Deceased Womans Name Was Robo-Signed on Thousands of Affidavits
In 2008, Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc. was sued for fraud after affidavits were submitted bearing the name of Martha Kunkle, who died in 1995.
It appears that Martha Kunkle has come back to life. Last July, lawyers for Portfolio Recovery Associates sought judgment in a lawsuit against a Seattle woman for $2,892.10 in credit-card debt and interest that she allegedly owed. It was a fairly standard debt-collection case except that Portfolio included an affidavit signed by Martha Kunkle to vouch for the debt’s validity.
A spokeswoman for Portfolio Recovery said the document was “inadvertently used by our outside counsel” because of “human error,” adding that the suit was dropped later “upon review of the case.” She also stated that Mrs. Kunkle’s name does not appear on any other affidavits submitted in other cases.
This practice of robo-signing, in which affidavits are signed without fully reviewing underlying documentation, is more common in debt-collection cases than foreclosures.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is investigating numerous debt buyers debt collectors for this practice of falsifying affidavits. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said he wants to investigate whether Martha Kunkle’s name appears on any affidavits used to collect debt in the state of Missouri.
Concerns about Ms. Kunkle’s affidavits were raised in 2008 by lawyers for Jeanie Cole, one of thousands of Montana residents sued by Portfolio Recovery Associates to collect debts. After failing to locate Ms. Kunkle, lawyers for Ms. Cole interviewed her daughter, who worked at Providian in a document-processing division. Providian National Corp, a credit-card issuer, sold a number of delinquent account balances to Portfolio Recovery Associates and other debt collectors, which then sued the borrowers to collect the debt.
The daughter testified in a deposition that other Providian employees used the name Martha Kunkle when signing affidavits. Along with other employees, the daughter was responsible for signing affidavits. After counter suing Portfolio Recovery Associates for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Ms. Cole was the lead plaintiff in a 2008 federal-court suit in Montana alleging the company targeted 16,000 borrowers using “false and misleading” affidavits.
Article Source: Dead Soul Is a Debt Collector