California man says Taylor forged his name on legal documents
By Logan Watson
*Editor’s Note: This story has been updated and revised with more accurate information from a lengthy order issued by Judge Jimmy Croom of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Christopher M. Wilson, an employee of Foreclosure Avoidance Group in Santa Ana, California, stated that he had not agreed to represent Don Taylor, specifically because he is not an attorney.
“I was inserted into this case without my knowledge,” Wilson told the Mirror-Exchange this afternoon. Wilson went on to state that he learned about his alleged association with Taylor after he began receiving court documents related to the case. After researching Taylor, Wilson found that Taylor had filed for bankruptcy several times in the past, and had been barred from filing again without an attorney to represent him. Wilson asserted that Taylor had likely found his name online, and used information from the California Bar Association to continue to file documents with the court.
“Essentially he forged my signature on court documents,” Wilson told the Mirror-Exchange. “Not only had I never heard of Mr. Taylor before this, I certainly would not have agreed to represent him. Furthermore, if you look at the California Bar Number he had listed, it comes back to a Christopher G. Wilson of Los Angeles.”
Taylor has since alleged, via a family member’s Facebook account, that he had, in fact, contacted Foreclosure Avoidance Group previously.
Wilson stated that he has been in contact with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of West Tennessee and filed an affadavit to have his name removed from the case in any capacity. The affadavit reads:
“I was added to this case by the Debtor as the Debtor’s Attorney without my permission and/or any prior knowledge. I am not an Attorney nor am I representing the Debtor (Donald Floyd Taylor III) in this case.
Furthermore, my signature was forged on Page 7 of the Voluntary Petition and the case was subsequently filed by the Debtor at the clerk’s office in Jackson, Tennessee.”
In a court order filed on September 5, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jimmy L. Croom stated that Taylor had filed five chapter 13 bankruptcy cases since February 26, 2018, each one on the eve of a Substitute Trustee’s Sale of Taylor’s residence at 6072 Brockwood Drive in Milan.
While Judge Croom made a point to note that the timing of Taylor’s filings was not unusual, as stopping foreclosure is one of the major motivations for filing chapter 13 proceedings, the court found that Taylor filed multiple bankruptcy petitions with no intention of following through with the court’s orders, either by not providing the requisite documents, by filing chapter 13 cases while under a 180-day ban from doing so by the court, or by not appearing in court when ordered.
After filing his third petition on October 18, 2018, Taylor was prohibited by the court from filing a chapter 13 case until April 17, 2019 (180 days). Taylor filed his fourth pro se (meaning that he intended to represent himself in court) chapter 13 petition on February 6, 2019, again just before a scheduled sale of his home. Taylor’s petition was dismissed, barring him from filing another bankruptcy motion until the end of the 180-day period, as well as filing another pro se petition until March of 2021, meaning that in order to stop the sale of his home by filing for bankruptcy, Taylor would need to be represented by an attorney.
This ruling led to Taylor’s falsification of court documents on May 28, 2019, when he forged the signature of Mr. Wilson. When the court ordered Taylor to appear with his attorney on June 27, he did not show up, ostensibly because he never had any intention of doing so in the first place. The court then reset the hearing for August 8, 2019, ordering Taylor to appear and show cause for why he had failed to comply with the court’s rules.
On July 2, Taylor was involved in an incident at the Brockwood Drive residence, wherein he had to be ordered to vacate the property by police. According to Milan Police Chief Bobby Sellers, Taylor had attempted to barricade himself in the home by placing a piece of furniture in front of the door. Once law enforcement ordered him out of the home, Taylor went back inside and retrieved a backpack from a safe located inside the bedroom, then fled from officers, almost injuring them with his vehicle when they attempted to stop him. An arrest warrant was issued for Taylor following the incident, charging him with two counts each of reckless endangerment and one count of resisting arrest. Taylor turned himself in later that night, then was released after posting a $15,000 bond.
On July 31, 2019, Mr. Wilson informed the court that he was not representing Taylor in his bankruptcy case and that his signature had been forged.
Because of Wilson’s affadavit and Taylor’s failure to appear at his hearing, scheduled for August 8, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The court had dismissed all of Taylor’s bankruptcy cases, meaning that his request for bankruptcy relief was denied, not that Taylor was cleared of any wrongdoing. Out of the five chapter 13 cases filed by Taylor, he never willfully appeared in court. The court found on Thursday that Taylor acted in bad faith while filing his bankruptcy petitions, refusing to appear for hearings, pay his filing fees, paid any money to the creditors in any of his cases, violated a 180-day ban and failed to appear, even after the court issued a warrant for his arrest, and forged Wilson’s signature on his petition.
Since 2004, Taylor has been arrested on seven occasions, including charges of Possession of Schedule II and Schedule VI substances with the intent to resale, theft under $500, two separate charges of Domestic Assault, Child Endangerment, Aggravated Kidnapping and Attempted Murder (which were later dropped by the victim), Evading Arrest, two counts each of Reckless Driving and Attempted Arrest and one count of Resisting Arrest.
Whether Taylor’s criminal history factored into the U.S. Marshals’ unusual method of apprehension has not been confirmed.
“The only reason the Debtor appeared in Court today was because the U.S. Marshals took him into custody and brought him into Court,” Judge Croom stated in his ruling. “The Court has no hesitation in concluding that the Debtor is in contempt of court. He has demonstrated an overall deliberate intention to ignore the requirements of the Bankruptcy Code imposes upon him as well as the orders of this court.
Judge Crooms dismissed Taylor’s most recent petition with prejudice, and has barred him from filing a petition for bankruptcy relief under any chapter of the Bankruptcy Code until September 5, 2024.
Original story below:
A Milan man was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon by the U.S. Marshals with the assistance of the Milan Police Department.
Don Taylor, 32, was apprehended in a home on Dogwood Lane Wednesday afternoon.
Milan Police Chief Bobby Sellers stated that the U.S. Marshals had contacted the MPD about Taylor’s whereabouts and requested assistance in serving a federal detainer. The MPD transported Taylor to the Gibson County Jail, where he is being held without bond. He was scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate on Thursday.
Chief Sellers added that Taylor had reportedly attempted to barricade the front door of the home with a piece of furniture, forcing law enforcement to make a forced entry by breaking down the door. Chief Sellers stated that Taylor was in the shower when he was discovered by law enforcement.
According to documents provided by Gibson County Sheriff Paul Thomas, the arrest stems from an order from the West Tennessee district of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Taylor had reportedly filed a chapter 13 petition for bankruptcy relief on May 28.
Judge Jimmy R. Croom issued two orders for Taylor to appear in court with his attorney, Christopher M. Wilson of Foreclosure Avoidance Group based in Santa Ana, California.
The first order, issued on May 31, 2019, required Taylor and Wilson to appear in court on June 27 at 10:00 a.m. The order stated that Wilson had not been admitted to practice law in the Western District of Tennessee, and had not filed a motion of pro hoc vice, which could have allowed him to represent Taylor in the case, provided that he show proof from the state bar of California that he was, in fact, an attorney in good standing.
Neither Taylor nor Wilson appeared for the June 27 court date, resulting in Judge Croom to issue a second order to appear on August 8. Taylor’s arrest warrant stated that “the failure of either party to appear may result in a finding that the party is in contempt of court.”
Calls to Foreclosure Avoidance Group went unanswered, as did messages left for Mr. Wilson.