Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New York Squaliforme enabler faces criminal charges

Attorney's General have a tendency to take action on behalf of consumers when there is a political opportunity in the making, and New York's have been famous for it.

Andrew Cuomo is sure to be running for Governor of New York and he's decided to get tough with a company called American Legal Process and its CEO William Singler.

The process server was hired by debt collection mills in New York to serve summons and complaint papers to notify individuals that they were being sued. Problem is, a large number of those alleged servings were not performed, leaving the field ripe for law firms to obtain default judgments as fast as they could be processed.

Some victims didn't even know they had been sued until their wages were garnished or their bank accounts raided. Stories include victims suddenly not being able to get money out of their ATM or use their debit cards.

Singler also covered up his scheme by falsifying documents that were filed in courts across the state, swearing that proper legal notification had been duly served upon the victims. The AG's investigation uncovered instances where ALP's servers falsified dates and times, including being stupid enough to report serving papers at four different addresses at the same moment and having somehow traveled over 10,000 miles in a single day.

ALP and Singler now face civil and criminal charges including criminal possession of a forged instrument, offering a false instrument for filing, operating a scheme to defraud and committing fraud through being a notary public.

Better yet, Cuomo's office is also going after one of ALP’s largest customers, Forster & Garbus, who used ALP to serve over 28,000 summons and complaints even though it knew or should have known they hadn't been properly served.

All in all, Cuomo's office believes 98,000 people in New York were probably denied their right to respond to a suit against them between January of 2007 and October of 2008. No one knows at this point in time what percentage of those cases were utterly bogus. There's the smell of a class-action suit in the air.

Problem is, that's the tip of the iceberg; one state over a period of just twenty-two months.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean