Cross posted from LIBERTY ROAD MEDIA

NOTE: This interview was conducted in late February 2014, before a sentencing hearing that was eventually postponed.  Ms. McCulley was then sentenced to a year each of prison and probation on April 25, 2014.

Originally published: May 7, 2014

By Clinton Kirby and Glenn Augenstein

If you follow the news of foreclosure fraud and bad banks, you have certainly heard that on February 7, 2014, a Gallatin County, Montana jury awarded Ms. Mary McCulley an incredible $6 million verdict against US Bank of Montana, with $5 million of that figure being awarded for punitive damages.

It’s the kind of victory that foreclosure fighters have long dreamed of, yet rarely (if ever) seen:  a bank being found liable for actual fraud as well as constructive fraud. Indeed, the fact that banks have committed fraud related to foreclosures (among other things) is common knowledge to both the public and the government, but the banks usually get away with it because judges inexplicably let them off the hook in any number of lawsuits (usually performing extraordinary feats of legal gymnastics to do so), or there are undisclosed settlements with homeowners, or the regulators give them a slap on the wrist in the form of either fines (that are proportionally miniscule to the banks’ financial gain from their illegal behavior) or essentially toothless settlements (sometimes both).

So in that context, the jury’s verdict in Ms. McCulley’s case is remarkable to say the least and it provides hope that all is not lost, and that the tide is turning—or has turned—against the banks.

Perseverance and fighting spirit

However, Ms. McCulley’s road to victory was not an easy one.  If she had given up the fight at any number of stops along the way, it would have been completely understandable.  And the depressing part is that, even though she has this monumental victory under her belt, she is now incarcerated in a Montana correctional facility on what many believe are dubious charges.  Those charges apparently stem from complaints filed by Tom Cahill, formerly of American Land Title Company, and Attorney J. Robert Planalp, who made appearances on behalf of American Land Title Company.  American Land Title Company, and U.S. Bank of Montana, were named as Defendants in a civil suit brought by Ms. McCulley in June of 2009.  That is to say, even though U.S. Bank of Montana was found to have defrauded her, Ms. McCulley is the one doing jail time—not anyone at the bank, or anyone else who may have been involved in the fraud against her.

By throwing me in jail for investigating my own fraud, when the FBI wouldn’t help me, and to punish me instead of the actual people that did forgeries and stuff, I think that is a very sad statement,” Ms. McCulley said in an interview conducted in late February 2014, shortly after she won the $6 million jury verdict, but before she was sentenced on April 25, 2014.  “So that’s what’s kind of keeping me down.  There needs to be a happy ending here, and not just for me, but for all of us that are fighting these banks, you know?  Millions of us.  Millions of us!

What makes Ms. McCulley such an admirable woman is that she knows we’re all in this together.

Like many people fighting foreclosure, Ms. McCulley first contacted government agencies for help. It was later discovered that prior to recording, the deed of trust to her property had been altered by Tom Cahill (formerly of American Land Title Company) without her knowledge or consent.   Among the agencies she contacted was the FBI.  “So the sad thing to me is that I had undisputed facts that there was a forgery.  And the FBI just [said], you know–’Have a nice day’–and they shoved me under the bus.  And so did pretty much every other government agency that I went to.

Understandably dissatisfied with the response she received from the government, in June 2009 Ms. McCulley sued American Land Title Company and U.S. Bank of Montana.  Her case was heard in District Court of the Eighteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Gallatin (Cause No. DV-09-562C), Honorable John C. Brown, Presiding Judge.  Despite compelling evidence that her deed of trust was altered after she signed it—but before it was recorded with the county—on January 12, 2012, the District Court granted motions for summary judgment in favor of U.S. Bank of Montana and American Land Title Company.

During this time, Ms. McCulley almost gave up.  “At my trial with US Bank, it was proven that their actions were so malicious and heinous—they drove me to a suicide attempt.  And you know who I wrote my letter to when I was going to kill myself?  The judge.  I didn’t write it to my mom or my brother—I said, ‘Dear Judge Brown, I quit.  They win.’  And went on to explain the fact that the title company’s lying, the bank’s lying, the lawyers are lying—how can I possibly fight this case when officers of the court are going to lie under oath?

On April 25, 2012, Ms. McCulley was arrested on several charges, including a felony Assault with a Weapon.  Ms. McCulley was held on a $1 million bond.  At trial the jury passed on all but one of the charges, and came in with a guilty verdict for a misdemeanor assault charge.  Ms. McCulley was sentenced to 6 days.  After serving 309 days (303 more than the sentence), she was released.

Undeterred, Ms. McCulley did not give up the fight.  While incarcerated she contacted a paralegal who agreed to help her write an appeal of her unfavorable court decision, which was eventually heard by the Supreme Court of Montana.  “So I’m in jail, and I’m filing the appeal—and you don’t have anything but an ink pen—but I had a pay phone and I found a paralegal, this guy Alex.  And he came, and I told him the story and he helped me write it and we got it to the Supreme Court.

Alex is deserving of some gold stars, and perhaps an adult beverage, or two.

Ms. McCulley was released in early March 2013.  On April 9, 2013, the Supreme Court of Montana ruled in Ms. McCulley’s favor, stating in part: “For these reasons, we reverse the District Court’s order of summary judgment in favor of the Bank on the issue of fraud and remand the matter to the District Court for further proceedings.”  American Land Title Company was dismissed from the suit, but U.S. Bank of Montana was not.

Upon remand, and through the trial of February 7, 2014, the jury recognized the defendant had been, to put it mildly, considerably less than honest and forthcoming.  Judge Brown, in his April 14, 2014 “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order re: Punitive Damages,” said:

At page 10, par. 37, “The Bank made these false statements to the Court in 2011, and the Court relied on the false statements in its summary judgment order.”

At page 13, par. 7, “When, as here, there is concealment of evidence of improper motive the Court will consider this in assessing reprehensibility of the Bank’s conduct.”

At page 13, par. 8, “Further, US Bank ‘blatantly misrepresented an important fact’ in one of its briefs filed with this Court.”

In the same par. 8, “This egregious behavior by the Bank constitutes intentional deceit and supports the conclusion that the Bank’s conduct was reprehensible.”

In a 1913 Harper’s Weekly article Louis D. Brandeis said, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”  Clearly Honorable Judge Brown is in agreement.

Perseverance pays off

I’ve always kind of known I would win the suit against the bank because of the documents,” Ms. McCulley said.  “Like I said, it’s a document case; it’s not a hearsay case.  The documents speak for themselves.”  The Gallatin County jury agreed, in a big way. “That was a complete—just bombshell dropped.  That’s a huge verdict for Montana,” Ms. McCulley said.  “I think the money shows that banks can be evil, to get those kind of punitive damages, you know?

Despite the ordeal she has already endured–and will continue to endure unless she is (hopefully) released from prison in the next couple of days–Ms. McCulley is keenly aware of what her victory means and the potential impact it could have:  “I don’t know if I’ll ever see a dime.  But I want this to be something that somebody else can use.  Or that we could parlay into some kind of political—something, you know–’Hey wake up!  The banks do lie, cheat, and steal.  That’s the whole goal, you know.

To contact the reporters on this story:

Clinton Kirby:, Glenn Augenstein:



  1. concerned21 says:

    When will Justice prevail?

    • Trevor David Hitchin Kaufman says:

      I had a VERY interesting day….several calls to FBI dc/boi….they are ON it.. as are DOJ special investigations…referring here to MetLife/Chase…’issue’. The FI ds are organizedthem awa ready for a 5-10 yr purge….of fraud. China said….’grrrrr’…you will do this now. are we starting to connect the star dots??? Constellation. …

      Top Three
      1. Informed Boise Police that DoJ has launched full boar investigation on FretLife & Chase.
      2. Detective Joe Shotz called right back…I wanted to make them ‘aware’…china / russia / you k?
      3. Called Ringert Law of Boise to confirm Laura Burri’s Idaho Bar #.
      4. Ringert Law was disolved….She now works in Nampa…one town over.
      5. Called new internet listing for Ms. Burri…informed Office Mgr of current events….criminal rept.
      6. Called University of Idaho Law School….requesting alternative resolution ‘meeting’…for all RICO defendants. …MetLife CEO…Tony Francis…Realty Royale….Ringert Law Partners ‘chartered’.
      7. Called Gray at JPChase Executive Response Center…spoke for 20 minutes…all profressional….they are under the pressure of karma…theirs.

      We have the DoJ in our corner now…..AND I am filing my Civil Claim w request for ‘Summary Judgment’ for $6million from FretLife….$1million from Chase….in exchange I drop my criminal complaint. Montana now needs to release her…then pay here….again…china is watching…

      Enter the Dragon…..777

  2. concerned21 says:

    When are the Judges, Lawyers & Politicians going to take a stand and protect those of us who have had our homes ILLEGALLY STOLEN? In our case “a Paid off Home”. Stories like ours have to be EXPOSED!

  3. the corrupt judges will do all they can to manipulate themselves in favor of the law and those brave enough like Mary to stand up to it. the scales of justice are beginning to shift with each court victory that establishes case law in favor of we the people and our fundamental rights. Mary McCulley is a National hero and her plight is all of ours facing the same judicial misconduct. The entire judiciary needs a wake up call that forces them to adhere to God’s Natural law and unalienable rights forged in the Constitution. For to many centuries in this Nation, case law was allowed to usurp the foundation for which we stand. All the Mary’s in the Nation fighting in the courts, I pray I am one of them, will tip the scales in favor of justice for WE The People and Not the corrupt judges! I will ask my friend Scott Davis to start a petition, he is a brilliant writer and expert and many of his International petitions are successful. Stand up and fight together as one. One Nation!

  4. I just spent some quality hours investigating Mr. Cahilll and the relationship he has with Mary’s federal pretender defender and the Judge Sam Haddon. Seems they all seem to have something in common it’s called a land trust or a land bank and they float bond initiatives that are hidden in mutal funds hmm could it be that Mary got a little too close for their comfort and that is why She is in jail

    • Trevor David Hitchin Kaufman says:

      God now knows……Mary is a warrior princess…treat her as such. Release her STAT and pay her the $6million….and don’t make MT look so bad Judges/Local Prosecuters….between this and rape sentence MT Judge debacle….it is time to clean this…our house….remember WE the People…exdadict the banking nazis to Hague…economic terrorism is still terrorism. DoJ…thank you for arresting MetLife…Ringert Law….Realty Royale….RICO…. it is:is time. Shift Back On…turbo gold.

      Thank you Mary….yours IS:IS the case I have been waiting for. God bless you girl…bigtime.

      6s to 7s…

  5. Tom Heinrich says:

    I’m confused…why is she imprisoned if she was sentenced to six days and served 309, and IS SHE – today – still imprisoned ?

    We ALL need to stand by her side…even a demonstration in the GOVENORS WAITING ROOM TO COMMUTE THE SENTENCE.

    I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT SHE DID, BUT I’d SURE LIKE TO KNOW the entire story. I have a screenwriter friend that does, too

  6. dc says:

    Start a petition ASAP and get lots of people signing via the net[it just struck me thats why they want to rule the net,and take our guns]best way to help her and its for the hundreds of millions of us who if we could get it together and come together this would stop in hours.Not months or years but hours we are slowly giving up our rights by not flexing our mass muscles.Title companies are the scum that play a major role in all this bs.COME ON

  7. eggsistense says:

    What greywolf said…American Land Title was granted summary judgment and that was upheld by the Montana Supreme Court. However, the Court remanded claims against US Bank back to the state court, which is where she won the $6 million. A previous comment of mine was flagged for moderation, possibly because I put in a link to the Montana Supreme Court decision. Just search for Mary McCulley and Montana Supreme Court and you can find the Court’s decision describing what I told you.

  8. Alabama John says:

    What’s happened? Is she free? Did she get the money she deserved and then some?
    How did American Land Title get off?
    We want to use this info for our case.

    • greywolf62 says:

      Still in jail and hasn’t collected a cent. Judge and lawyers still free and enjoying lives of luxury.

      • Trevor David Hitchin Kaufman says:

        greywolf….I hear your howl.
        if I can call one person in MT…to make sure she

        1. Gets out of Jail….tomorrow
        2. Gets paid w/in 30 days….

        Who might that be? Yes I can & yes I will. Is the Gov the right guy? Dept of Corrections? If she is still ‘in’…does she need a shield for behind bars….mi familia es ‘everywhere’….let me help if I can. Bowe is coming home….that took assistance from all countries….if we can find a $5million hot Stratavarious violen…returned unharmed…if we can get An American PoW home (5 were killed today in friendly fire for all you critics…the Soldier was tortured…his parents cry less than 150 miles from where I type this….if we can help do those types of things…let us help Mary….

        Thank you. Trev

        ps….just saw that MetLife and Chase are under full and very sharp investigation….for all the pain…perhaps there is hope. If I am still fighting….then ‘they’ have not won. 777

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