Monday, March 4, 2013

JNS BLOG SUPER EXCLUSIVE: Victims Of North Minneapolis Identity Theft Scheme Win Judgment Of $849,131.54

Contributed photo, 1564 Hillside Ave. N. around the time it was
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. 


Anonymous said...

If anyone learned from the examples of your case, I would think it to be funny in a way if those who will write the checks, wait a while and appeal the ruling. I don't know the victims in this case and don't wish them longer to wait but, as long as you are in their corner, let nothing come easy because, you never make it easy on anyone.

Anonymous said...

God Bless these folks for fighting the good fight, John! Keep up the internet JUSTICE! Montana

Anonymous said...

They deserve every cent they get from these people. God bless them

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how these lower-than-whale-dung identity thieves could do this to another human being.
It's an evil thing to do to another person.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, John. You know so little about the law. Why do you keep commenting on it?

Anonymous said...


Under Findings Of Fact is a description of the theft of Foster's identity and the two fraudulent real estate transactions entered into using his identity. The properties were 1564 Hillside Avenue North, Minneapolis, and 8900 12th Avenue South, Bloomington. The total borrowed in Foster's name by the scheme; approximately $500,000.

On page 9 appears the following

"Maxwell and KingRussell could not have been successful if a number of people had performed their jobs in a businesslike manner. Trent Bowman, a mortgage broker at Centennial Mortgage, approved a loan to "Foster" but never met or interviewed him, contrary to accepted practice in the industry. Bowman also permitted Maxwell to fill out the paperwork necessary to complete the loans, and he failed to take action where there were clear signs of irregular activity, including incomplete and inflated appraisals, an unreasonably high commission rate to Maxwell, and unsubstantiated disbursements to third parties. Had Bowman acted in a commercially reasonable manner, the loans to the fake "Foster" should never have been approved."

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:23 is a worthless piece of crap to wish a pointless appeal and delay of restoration to innocent victims.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Woo hoo! @Anon 11:36, that was my testimony that helped get that language in the ruling. I'm glad I had the opportunity to assist the Fosters here. This is great news for them.

Anonymous said...


John this might be worth your time to look into, and then post something on what you've learned.

There is a mechanism set up with a pot of cash, administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Hawthorne Hawkman might know of it, and details. I do not know detail, but here are two links:

I presume the Fosters' lawyer is aware of this pocket that can be reached into in appropriate cases.

What's an appropriate case, ask a lawyer. But if you publicize this, and flesh out detail, others might be encouraged to pursue things to a remedy if qualifying for being made whole from this fund.

Johnny Northside! said...

They are quite aware of the fund.

The fund requires that you FIRST try to recover your losses in court.

Johnny Northside! said...

Here is the Star Tribune article about the judgment.