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A 73-year-old South Texas woman who doesn’t speak English has been awarded a $15 million jury verdict for harassment over a mobile home loan that she didn’t authorize. Ninfa Perez, of San Diego, Texas, was sued by GreenPoint Credit over the $37,000 loan. The home was purchased by Perez’s granddaughter in December 1998, and Perez’s name was signed on the document, allegedly without her knowledge. In July 1999, GreenPoint began calling Perez about the loan, eventually threatening her with jail. The occupant of the same home for 70 years, Perez insisted that she had not signed the loan, and she furnished GreenPoint with signature samples, her Social Security card and her driver’s license. GreenPoint sued Perez in October 1999. She asserted that the collection effort caused her to have severe anguish and fear, which required treatment. FIGHTING BACK She sued GreenPoint Credit Corp. under Texas’ Fair Debt Collection Act and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Perez v. GreenPoint Credit Corp., No. D.C.-99-357 (Dist. Ct., Duval Co.). Perez’s attorney, Douglas Allison of Corpus Christi, Texas’ Huerta, Hastings & Allison, alleged that GreenPoint Credit had flagged the case as fraud in June or July 1999, showing that the company knew someone other than Perez had signed for the loan. The suit against Perez was dropped during the trial against GreenPoint. GreenPoint argued that it assumed Perez had signed the loan and that it had filed suit to determine the truth. Defense attorneys Mark Paisley of Adami, McNeill, Paisley & Appell in Alice, Texas, and Robert K. Frisch Jr. of Dallas’ Law Offices of Bruce B. Johnson, did not return calls for comment. A spokesperson for GreenPoint, based in San Diego, Calif., said that the verdict will be appealed. “We are seeking to overturn that verdict, and we think we have substantial legal grounds for doing that,” Richard Humphrey said. He declined further comment.

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