Coester Allegedly Engaged in Fraud Sued by Former Senior VP
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Mr. Coester Was the Party Engaging in Fraud
Coester VMS, a Maryland based appraisal management company, and it’s CEO, Brian Coester, are facing a lawsuit by Robert Scheer, former Coester VMS Senior Vice President. Robert Scheer filed a lawsuit claiming tortious interference and is seeking a declaratory judgment that the 2012 Non-Disclosure/Confidentiality agreement provided by Coester is fraudulent and a forgery.
“CVMS and Mr. Coester have a history and pattern of engaging in fraudulent conduct which has led to their reputation for dishonesty in the appraisal management company industry….”
10. Mr. Scheer left his employment at CVMS, where he was Senior Vice President making approximately $180,000 per year, on April 11, 2016 to take a new position that had been offered to him as President of Valuation Links (“VL”), another appraisal management company. This new position would pay approximately the same $180,000.
11. There is no dispute that Mr. Scheer did not have a covenant not to compete and he was free to take a job with an appraisal management company which competed with CVMS.
12. Upon CVMS learning that VL was going to hire Mr. Scheer, on April 14, 2016 counsel for CVMS, Michael Y. Kieval, Esq. of Wiener Brodsky Kider PC sent a “Notice of Possible Legal Action” to the CEO of VL at the direction of CVMS’ owner and CEO, Mr. Coester, making the false allegation that Mr. Scheer was constrained by a non-disclosure/non-solicitation agreement which he had allegedly breached and that this breach could subject VL to suit.
13. CVMS and Mr. Coester knew that their statements concerning the alleged non-disclosure/non-solicitation agreement were false.
14. When asked to provide electronic copies which were contemporaneous with the alleged execution of the June 4, 2012 agreement, the Defendants could not do this. Instead, they provided a scan of the agreement without the signature page, followed by a separate scan of the signature page. The scan without the signature page was contemporaneous with the time period around June 4, 2012 – however, the fraudulent signature page was scanned in 2016, so it was not contemporaneous with the purported date of signature or the remainder of the document.
15. CVMS’ and Mr. Coester’s (collectively “Defendants”) actions in causing Mr. Kieval to send the false letter to VL caused VL to withdraw its job offer to Mr. Scheer.
16. When Mr. Scheer learned of CVMS’ counsel’s letter to VL, he demanded that CVMS provide him with the supposed agreement.
17. CVMS then produced a Non—Disclosure/Confidentiality Agreement dated June 4, 2012, which purports to be signed by Mr. Scheer.
18. This document is a forgery.
19. That this document is a forgery was confirmed by the expert report of Katharine Mainolfi Koppenhaver, Certified Forensic Document Examiner (See Exhibit 1 to Complaint).
20. There are two tell-tale signs that the document is a forgery – first through forensic analysis, Ms. Koppenhaver determined that the signature was physically “cut and pasted” and second, the signature that was “pasted” was one using Mr. Scheer’s married name of Scheer, whereas his 2012 signature would have included his non-married name of Chasteen.
21. The creation of a fraudulent document is consistent with CVMS’ and Mr. Scheer’s conduct in other matters.
22. CVMS had a routine practice and Mr. Coester had a habit of creating fraudulent documents to advance their interests.
23. CVMS and Mr. Coester have a history and pattern of engaging in fraudulent conduct which has led to their reputation for dishonesty in the appraisal management company industry.
24. In 2014 the State of North Carolina contacted CVMS to alert it that they were going to suspend its license for not paying appraisers according to state regulations.
25. This would have greatly financially harmed CVMS.
26. At the time, Mr. Scheer became aware that CVMS’ payments to its appraisers were routinely late.
27. In response to North Carolina’s investigation, Mr. Coester reluctantly agreed to allow an outside firm to audit CVMS’ payment practices. However, before Mr. Coester allowed the outside accounting firm to access CVMS’ records, Mr. Coester went into the electronic records and altered the data creating fictitious information which fraudulently reflected that CVMS had been timely in making payments.
28. Mr. Scheer had copies of both the original reports and the fraudulent ones, which were sent to the State of North Carolina.
29. Mr. Coester, who knew that Mr. Scheer was aware of what had occurred, told Mr. Scheer that if he ever told anyone about CVMS’ fraud then Mr. Coester would “take him down.”
33. Even after North Carolina’s investigation, CVMS continued to pay its appraisers late; the records would simply be altered to reflect timely payments.
34. As 2014 progressed, Mr. Coester continued his unethical activities. For example, Mr. Coester would provide fraudulent profit and loss statements to banks and lenders, such as Summit, George Mason, NFM, and Angel Oak, in order to misrepresent the financial situation of CVMS, painting a rosier picture than actually existed.
35. Mr. Scheer is also aware that Mr. Coester has committed fraud with regard to his personal taxes and he misused corporate funds. For example, Mr. Coester created an account at CVMS called “BC OWES” that kept track of the money Mr. Coester “borrowed” from the company with the alleged intention of paying it back. At the time that Mr. Scheer discovered this in January of 2013 the account was over $225,000 and it has now grown to over $400,000
36. During 2013, Mr. Coester continued violating the law. For example, the states of Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana, and Virginia would routinely contact CVMS concerning potential disciplinary action against CVMS in connection with the failure to properly pay appraisers. In response to this, Mr. Coester would use a number of tactics involving altered documents and fraudulent statements…