I called the Claims Administrator yesterday, at 1-888-749-8173. The firm is well known in its field: Rosenthal & Co, which part of Computershare.  What a fiasco!

WarningDO NOT USE the information I report receiving below; I believe the information I received is INCORRECT, and that it’s newsworthy that I received INCORRECT information.

After a short wait, I spoke with Joseph Sullivan, and asked him a few questions.  I was asking him about when the identity theft has to have occurred, as my reading is that the documents don’t say, and so I was wondering what view the Settlement Administrator would have when deciding whether or not to approve claims.  I asked if one from 10 years ago would be valid, and he said no, and that the breach was discovered in 2007.  I asked what about if it was last week.  He said he needed to check the fact form, and took some time to do so.  He then said he wasn’t sure.  I asked what if my identity was stolen in 2005, would that be the basis for a valid claim?  He said yes.  I said, ok, ones from 2001 aren’t valid, but ones from 2005 are; what about 2003?  He declined to answer. He instead volunteered that I’d need some proof that the identity theft was related.  I was surprised, so I asked him to explain what he meant.  He said I’d have to prove that my identity was stolen as a result of the TD Ameritrade breach.  I’d have to provide evidence that traced the identity theft to TD Ameritrade.  I said so if I can prove that my identity was stolen but can’t trace it to TD Ameritrade, my claim won’t be valid?  He said that this was correct.

Astonished, I pressed further.   I said that my name, address, date of birth and social security number were compromised.  I said what if someone opened an account at Verizon in my name, using the information that was compromised, and I even got a copy of the fraudulent application from Verizon, and it didn’t have my signature, but I couldn’t prove that the information had come from TD Ameritrade.  He said no, that would not be a valid claim; it had to be connected to a TD Ameritrade account.  I asked if he could provide an example of what would be adequate evidence, and he declined to provide any, and told me that the Claims Administrator would have to answer that, and that Gretchen Nelson was the Claims Administrator, and provided me with the phone number, even though I told him I already had it.  I confirmed that I had his name correctly, said thanks, and hung up.  I wonder what I’ll hear when I call back and ask the same thing again.

Hopefully, Joseph Sullivan is merely misinforming class members.  But I fear that claims will indeed be rejected on the basis of the information he’s given me.  That would be even worse.

Claim Forms Problems

I was quite upset when I discovered the new settlement administration website said “The Claim Form will be available here starting February 1, 2011″ and on January 13, I contacted class counsel about it.  I can’t say I’m happy with the results.

Ok, so class members got the notice (by January 15th), went to the web site to fill out the form, and it was not there!  What a great way to lower the number of claims – make claimants remember to come back 2 weeks after they get the notice. This seems to be a violation of the judge’s order, in spirit, if not in letter.  I asked Gretchen Nelson, twice, if the court had been made aware of this.  I also asked her to request that the previous website be directed to the new website. She won’t answer.

Now, I see that it’s 1PM (Eastern) on February 1, 2011, and even this was a lie! The site now says: “The electronic Claim Form will be available here starting from February 1, 2011.” But IT’S NOT THERE!  Wow.  Is it a coincidence that class counsel only gets paid if there are fewer claims than claimable funds?  Perhaps.  There sure is a conflict of interest, as Judge Walker noted.  Issues like these result in the appearance of impropriety.  At least the paper form became available after I complained, but it was not ’till January 20, seven days after the email notices went out.

Do you want to Object to the Settlement?  Deadlines! Final Approval Hearing!

Objections must be postmarked and/or filed with the court by March 15, 2011.   If you’re thinking about attending the hearing, and might want to speak, mail a letter the court objecting to the settlement. Let me know if you’re interested in concurring with my objections or want help.

Yesterday, the case was reassigned to Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong, due to Judge Walker’s retirement. The Case Number is now 4:07-cv-02852-SBA.

The hearing on final approval of the settlement is April 18, 2011.  The Final Approval Hearing is at <TBD> AM in Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong’s Courtroom, at 450 Golden Gate in San Francisco; you have to go through airport-like security to get into the courthouse. Please, I strongly urge you to get in touch with me if you’re even thinking of attending the hearing.