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Woman claims her car was sold fraudulently

Updated: June 13, 2013 6:44PM



Two years after filing a police report alleging that her signature was forged on a document to allow a car she co-owned to be sold without her knowledge or financial benefit, Cynthia Dietz Giema is frustrated that the matter has yet to be resolved or charges filed.

“I don’t understand what’s taking so long. I provided proof it was forgery,” Giema, of Valparaiso, said.

Giema presented a copy of a letter from the U.S. Postal Service’s Forensic Laboratory Services division stating that according to their examinations, the signature on the document wasn’t hers.

What’s more, Giema’s Hobart attorney, Darcie Campanella, contends that what happened to the Valparaiso woman isn’t uncommon.

Campanella hopes this will lead to a class action lawsuit, with other victims coming forward.

In a July 20, 2011 police report filed with Jasper County police, Giema claimed an acquaintance had sold a 2008 Pontiac Solstice they owned together to Bosak Motors in Merrillville without her signing the title over to him. She claimed that someone had forged her name on a power of attorney form and that a Bosak employee notarized the form without checking identification.

Giema filed another police report in Merrillville on April 1 with the same allegations, after the Jasper County Prosecutor’s Office said the report needed to be filed where the incident occurred.

Campanella also filed civil charges of theft, fraud, and negligence in Jasper Circuit Court against Bosak Motors and three of its employees, the Chrysler Group LLC, which held the loan on the Jeep that the car was traded in for, the acquaintance and another person.

Campanella alleged the Bosak employee who notarized the power of attorney breached her notary duties by not checking the driver’s license of the person who signed Giema’s name to make sure it was Giema.

Giema is seeking three times the cost of actual damages, punitive damages, fees and other relief.

Bosak’s attorney, Jeff Halbert, of Indianapolis, declined comment.

“I prefer to try my cases in court instead of the newspapers,” Halbert said.

In a letter to Campanella, an attorney for Chrysler said the corporation shouldn’t be named as a defendant in the litigation.

An employee with the Secretary of State’ Office dealer services division said there is no state law that says a person needs to show their driver’s license when executing a power of attorney.

However, a spokeswoman for the state office said the notary should have direct knowledge that someone signed a document and not rely on the authentication of a third party. She said the statement the notary signs should be edited if necessary to accurately represent what happened.

Notaries who are found to have falsified documents could have their commission revoked by the secretary of state’s office, county circuit court or superior court judge, the spokeswoman said. She said a claim can be filed in the case of fraud, errors or omissions.

Indiana notaries are required to have a $5,000 bond.

The state employee denied that what happened to Giema is a common occurrence, but added they wouldn’t get involved unless the prosecutor’s office contacts them.

Giema and Campanella are frustrated that the case hasn’t gotten to the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office as yet. Part of the problem is that Giema first filed the report in Jasper County, where the person she believes forged her name lives.

Merrillville police Detective Sgt. Jeff Rice said he is still reviewing the case and upon completion, will present the information he has to the prosecutor’s office to decide if it wants to press any charges.

He said Giema only filed the report in Merrillville last month.



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