Boone County woman sues estranged husband after forgeries

By Chris Dickerson | Jan 5, 2006

CHARLESTON – Insurance checks with forged signatures are behind a Boone County woman's lawsuit against her estranged husband.

Stella Bias filed the suit last month in Kanawha Circuit Court , listing Emory Bias, Whitesville State Bank, Roger Goff & Associates Insurance Inc. and Erie Insurance Company as defendants.

The suit says the couple's home in Peytona caught fire on Dec. 15, 2002. The couple separated a week later, the suit says.

After that, Stella Bias claims Emory Bias began forging or having someone else forge her signature to various documents.

She claims he did so on a state Division of Motor Vehicles Notice of Change in Dealership when he changed the name of Racine Used Cars to Bias Used Cars. She claims he took her driver's license to Whitesville State Bank and employee Toni Coon notarize the document without witnessing Stella Bias sign it.

She also says that on Jan. 8, 2004, Emory Bias had her name removed from a homeowners policy through Goff Insurance and that the change was accepted without proper documentation.

As a result of the house fire, Stella Bias claims Erie issued checks to Emory Bias in the amounts of $1,000 and $4,50 for contractors to remove debris. Two more checks from Erie in the amounts of $10,000 and $31,209.46 were written for personal property.

Stella Bias says she was given none of these funds.

She claims another check issued by Erie to Bank One, Emory Bias and Stella Bias was to pay off the loan on the home. She says he again forged or had forged her signature.

She says three other checks from Erie – for $277, $5,000 and $34,212.26 – were issued to both Emory and Stella Bias. But again, she says he forged her signature and cashed them at Whitesville State Bank. Additionally, Stella Bias says Emory Bias cashed a tax return check for $4,514 issued to both of them with a forged signature at the bank.

In the suit, filed by attorney Anne E. Shaffer, Stella Bias sues on the counts of forgery, conversion, fraud, breach of contract, bad faith, negligence and violation of statute.

She seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages against Emory Bias for annoyance and inconvenience, attorney fees, court costs and other relief.

Stella Bias seeks a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Duke Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 05-C-2753

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