Woman sues ex, bank for identity theft

By Andrea Dearden | Apr 20, 2011

A St. Clair County woman is suing her soon-to-be ex-husband, her insurance company and a bank for alleged identity theft and conspiracy.

Donna Burrelsman filed a lawsuit March 22 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Thomas L. Burrelsman, American Family Insurance Company and U.S. Bancorp, doing business as U.S. Bank. Wells Fargo & Co., doing business as Wells Fargo Bank N.A., Adam Kockler, and an unnamed employee of U.S. Bank are also listed as defendants.

Donna Burrelsman, who is currently in the process of divorcing defendant Burrelsman, says she and her husband secured a loan with Wells Fargo Bank in January 2007 using a jointly-owned property in Colorado Springs as collateral. Burrelsman says she moved to Illinois in 2008.

In August 2009,Burrelsman says her husband had someone use U.S. Bank employee Kockler's notary seal on a power of attorney, a document that was allegedly forged with Mrs. Burrelsman's signature. She claims her husband then used the alleged forged power of attorney to obtain another loan from Wells Fargo, from which he received $50,000 in cash.

According to the lawsuit, in April 2010 a fire destroyed most of the Colorado Springs house and many of the personal belongings inside. Insurance provider American Family, naming both Mr. and Mrs. Burrelsman as beneficiaries, allegedly sent checks totaling $200,000 to Mr. Burrelsman.

Burrelsman claims she wasn't notified of the fire until May 2010 by American Family but the company allegeldy neglected to tell her it had already sent insurance proceeds to her husband. Mr. Burrelsman allegedly forged his wife's name on the checks and cashed them.

When Mrs. Burrelsman tried to submit a claim for the more than $82,000 in lost property she says it was denied by American Family. She says she also contacted Wells Fargo in November 2010 about the alleged fraudulent mortgage loan acquired by her husband, a loan she claims he has failed to pay for several months. Mrs. Burrelsman says Wells Fargo has ignored her claim and has moved forward with foreclosure proceedings on the Colorado property.

Mrs. Burrelsman is suing American Family for refusing to pay her claim and accuses the insurance provider and Wells Fargo of civil conspiracy. She also accuses U.S. Bank and Kockler of violating Illinois' Notary Public Act and of negligence. Mr. Burrelsman is accused of forgery and fraud.

Burrelsman asks for more than $400,000 in damages plus court costs. She is represented by attorney Rhonda D. Fiss, of Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 11-L-146

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