A Dead Woman's Name Was Robo-Signed On Thousands Of Debt-Collection Documents

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Photo: L. Marie via Flickr

A dead woman’s name was signed onto thousands of affidavits produced by a credit card issuer called Providian National Corp, the Wall Street Journal reports.That deceased woman is Martha Kunkle, and she died in 1995.

It’s unfortunate that this isn’t at all shocking. (This is more like it.) If you’ve been following the robo-signing debacle, aka foreclosure-gate, you know that thousands of robo-signers who worked for subsidiaries of big companies like JPMorgan and Bank of America were “signing documents left and right,” not knowing what they were signing.

So because of a relaxed, irresponsible system, a dead woman’s name could be signed onto a loan document (like a mortgage) pretty easily, because tons of the people responsible for checking the paperwork simply didn’t read it before signing.

In this case, Providian, the company responsible for producing the affidavits with the dead woman’s name, was once owned by WaMu and obviously now belongs to JP Morgan. Providian sold an unknown number of delinquent account balances to debt collector Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA), which then sued the borrowers to collect the debt.

One of the people PRA sued tried to find Martha Kunkle, because Kunkle’s name was on the affidavit that concerned her case. Obviously, she couldn’t. So her lawyers tracked down Kunkle’s daughter, who, funnily enough, worked in one of Providian’s document-processing divisions.

Perhaps she knew signing her mother’s, a dead woman’s, name wouldn’t be a problem at Providian.

The daugher ended up admitting that Providian employees – including herself — used her mum’s name when signing affidavits. Up to 16,000 borrowers were targeted with these robo-signed documents.

For the full story, go to the WSJ >

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