Rice's story starts out like this . . .
"In typical identity theft cases, the thief goes after a bank account or a line of credit. In Kathy Carpenter's case, the thief was even more bold. A woman took Carpenter's professional identity as a real estate appraiser, using Carpenter's name and license number. She even appraised commercial and million-dollar properties that Carpenter, a residential appraiser, isn't licensed to do. Jean Faye Dodge, former manager of a La Center appraisal company, is now in prison. But Carpenter's troubles aren't over."
Appraisal Scoop caught up with real estate appraiser Kathy Carpenter and asked her to tell appraisers a little more about her story. I told her that I had been a victim of "minor" identity theft myself and had some idea of the frustrations she's encountered throughout this ordeal. We hope her tale will alert appraisers, appraisal boards, appraisal organizations and federal agencies on the devastating consequences appraisers face from identity theft.
In these times where appraiser's jobs are difficult enough, mine not only got tough, but for all practical purposes went away. In addition it forced me to spend "billable hours" sifting through the remains of this well woven web.
The problem was, I knew this person. I had contracted with her company for a few years after the major AVM she represented left town and she continued her appraisal network to funnel work to me and some other appraisers in the area.
The other problem, it was a "virtual" crime of sorts. No one physically took something, or came onto my property, yet the repercussions were farther reaching. There was no compromise of my software, or my computer. It was a simple copy, edit paste (and a bad job of it at that with a barely legible, fuzzy facsimile of my name). It was all too easy.
The renewal of my license every two years in OR/WA seemed to be a joke when I made a call to the Appraiser's boards in each state and they basically said "too bad". Since Jean Faye Dodge wasn't a licensed appraiser, they had no jurisdiction to sanction her or her actions. Yet, they also offered no advice to me, the "law abiding citizen" involved in this the scam.
Even my E&O insurance could give me no guidance. Unless it was an infraction that I had committed; then everyone would have been all over me! So I was forced to schlep off to each and every county (that I knew of) where the fraudulent appraisals were performed.
Time after time, I had to re-tell the story. Sometimes to deputies who had bigger fish to fry, and once to one that used to be a mortgage broker and really understood the plight I was now up against, acknowledging my frustration. I was directed to the FBI, but quickly realized I was a small fish in a large sea. They weren't opening new cases for investigation unless they tallied in the millions, not the thousands or hundreds of thousands.