Paul Levy Discovers Head Of Reputation Management Company Signed Off On Forged/Fraudulent Court Docs
from the how-the-terrible-have-fallen...-lower...-I-guess... dept
As a result of a federal judge in Rhode Island taking a second look at an order he hastily granted earlier, Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen has been able to confirm Richart Ruddie -- the head of an extremely-sketchy reputation management company -- signed off on the forged and fraudulent documents delivered to the court. The documents -- a bogus lawsuit featuring the forged signatures of both the plaintiff and the defendant -- are apparently just part of Profile Defenders' reputation management work.
Nice work if you can get [away with] it. File a bogus lawsuit. "Locate" a bogus defendant. Produce a signed admission of guilt and ask the judge to order search engines to delist the offending content. Cash checks. Repeat until caught.
While I was at the courthouse in Providence, I had the chance to talk to the clerk’s office and learned the identity of the process service that brought the forged litigation papers to court. The process server, in turn, when informed that he had filed forged papers, had no compunction about identifying the company which in turn had provided those papers and the company on whose account the check to pay the filing fee had been written. The check was from RIR1984 LLC, the very company with which Rescue One Financial had contracted for services to get Steve Rhode’s critical web pages removed from search engine indexes. The individual signer for RIR1984 on the contract is Richart Ruddie, who, as Eugene Volokh and I reported last month, is apparently responsible for dozens of fake lawsuits around the country. And the go-between was “Annuity Sold,” a company with which Richart Ruddie himself has self-identified.
Levy has now moved to vacate the court order and dismiss the complaint. He's also pursuing legal fees, but something about Ruddie's character (along with his cast of nonexistent libel lawsuit defendants) suggests this attempt may be fruitless. In any event, Ruddie will likely stop filing bogus lawsuits. But he may also find himself facing a federal investigation for his past misdeeds. From the hearing transcript [PDF]:
THE COURT: [...] I am going to have a transcript of this proceeding prepared, and I'm going to order the Clerk to send a copy of the file, all of your filings, as well as the transcript of this proceeding this afternoon to the United States Attorney's office for them to review because it does appear to me, as I said earlier, just at first blush, that there's potentially multiple crimes that have been committed, both fraud and potentially forgery. And various kinds of fraud, I think, are in play here, and so I think it is something that law enforcement should become aware of and investigate.
I'm embarrassed that this order, this consent order, was signed, but it shows you just how, you know, in a busy court, how something like this can happen. But I'm, frankly, if everything that's in here is true, which it appears to be, I'm pretty outraged about it.
That noise you hear in the background is popcorn producers stepping up production. There may be some very interesting developments in the near future. Not only that, but it appears Richart Ruddie isn't the only one engaging in this sort of fraudulent behavior. Pissed Consumer is also asking courts to take a closer look at some suspicious libel lawsuits that have resulted in delisting of its content -- lawsuits that follow the same M.O. as the ones spotted by Levy.