.com may be subject to discovery in criminal or civil litigation, so erring on the side of nondisclosure is wise.<p><a href="http://www.msm-law.com">Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd.</a>
The only way to have authority for the old roommate to pay you back is through a collection lawsuit. Even then, it sounds like it may be difficult if not impossible to force the roommate to pay back the money.
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