SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (FOX 2) - A retired police officer says he was a victim of an alleged scam by three Oakland County attorneys who were charged last week with racketeering, forgery, and embezzling $1 million.
Marc Fishman, Ryan Fishman, and Alexandra Ichim were all charged with multiple felonies including racketeering, forgery, and more last week. According to Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, the three attorneys forged documents to claim defendants were served paperwork for debts and then use courts to garnish their wages.
One of the alleged victims is Michael Gorbe, a retired police officer. Prosecutors said last week there could be 1,000 victims
"Within the legal community people knew that there was, at least, a rumor of this going on and, look now, they’re in jail," Gorbe said.
He told FOX 2 it started when his lease up on a rental property in 2018. He delayed cleaning his stuff out of the property and the landlord wound up changing the locks and dumping his stuff.
"In a sense this company threw out my property and then charged me for it - for $14,500," Gorbe said.
The landlord hired Ryan Fishman to collect those funds from Gorbe who then filed a countersuit. They were supposed to be in court in November of 2019 9but just a few weeks before that, he got a notice that he failed to show up for court.
"I’m thinking to myself what hearing didn’t I show up for and it was a summary judgment hearing where Ryan Fishman said he served me - but he didn’t. And I didn't know about the hearing," Gorbe said.
That's how the alleged scheme worked: the attorneys used forged serving documents to claim they served the defendants with debt collection paperwork, then they would turn that paperwork into the court to attempt to gain damages from the people who didn't even know they were served.
When the court ruled in favor of the Fishman Group, they would garnish wages, intercept tax refunds, and take stimulus checks, prosecutors say.
"Ryan has garnished a few of my bank accounts but there was no money in them so he never got any money from me but he tried," Gorbe said.
The three attorneys are accused of stealing about $1 million in total from 33 people in Genesee County.
Until the three were arrested and charged last week, Gorbe was worried but they never saw a cent from him.
The three Fishman attorneys are all being investigated across the state and all three have been released on bond.