Dead Woman Used To Collect Thousands Of Debts

Martha Kunkle has been dead since 1995, but that hasn’t stopped her from trying to collect on thousands of debts. Despite being six feet under, her signature continued to be signed on thousands of affidavits filed by Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) in lawsuits against borrowers, lawsuits that are ripe for contesting because the documents they’re based on are fraudulent.

PRA had bought the debt from Providian, and employees there, who worked with Ms. Kunkle’s daughter, had forged the signatures, ad nauseum.

It just goes to show that if you get sued for a debt, particularly an old one, you need to make sure they prove that you have the debt and that they own it.

“I’ve watched and wanted to tell defendants in these suits to demand proof of the underlying debt because that proof is so often flimsy,” one Iowa judge told WSJ.

Here’s a sample letter for getting the ball rolling with doing just that, which should be one of the first things you send out if a collector is coming after you.

Dead Soul Is a Debt Collector [WSJ]

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  1. Supes says:

    She’s accomplished more dead than many people have alive. Good for her.

  2. evilpete says:

    Zombie robo signer..

  3. Southern says:

    It just goes to show that if you get sued for a debt, particularly an old one, you need to make sure they prove that you have the debt and that they own it.

    If they’re forging her signature, how is the average person to know that the documents are either fraudulent or otherwise invalid?

  4. Blueskylaw says:

    “Dead Woman Used To Collect Thousands Of Debts”

    And yet no one has gone to jail over this debacle. God forbid if I forged just one legal document that was detrimental to a bank or big corporation, I would have a flock of lawyers threatening me with jail time but these guys not only get away with it but also get a wink and a nod from the court when they come in everyday with 10,000 mortgage foreclosure documents signed by a staff of two former gas station attendants.

    • dolemite says:

      Yeah…I agree. Corporations can cause billions of dollars of damage by forging documents, performing other illegal actions, but get a slap on the wrist with a few fines. If a person does that, they go to prison.

    • ARP says:

      Thanks to SCOTUS, Corporations are people that have most of the rights, but few of the responsibilities of living people.

      • oldwiz65 says:

        That’s why corporations never face criminal prosecutions. Banks can break into your house even if you don’t have a mortgage with them, steal your possessions, change the locks, take your clothes, kill your pets, and they know d*** well the worst that can happen is a slap on the wrist and you can’t afford an attorney to defend yourself. Also it would be a civil matter, not a criminal matter, so the police will not do anything either. The system lets corporations get away with crimes that would put individuals in jail for a very long time.

        Fraud in statements? Still a civil matter, so they don’t need to worry. The regulatory agencies won’t bother them cause the agencies get money under the table from the banks anyway.

        • FrankReality says:

          I question whether signing a false affidavit is merely fraud – since it’s a legal document intended for court consumption, it may actually be perjury – a felony. But I’m not a lawyer.

          It’s clear that the banks are being protected by the Federal Reserve and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency – neither of which are fulfilling their regulatory obligations, most likely because they want to keep the mega banks in business to avoid crashing the economy. Furthermore, it’s been reported elsewhere that the FR and OCC told the states they could not prosecute the banks for anything.

          But nobody is prosecuting the mills filing the false affidavits either.

          So we have the courts getting clogged up with foreclosures with falsified documentation and affidavits. In many cases, the courts let them go through, in other cases the courts block the foreclosure until the correct and legal paperwork is produced. That’s just the foreclosure part of this.

    • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

      Apparently the court system needs the business…that loss of revenue would only mean higher taxes for you….should be on a bumper sticker: we only screw you cause we care about tax burdern…

  5. dolemite says:

    I had a debt collector send me a bill for an old insurance premium we didn’t owe (we canceled the insurance, but the company decided to bill us an extra month since they state we were supposed to provide them with proof we had insurance with another company). My wife sent them one of the letters asking to prove we owe the debt, and I’ve yet to hear back. That was about 6 months ago. I haven’t checked to see if it was still on my credit report though.

    • AllanG54 says:

      It’s called “short rating” and it’s perfectly legal. They will only cancel “pro rata” if you can show that another policy started on the date you requested them to cancel. It’s probably not on your credit report.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    “Dead Woman Used To Collect Thousands Of Debts”

    And yet no one has gone to jail over this debacle. God forbid if I forged just one legal document that was detrimental to a bank or big corporation, I would have a flock of lawyers threatening me with jail time but these guys not only get away with it but also get a wink and a nod from the court when they come in everyday with 10,000 mortgage foreclosure documents signed by a staff of two former gas station attendants.

    • Difdi says:

      Heck, they’d send you to prison if you simply made an honest mistake, let alone forging something.

  7. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    “WHAARGARBL DON’T BE DEADBEATS PAY YOUR BILLS”

    There, got that out of the way.

  8. DrLumen says:

    I’m not surprised. Junk debt buyers are notorious for this kind of crap.

    On a side note and related to the old linked post, don’t send a validation request or any other documentation with your actual signature. Just like they used a fraud signature on their paperwork, there is nothing to keep them (remember they have no morals or ethics) from pasting your signature on a promissory note or some fabricated contract or document.

    FYI.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      This shows the importance of orignal authenticated documents. This is scary. I get nervous giving personal info out anywhere at this point. Just takes one criminal or incompetent to facilitate ID theft/fraud.

    • spanky says:

      Good point. I’d add that you should avoid communicating with them at all unless you’re very clear about what your goal is and what you’re agreeing to.

      Many years ago, the debt collector for Denver’s largest public hospital was engaging in all kinds of illegal practices, including sending out a form they were asking people to sign that simply said that they could not legally garnish your wages except by court order or with your permission. Once they got the completed form, though, they were filling it in with an agreement to have your wages garnished.

      I saved mine and gave it to an investigator who was collecting evidence against them, but apparently, a lot of people signed that document and that company used it to steal their rent and grocery money.

      I didn’t owe the money they were trying to collect, but even in cases where the debt was legitimate, that was just so vile and over the top that I’ve hated debt collectors ever since. They were taking food and shelter from people who’d had a serious illness or injury or a death in the family and couldn’t afford to pay the resulting bills.

      I’m sure they’re not all thieves and reprobates, but to be on the safe side, you should always assume they are unless you have very good reason to think otherwise.

  9. nucwin83 says:

    Hate junk debt buyers, and PRA is one of the worst. They tried to get a lawyer to come after me for a debt I didn’t owe, and when I requested validation, the lawyer just dropped the case and they went right back to sending their “We want you to pay” letters.

  10. RvLeshrac says:

    Justices should be allowed to cite blatant procedural violations, such as failure to request basic items of evidence (proof of the claim), on both sides. Being an officer of the court should mean doing what is both legally *and ethically* correct.

  11. u1itn0w2day says:

    Did I read the WSJ article correctly? – The daughter of the deceased robo signer knew the company was using her mother’s name or other deceased individuals ??? Doesn’t say much for the daughter and shows how common place this was or probably is.

  12. jfusco says:

    The biggest problem is the way the FDCPA reads. “…until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment, *OR* the name and address of the original creditor…” Many collectors take that to mean they only have to send you a notice that the original debt was with SuperCard, whos addres is… And that’s all they’ll give you.

    I asked one collection company three separate times to specifically provide some sort of agreement or other proof that I actually owed the debt and all they would send is the address. When they finally sued me there was enough else going on that I filed bankruptcy. Collectors suck.

  13. UltimateOutsider says:

    Forgive me- I read the linked article but I still don’t really understand what was happening. How was the dead woman’s name involved at all? The debt that had been purchased wasn’t owed to her when she was alive, it sounds like? Why her name, and what purpose was the signature supposed to serve?

    • sqlrob says:

      It was just a signature saying that this has been investigated and approved as valid. It was used simply because it was the mother of one of the employees.

      • econobiker says:

        “because it was the mother of one of the employees.” who died in 1995…

        The person is supposed to be alive and able to appear in court or give testimony.

  14. sj_user1 says:

    Every employee should go to jail and all assets of the company should be seized by the government.

    • cspschofield says:

      I fully agree with the first half of this statement. As for the second; why give the government that allows these shananigans to go on any more money? They can’t keep track of what they have now!

      Convert it into Burger franchise gift certificates and air-drop them over the inner-cities. Then the money might do some good.

    • econobiker says:

      +1

  15. Dave Saunders says:

    People need to be chained and walked through Times Square for pulling this crap.

    …except for the dead woman, of course

  16. faislebonchoix says:

    The government needs to declare it illegal to sell delinquent debts and need to take more action against abusive debt collection practices.