sold for an inflated sum, blog post by John Hoff
John Foster and Melony Michaels, who were the victims of a mortgage fraud scheme involving 1564 Hillside Ave. N. (pictured above) and one other property, have won a civil suit filed against participants in the scheme. Click here to read the entire Order For Damages, issued recently by the Honorable Judge Mel Dickstein.
After a long and difficult struggle, this judgment is a massive victory and may very well be the largest civil judgment ever won by a victim of mortgage fraud. (That is entirely speculative, and if anybody can ferret out contrary information please post it) While the civil suit was complicated enough, the shocking facts in the criminal case tumbled injuriously like a dum dum bullet and gave rise to...
...other complex legal actions. Tynessia Snoddy (the realtor involved in the fraudulent deal) was convicted of a related fraud and sent to prison. Jerome Kingrussell, who cut a deal and testified against mortgage fraud mastermind Larry Maxwell, couldn't abide by the law and went to prison despite his earlier cooperation. And disgraced former JACC Executive Director Jerry Moore, who was a "little fish" involved in the "1564" deal, sued this blogger for mentioning his heavily documented involvement and Moore ended up losing the Blogosphere Trial of the Century, but not until the Court of Appeals made its ruling.
The most important factor in this case was "the victims who would not be victims" and actually launched their own criminal investigation, which ultimately spawned an official criminal investigation that put Larry Maxwell in prison for 198 months. What happened to the Fosters is eerily similar in some very specific ways to the movie "Identity Theft" which is in theaters right now, enjoy this trailer embedded below.
It's probably harmless to reveal at this point that the Foster family was terrified of what would happen with this lawsuit, mostly because of critical and probing questions asked by Judge Mel Dickstein. But as fate would have it, the wise judge was simply getting to the bottom of everything and showing nobody favoritism.
Though I might quibble in a minor way with some specific portions of the ruling, all the same, Judge Dickstein's Order For Damages is a thoughtful document which appears to deliver a good and heaping measure of justice even if the plaintiffs deserve (I think) something closer to a million dollars. The ruling draws heavily upon a chronological reiteration of the essential facts which was carefully written up and submitted by attorney Shari L. Lowden, but there's nothing wrong with that. The judge was very careful to obtain the facts and made the plaintiff's attorney work hard. But, ultimately, damages of roughly $850,000 will go a long ways (certainly not all the way) toward rectifying the massive injustice done to the plaintiffs, hard working suburbanites who did nothing wrong and whose only "crime" was to have outstanding credit.
Most importantly, this judgement includes entities with "deep pockets" covered by insurance, especially First USA Title LLC. Unlike my own judgment of approximately $3,000 against Jerry Moore, the judgment won by "Melony and John" may prove relatively easy to collect without the involvement of a tow truck moving under cover of darkness.
There will be more news and analysis of this important legal ruling in the days and weeks to come. In the meantime, I urge readers to give the judge's order a real good looking over and draw your own conclusions. This is a big day in the struggle against "bad actors" in North Minneapolis and a victory for identity theft victims across the nation.