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Local woman fights for justice

Julie Reeder


The case is DN 176837 Karie McEwen vs. Michael McEwen; Karie McEwen is alleging that her ex-husband, Michael McEwen, has presented fraudulent documents to the court, giving him a windfall in their divorce settlement. Judges, attorneys, and court clerks have also alleged with Karie McEwen that someone, likely Mr. McEwen, in this case has produced fraudulent documents.

However, both parties are alleging that the other filed the fraudulent paperwork. Village News attempted to contact Mr. McEwen through his work website and by phone, but had no response. We did receive a copy of his Response Declaration, which confirms that he also is alleging Mrs. McEwen filed the fraudulent paperwork.

In response, Karie McEwen said, “Why would I file fraudulent paperwork to give my ex husband everything? Why would I file fraudulent documents knowing his expertise in forensics and fraud?”

Village News asked a sitting judge who wished to remain anonymous, “If the courts recognize that documents are fraudulent, why can’t they throw them out?” The judge replied that it actually doesn’t happen often, but the judge whose name was stamped on the document would normally throw it out, but this is complicated because someone slipped it in the file and it isn’t on the Register of Actions, so it doesn’t technically exist. However, the case was already ruled on, recognizing the fake document.

In this case, the two attorneys, the judge and Mrs. McEwen, who are all named on the post marital agreement, have claimed the document is fake. Presiding Judge Michael T. Smyth referred the file to the District Attorney’s office. The problem, according to Mrs. McEwen, is that her ex-husband works for the DA’s office.

“When suspected fraud in the court is referred to the DA by the judges and the DA appears to be protecting someone within their own ranks who is guilty, it is very discouraging,” said Mrs. McEwen, “They have kept this fake judgment around my neck and held me hostage for five years, while [he] ran off with all the property and cash. The courts can’t seem to fix the errors and the DA refuses to prosecute one of their own.”

There is another document in addition to the post marital agreement which is apparently a fake wage assignment that the Supervisor of the Clerks of the Court Kim Stucker identified as fake. It was then turned over to the District Attorney’s office for investigation and according to paperwork provided to Village News, DA Investigator Wendy Patrick verified with court clerk Kim Stucker who verified the document wage assignment was fake.

The file has been turned over to the DA’s office more than once for investigation. The first time was by Commissioner Ratekin (ret.) with the San Diego Superior Court.

Commissioner Ratekin, while addressing Mr. McEwen’s attorney in open court said, “Let me explain to you what’s going on so you at least have a clue. OK, somebody in this case is likely to be charged criminally for falsifying court documents…”

“I can share with you what I sent down to our supervising judge to get referred to the District Attorney’s office. There are so many errors in this case that I have identified. There was a judgment that, frankly, I think your client falsified, submitted to the court.”

Commissioner Ratekin continued, “...There’s two postnuptial agreements out there; one [Mrs. McEwen] has that was in the file and is now missing; one that your client filed with the judgment that she says is falsified which I do have concerns it is, because attorney Mr. Fox is [named] in it and he’s here; I see him [present in the courtroom, ready to testify]. He says he never consulted with her. That one says that he did.”

Village News contacted Attorney James Fox, who said, “Not only did I not create that post marital agreement or sign it, I would have never created an agreement that gave all my client’s assets and money to [one] partner. Further, I have never appeared in Judge Washington’s court, as we are close friends and I would need to recuse myself.”

Judge Ratekin (ret.) continued in open court, “The wage assignment that’s of most concern to the court, was never filed with the court. It was created and has her address on the top, his address for the funds to be mailed to. It has a file stamp in January that came from one small claims document, and the judge’s line stamp. Whoever created this document thought was a judge, wasn’t, [The person] was a clerk in small claims; it exactly matches some notice that came out of the Small Claims File. It’s exact. It’s the same date, the same line stamp. So the top is one document, the bottom is another. The money got mailed to your client’s address [Mr. McEwen]; nobody is fessing up to where the money went. I have no idea where the money went, but I referred it to our supervising judge who’s going to refer it to the District Attorney’s office, is my understanding.”

The Supervisor of the Clerks of the Court Stucker identified a court document, the Falsified Earning Assignment, according to Stucker and Mrs. McEwen. Kim Stucker called Mr. McEwen’s employer (San Diego Police Department at that time) to let them know the court document was fake. It didn’t exist in the Register of Actions and needed to be stopped immediately.

Judge Ratekin goes on, “...The notary filed the declaration, which I think is now missing. The file is not going to be available to these parties any longer because there’s things in it that are missing. There’s things that are filed that aren’t in it, that were never in it, because every time we file something it goes into the Register of Actions. So, I assume the District Attorney is going to look into where that money went and may then point to who created this false document which will then probably, if they care to, file criminal charges against somebody.”

On May 24, 2019, the Hon. Patti C. Ratekin signed an Ex Parte Minute Order stating, “On the Court’s own motion this matter is set for Ex Parte hearing today re: fraudulent documents inquiry.”

“The Court addresses the parties regarding possible fraudulent documents submitted to the Court as Order of the Court. Further, the Court advises the parties that the Court has referred this matter to the District Attorney’s Office.”

“Both parties understand and agree regarding the referral to the District Attorney’s office.”

But there has been no evidence brought forward that anything happened after the DA investigation.

Attorney Amy Lass, who was also identified in the suspected fake Judgment dated December 30, 2016 has written a declaration under oath, and stated,, “Michael McEwen’s statements made regarding me being present at the hearing on December 30th, 2016, and his confirmed judgment showing the same, are false. I was no longer an attorney of record for this case and was not present at the hearing on December 30, 2016.”

In 2022, the Presiding Judge, Michael Smyth, in San Diego Superior Court, referred the file to the District Attorney’s office once again.

Karie McEwen questions the objectivity of the DA’s office, and said she suspects a cover-up protecting Mr. McEwen as he has worked for the DA’s office for years. Two judges have turned the McEwen file over to the DA’s office for investigation. McEwen, a former San Diego Police officer, is a forensic accountant who specializes in family law fraud. He also serves as an expert witness in the courts.

Karie McEwen, in a declaration to the court stated, “The DA’s office has had these reported fake court documents in their possession for more than three years now. One might ask why has the DA’s office still done nothing? The DA has allowed the victim (Karie McEwen) to go years without receiving thousands of dollars that she is entitled to under the law.The respondent has committed very serious fraudulent crimes while not being punished in any way. Respondent worked for the San Diego Police Department as a sergeant and is a well known forensic accountant, trained by the FBI in fraud investigations.”

“Respondent knows and has worked with the DA’s office,” she continued. “Respondent is friends with and knows judges all over California. Respondent has worked for the FBI and Homeland Security. Respondent today is still working as a court expert witness and a forensic accountant throughout Southern California. It is very obvious by the lack of punishment that there is a clear and apparent case of bias here all while the victim is left with nothing. Respondent uses his credentials to get away with committing the exact frauds that he advertises to defend others against. Respondent is the perpetrator of fraud in this case and has been able to get away with it due to his connections.”

“In August of 2019, Deputy District Attorney Wendy L. Patrick, Special Operations Division, was given a copy of the allegedly fake wage assignment submitted and prepared by respondent along with Judge Ratekin’s memorandum of point and authorities,” she said. “This memo clearly identified the alleged fake judgment in the Register of Action. The memo reflected that the wage assignment was reportedly never filed by this court because it was falsely prepared and submitted by respondent all to defraud the court and me. As now known, Respondent prepared a fake wage assignment to reflect a spousal support order that did not exist, all to keep his employer from being able to garnish his wages on a true wage assignment. The true garnishment was due to his second wife for unpaid property equity that he cheated her out of. Respondent used his own address so that the payment would go to him instead of me as his wage assignment reflected.”

“I became aware of the fake wage assignment after I received information to pay taxes for spousal support payments I was not due and had not received,” she said. “Today I have not been able to clear this matter with the IRS. I am having to pay taxes on spousal support I did not receive. This is another fraudulent act by the respondent to cause me damage. Another act of fraud respondent has been allowed to get away with.

“The false wage assignment was not in the Register of Actions,” she said. “The false judgment submitted by respondent reflected the names of two attorneys; attorneys that were not part of this case and both of which wrote declarations to state this fact. The court knew the judgment was false and that neither of these named attorneys appeared in court with Judge Washington as stated in the judgment. Judge Washington himself has admitted he never saw a case with the McEwens and that Judge Ratekin wanted this investigated by the DA’s office for review along with the fake wage assignment which was given to Mr. McEwen’s employer.”

“Judge Ratekin, in her memo to the Presiding Judge Enrique Camarena, also copied Kim Stucker,” she said. “The DA’s office has the full copy of Judge Ratekin’s memo outlining the fake wage assignment, false judgment and Register of Actions. Also, Judge Ratekin had noted things were missing in the file. Judge Ratekin then ordered that neither party was allowed to view the records without court staff observing them. Every courtroom the respondent walks into, he makes a mockery of the judicial system with his deceit.

“For five years Mr. McEwen has enjoyed taking off with a windfall of cash while still walking into courtrooms throughout Southern California as an expert witness and appearing in front of judges who assume he is credible,” she said.

She went on to say, “No one seems to know what the gold standard is in regard to this simple question: if the courts make a mistake, who fixes it? If the courts are aware of fake documents, who follows up with investigation? The perpetrator sees how broken the family court is and it allows a person to skip away with a windfall of cash. It appears in family court you can get away with just about anything, if you have money. The sad part is that some of the worst criminals frequent family court.”

“I was confident, given all the evidence and the referrals from two different judges, that the DA would investigate and do the right thing,” said Karie McEwen, but her hope was short-lived.

She said, “It’s a clear conflict of interest and I’m up against an ex-husband who appears beyond reproach to those around him. I and others have had fraud committed against us so he could collect a windfall of money.”

“I believed after I received sworn affidavits from the attorneys, one who admitted he had never met me, never represented me and surely had never signed the post marital agreement presented in court, that justice would be served,” she said.

McEwen has vast documents, recordings, and affidavits to back her story, but the courts apparently are helpless to remedy fraud committed against their own judges and attorneys. The victim, Ms. McEwen, a single mother with a grown autistic son who needs full-time care, must bear the burden of the fake documents until the court, if ever, removes them.

When the office of the Presiding Judge Michael Smyth was contacted by Village News to find out how falsified documents are handled by the court, Public Affairs Officer Emily Cox said, “It’s not the job of the judge to investigate, but he [the Presiding Judge Michael Smyth] has turned the file over to the District Attorney’s office.”

Meanwhile, in family court recently, the ex-husband touted to a judge that the DAs office had investigated him and he was cleared of any charges.

Village News contacted the District Attorney’s office to verify that an investigation had taken place and if Mr. McEwen was exonerated. Steve Walker, the Communications Director for the San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan’s office responded by email, “The District Attorney’s Office has thoroughly investigated the allegations you outlined and we have determined that we are unable to prove any potential criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”

That would be easy to believe since it appears people that the Village News talked to, central to the case surrounding the fraudulent post marital agreement, were never contacted.

The charges Ms. McEwen, Judge Ratekin and the attorneys are accusing Michaeal McEwen of are serious. Forgery includes altering, corrupting, or falsifying legal documents, wills, property conveyances, court records, or any other legal writing that can be used as evidence in a court of law.

If an investigation had taken place, the two attorneys and Judge Washington, who were named on the false judgment, who supposedly heard the matter in court, it seems would be central figures in the investigation. There, apparently, is no evidence that they were ever contacted by the DA’s office.

This case brings into question the integrity of the courts and a judicial system that appears to be helpless to fraud and manipulation for personal benefit. The people affected are not just Mrs. McEwen, but the judicial system.

Mrs. McEwen said, “I feel like we’ve all received a lesson on how to commit fraud on the court and get away with it. Even if judges and court clerks admit documents are fake, the only person who benefited financially by the fraudulent documents was the rich, powerful white guy. District Attorney Summer Stephan said she will protect the vulnerable. When you have two judges, one being Michael T. Smyth who is the Presiding Judge in San Diego, along with Commissioner Ratekin, Clerk of the court Kim Stucker and two prominent San Diego attorneys, Jim Fox and Amy Lass, who have written declarations that state they were not in court and the fake judgment filed by Mr. McEwen giving himself everything in the divorce that never happened and was false.”

“It is now clear the DAs office did not do their job,” Mrs. McEwen said. “The District Attorney’s office apparently does not have high standards to protect the integrity of the courts. It looks like a free for all will now be the new standard set by the courts. Family court does not investigate crimes and does not have a gold standard of fixing their own errors. They took the fake document Mr. McEwen gave them and stamped it to make it look real, even after the court admitted it was fake.”

“They have kept this fake judgment around my neck and held me hostage for five years while the criminal ran off with all the property and cash,” she said. “I believe the DA’s office has a bias for protecting their own-- that is clear. Mr. McEwen has been allowed to hide behind the skirt of the district attorney. What is the excuse of the family courts? How long do they hold someone to a fake judgment making this the perfect crime and showing how broken family court is?”

“Could this start a chain reaction? Are there other cases that people are claiming Mr. McEwen has improperly won? Are there more cases, where corrupt acts to yield a desired result for financial gain are currently under investigation? Time will tell. One attorney asked me, 'Do you know what a hired gun is? They will lie to yield whatever outcome they want and for financial gain.' I believe that’s what we have here in the DA’s office.”

DA Summer Stephan was quoted during her campaign as saying that she loves Maya Angelou and lives by her words. She quotes her and says, “I want to live with hope of what’s the right thing to do right now.” And “let the chips fall where they may.”

Karie McEwen says she has been hoping, and waiting for what she believes is “the right thing.”

The next court case is coming up on March 20, 2023. We will follow this most unusual divorce case.


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