Somebody called Matthew J. Hartigan allegedly stiffed the burghal out of years of taxes on a acreage he endemic in Northeast Philadelphia. Or maybe he didn’t. Truth is, it’s adamantine to say for sure.
Matthew J. Hartigan of Clearwater, Fla., wants everybody – or at atomic those with ascendancy to bright his name – to accede that he, at least, doesn’t owe the burghal a dime.
Not the $7,323 that one Philadelphia law close accepted this bounce in behind burghal and academy commune taxes dating from 1997. Not the $31,783 that aforementioned close accepted in May 2012, wrapping in penalties, interest, costs, and attorneys’ fees. Not the $12,228 dating to 1986 that a altered close accepted a decade earlier. And absolutely not the $98,293 acumen a bounded coffer accepted afterwards blame the acreage into foreclosure in 1998 – a acumen that Hartigan aboriginal apparent back it showed up on a acclaim report.
Hartigan doesn’t catechism whether somebody owes those debts. He wants to apperceive why he’s been adamant for 17 years over debts that aren’t his.
How can he prove that? For one thing, he was 12 in March 1972 back his namesake paid $2,500 for the acreage on Kinsey Street in Frankford – too adolescent to assurance a bill of sale.
Plus, he’s never lived in Philly or anywhere nearby.
It’s hardly hasty that there are assorted Matt Hartigans. I’ve got a appealing aberrant name, and there are multiples of mine, too. The catechism is why this Matt Hartigan got trapped in a adventure that’s allotment Kafka, allotment Dada, and allotment Groundhog Day.
Hartigan has afresh staved off the collectors. But, like the Bill Murray appearance who keeps on reliving a mini-disaster, Hartigan can’t accomplish his successes stick.
“This is the third time in twelve years I acquire had to prove to addition in Philadelphia that you are not advantaged to my money,” he wrote to one of the law firms in 2009.
A above acknowledged assistant, he wrote that he’d begin bristles added Matthew Hartigans in the Social Security Death Index, including one in Pennsylvania who died months afterwards the Frankford acreage was purchased.
Hartigan additionally acclaimed there were bristles Michael Nutters and dozens of bodies with the aforementioned names as the city’s acquirement abettor and collections administrator – all of whom Hartigan affected on the letter, admitting none replied.
True to form, he was dunned afresh in 2011, this time for $2,274 on account of the city’s Water Department, and afresh in 2012 and this spring.
Once again, it looks as if Hartigan has baffled the rap. Sharon Humble, a advocate at the latest close to appeal he accord some added guy’s debts, told me Clearwater Matt had afresh been fingered as Frankford Matt by a third-party “skip-tracing” company. Now his abode has been flagged as wrong.
“We acknowledge your backbone and we apprehend you will not acquire added accord from our firm,” she told him in June.
Hartigan was afraid to acquire that – for acceptable acumen above his own experience.
Debt-collection complaints acquire topped all added complaint categories back the new Customer Banking Protection Bureau began accepting them two years ago. Among added than 163,000 the CFPB has so far received, the best accepted botheration is consumers who say they’re actuality targeted for debts they don’t absolutely owe. (To abide a complaint, alarm 855-411-2372 or go to ConsumerFinance.gov.)
For addition perspective, I contacted Jim Francis of Francis & Mailman, a Philadelphia law close that specializes in unraveling assiduous problems in banking annal – abnormally at the Big Three acclaim bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, but additionally at hundreds of added “consumer advertisement agencies” that aggregate abstracts on capacity such as job histories, allowance claims, and medical-payment records.
I aggregate a analysis of my own: Back I did a civic chase for “Matthew J. Hartigan” in the LexisNexis accessible annal database, Matt-from-Clearwater was the additional of 43 hits. The additional and third addresses listed for him were 1834 and 1836 Kinsey – the addresses affiliated to the aberrant debts. LexisNexis affiliated him to those addresses from March 1972 to aftermost year.
The bad account is that a from how continued Hartigan’s botheration has persisted, Francis said his complaint was archetypal of hundreds he’s handled over the years. Some audience acquire had pay garnisheed, or been blocked from accepting mortgages or car loans, abundant as if they were victims of character theft. But the blemish in these cases isn’t a bad guy. It’s a bad system.
“Somewhere, acutely anchored central somebody’s computer system, the amiss customer is identified,” Francis said. “You acquire to untangle it like a bond in fishing line.”
The acceptable account is that a close like Francis’ doesn’t allegation to allegation fees to consumers. If Francis wins, he can aggregate from companies that amiss acute data.
Hartigan additionally can appeal a chargeless abode from LexisNexis, beneath the aforementioned rules that crave the Big Three to accommodate chargeless letters at www.annualcreditreport.com, at personalreports.lexisnexis.com or by calling 866-868-9534.
But be warned: The accurate agent of an absurdity ability not be bright from a report. Often, it takes a accusation to acquisition that out.
Published: August 9, 2015 — 8:21 AM EDT
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