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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Criminal charge dismissed in case involving forged judge’s signature

UPDATED: Sat., March 3, 2018

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno in 2011. Charges were dropped Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, against a man accused of forging her signature. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno in 2011. Charges were dropped Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, against a man accused of forging her signature. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

A felony forgery charge has been dismissed against the former spokesman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in a case centered on a forged signature of Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno.

The criminal case against Quanah M. Spencer, 41, was dismissed Tuesday by Superior Court Judge James Triplet. It’s the latest turn in a bizarre civil case that continues before Moreno.

“The difficulty with this is that an innocent man was arrested, charged, spent a weekend in jail and had his name and reputation tarnished,” Spencer’s criminal attorney, Carl Oreskovich, said. “It certainly has been a painful experience for him.”

The forgery charge was filed in January after a Spokane police major crimes investigation determined that someone had forged Moreno’s signature on a court order that instructed BNSF Railway to release funds being garnished from Spencer, who works as a tribal liaison for the railroad.

That document was prepared by Spencer’s previous attorney, Aaron Kandratowicz of Spokane, who did not return a message seeking comment.

A court order was filed Feb. 15 in U.S. District Court indicating that the Washington State Bar Association has suspended Kandratowicz from practicing law in the state of Washington “pending compliance with a request or subpoena.”

The legal mess had its origins with a lawsuit filed in 2015 by Spencer and his wife, Gwen. They sued SAS Oregon, a company that remodeled the South Hill home they later purchased at 4311 S. Hogan St. The suit also named the Spencers’ real estate agent and realty company.

Moreno later ruled in favor of SAS Oregon and dismissed the Spencers’ lawsuit. The judge awarded $37,000 in attorneys’ fees for the lawyers representing the remodeling company. After the ruling, attorneys obtained approval to garnish Quanah Spencer’s wages from BNSF to pay the fees.

Then, in October of last year, BNSF received a fax stamped “certified copy” of a court order signed by Moreno that directed the railroad to stop garnishing Quanah Spencer’s pay. Authorities later determined it was forged.

That document, Spencer’s current attorneys say, was provided to Spencer by Kandratowicz, as part of the civil case that continues before Moreno.

“The Spencers certainly haven’t heard from him,” Oreskovich said of Kandratowicz. “I’ve never seen anything like it. We are pleased, ultimately, that they got to this point.”

Attorney Ryan Poole, who represents the Spencers in the civil case, said that he and the Spencers filed a separate civil suit against Kandratowicz that alleges malpractice in how he handled the legal battle that included the forged judge’s signature.

“We outlined a number of claims against him,” Poole said. “He failed them pretty much start to finish.”

Kandratowicz’s attorney, John Riseborough, had no comment when reached Thursday.

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