Saturday, January 14, 2006

1 stolen wallet, $412,000 in hole

The Trib ran this story last week (subscription needed maybe).

Basically, this performer at Second City Chicago had her wallet stolen and quickly called to cancel all of her cards and shit. Here's where it gets a little off-the-wall. The thieves used her belongings to pose as her to open a series of morgages on Chicago buildings. Then the loan companies came after her and ruined her credit, trying also to get her to pay the $412,000 tab they had been stuck with. In addition to having no credit, she had to pay about $10,000 in legal bills.

I'm not a big fan of a lot of the horror stories in the newspaper because there's not really much to be learned from them. However, I hope we do learn a bunch from this one.

So what went wrong?
1. The CPD did nothing. When she told the police what was going on, not only did they fail to track those using her identity, but one of them told her to dye her hair move out of town.

2. Those OKing the sales were complete morons. The person posing as Ross in the deals used a driver's license with no state ID# on it. The contact addresses on the contract were empty lots. The lawyer presiding is facing charges for losing another family their home. The actual owners of the properties were not involved at all, and also listed with fake addresses.

3. The courts provided no protection, but instead were used as a means for the loan companies who held the fradulent morgages to harass Ross and the actual owners.

In the end, in addition to Ross' losses, two of the home owners were forced to pay a large sum to settle their fake mortgages and the third lost the property entirely.

If anything, the banks should just foot the bill. After all, they were involved and stood to make a lot of money on the loans. The people left dealing with the costs are people who had nothing to do with the incident--there was nothing they could do to prevent the fraud.


Blogger Gar said...

ouch. the only (im)moral to that story seems to be that there's a heckuva lot of money to be made off stealing people's wallets and not getting caught. how could the police and various financial institutions be so completely incompetent? >=[

2:04 AM  
Blogger Cattygurl said...

Also, the new bankrupcy bill makes it harder for the victim to file a desperately needed bankrupcy due to health crises or crimes such as this.

The onus and bulk of responsibility lands on the victim, NOT the criminals or financial institutions.

9:23 PM  
Blogger xian said...

gar: yeah, talk about "incentive to work"! Who wants to work a real job when it's so much more survivable to swindel people?

CG: That's a great point. Hopefully, in situations like this, it would never get as far as bankrupcy, but the shift in financial law that you refer to is essentially a way to extend indentured servitude to lending insitutions.

3:39 PM  

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