In part one, there was a brief summary which depicted the timeline of events regarding the court proceedings between Kyle R. Curtis and Steven McRae. Within these proceedings, evidence has been put forth by both parties in an attempt to support their arguments. During the deposition, there are several references made to the evidence brought forward by Mr. Curtis. It is for this reason, I wanted to give the readers an insight as to what the evidence was and what was known and/or asserted prior to the depositions.
Keep in mind that Mr. Curtis had two different arguments throughout the court proceedings. Initially, the main argument was improper service due to a supposedly wrong address being used to send the papers. Later on, this was changed to the argument that he never had received the papers until several months later.
Additionally, most of the evidence was heavily scrutinised after September 6th, when Mr. Potts had reached out to Mr. McRae. It was due to this conversation that it became apparent to Mr. McRae the reality of what was purported to be evidence in support of Mr. Curtis’ argument. Allow me to preface that it did not bode well for Mr. Curtis.
The supposed evidence that will be discussed below, are kept to their smallest form possible. Redacting information that is either not relevant, or contains potential personal information. There will be an explanation on how to obtain the materials yourself since all of this was obtained by public means.
Let’s get started at the earliest affidavits filed by Mr. Curtis in which he requested with the Motion to Set Aside: ECF 19. There is one particular item within this document that I want to highlight, namely the notary document of the affidavit. Take notice of line number two: “Court documents state that the summons was sent to … NC 27313 on November 20th, 2019.” (Address omitted). This is a date that could actually correspond to the initial notification on the Order for Default Judgement sent by the Judge, which is dated on November 19th, 2019 (ECF 16). Which is rather interesting as to why Mr. Curtis had initially used this date on this specific notary document. Please, look carefully at the signature and notary stamp and remember this. The reason for this will become apparent.
As ECF 19 was incomplete and lacking any actual accompanying documentations that allegedly supports written affidavit requesting the Motion to Set Aside Default Judgement, Mr. Curtis filed another affidavit (ECF 20), with the documentations that Mr. Curtis claims to support his argument. Here we get to see an awfully familiar notary document. Almost everything is identical to the previous one, with only one exception. At line two, the date has been changed and it now reads: “Court documents state that the summons was sent to … NC 27313 on August 30th, 2019.” (Address omitted). It appears that Mr. Curtis has changed a notary document. This is simply not allowed. A notary may never be changed, corrected or amended. The only way to do this is by simply getting a completely new notary document. Whilst this is a mistake made on Mr. Curtis’ part, he may not be aware of the rules and regulations regarding this. If this was the only thing, it is rather likely the court would be lenient to Mr. Curtis and overlook this error. Especially since he was pro se (on his own). Nevertheless, the date on this notary document now refers to the initial papers in which Mr. Curtis was to be served with the summons and complaint by Mr. McRae.
On the next page, a transcript was given, with a link to a clipped portion of a video published by Mr. McRae. The link itself does not lead to the original video. The clip and transcript are therefore taken out of context. Interestingly, later on in the proceedings, Mr. McRae had presented several audio and video recordings, that are the originals, as evidence himself. Mr. Curtis’ lawyer attempted to have those dismissed as inadmissible evidence referring to a specific statue (N.C. Gen. Stat. §8C-1, Rule 901(b) (1) ) (ECF 37). This statue details that a witness testimony is required to authenticate the recordings, and since those were lacking, it should be dismissed. Mr. McRae already had authenticated the recordings as true and accurate. However, in the event that it was to be deemed necessary, Mr. McRae added additional declarations from the persons who made the recordings that they are authentic. Mr. Curtis has since ECF 20 not repeated this piece of evidence, and therefore is of no concern due to lack of authentication.
Now we get to the first of several interesting bits of evidence given by Mr. Curtis in an attempt to support his argument. On page 11-12 of ECF 20, Mr. Curtis had filed what appears to be a rental agreement between Mr. Potts and Mr. Curtis. If you recall from Part One, Mr. Potts was at this time the boyfriend of Mr. Curtis. Now, why would one have a rental agreement with significant other? Good question, right? We will get back to this later, but for now, take note of the date and the signature presented below. This will of importance later.
Most interesting is the inclusion of several purported bank statements from Discover on pages 13 and 14. These are allegedly from August and November 2019. Both of these documents have multiple oddities going on that raises doubt to the legitimacy of the documents. The first oddity we see is at the top right on the purported August statement.
As depicted here, you can clearly see that there is something missing in the date format of the Statement Period, namely the year in the first part of the date. This is present in the November statement. This is not the only thing that was notably different. In both the August and November statements, the address given also had a notable different font when compared to the recipient’s name. Here is an example taken from the August Statement (address omitted).
Take a closer look at the underlined letters in the address field and compare that to the underlined letters in the name. It is rather obvious that these are not all written in the same font. Ergo, two different fonts were used within this block. This has been noted as such in ECF 39. However, let’s not get ahead of the timeline here and continue with ECF 20. We’ll get back to the Discover statements later.
We get to the last two pages of ECF 20, skipping the 1099-form as that is not really interesting (and yes, I do know what is beneath the black box 😊), where we see two declarations, dated February 10th, by different people stating that Mr. Curtis was in fact living at the ‘new’ address. The first one was being signed by Mrs. Curtis, the mother of Mr. Curtis. The signature depicted here seemed to be authentic, though somewhat different than the signature shown on the return receipt. Despite this, it is generally accepted that Mrs. Curtis is not of concern to this case. The second declaration was purportedly signed by Mr. Potts. If you recall, earlier I started to take note of the date and signature of the rental agreement purportedly signed by Mr. Potts. The signature of the declaration can be seen below.
As you may notice, there is a very strong resemblance between these two signatures. So strong in fact, that you might think that they are identical. Here I would like to reference another video that Cheshire Viq made where she has been comparing these signatures in on sitting, overlaying them with each other: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm90DNNFbY8.
Now, it can be quite normal to have an identical signature for different documents by saving them and then reusing them. In this case, however, the timeline does not really add up for this to happen. The rental agreement was supposedly signed in July of 2019, whilst these declarations were supposedly signed in February 2020. Roughly seven months apart. Also, remember that in Part One that I already stated that Mr. Potts later would file a declaration that he did not sign these documents. More information had come to light alongside that, that would really cast doubt on the timeline of events on these signatures. Am I a broken record if I say, more on that later? Probably, but just keep on reading.
The next ECF in which Mr. Curtis files evidence for his argument is found in ECF 31.1. This document mostly refiles the same documentations we see in ECF 20. That is a result of Mr. Curtis now getting counsel for his case. The modified notary document, rental agreement, Discover statements, and 1099 form see a return here. At this point throughout the court proceedings, we have no new information. As denoted in the previous instalment of this series, in ECF 33.1 Mr. Curtis also changed his argument from served at the wrong address, to never having received the papers until several months later.
Throughout the posts, I have given several indications as to what has challenged some of the evidence put forward by Mr. Curtis. Primarily the assertion by Mr. Potts that the documents filed by Mr. Curtis that allegedly have Mr. Potts signature on them were not signed by Mr. Potts, rather that they were forgeries. Additionally, the visual oddities of the Discover statements were also raised. Both of these can be found in ECF 38 and 39.
In the days prior to the initial start of the hearing, it was discovered that the barcode on the Discover statements could be deciphered using the publicly available decoder here: https://postalpro.usps.com/ppro-tools/encoder-decoder. With this decoder, you can convert the bars above the address box into a string of 65 characters containing a combination of four letters: F, D, A, T. When applying this to the barcodes on both the Discover statements, you get the following strings.
The top line is the from the November statement, and the bottom line is from the August statement. When parsed through the decoder, you get the delivery ZIP Code of where the letter is being sent to, as these barcodes are used by machines to sort the mail. As we can see from the earlier picture where I addressed the font issues, the ZIP Code of that address was 28263. The decoder gives a different ZIP Code as you can see below. This ZIP Code (27313) does match with the ZIP Code used for the service of the papers, indicating that the address shown on the Discover statements are altered.
Within the address block, there is also a data matrix code that can be scanned. Scanning the supposed August statement show that the statement was generated on November 1st, 2019. When one scans the November statement, it shows that the statement was generated on December 1st, 2019. The former would be odd, as it indicates that the statement was actually an October statement.
As a result of the aforementioned information coming to light, the hearing was postponed by several days so that both Mr. Curtis and the Court were given some time to respond and investigate respectively. Mr. Curtis responded with his filings of ECF 44.1. In that affidavit, he submitted new evidence in an attempt to support his continued argument that he lived elsewhere.
The first of these new pieces of evidence shown is an Amazon receipt with order #111-2567081-7056237, dated on supposedly August 4th of 2019. As a result of previous discoveries regarding the signatures and Discover statements, this too was heavily scrutinised. It was noted that the text colour of the delivery date was slightly off. Additionally, the address wasn’t in bold. More interestingly is the order number. An anonymous source has shown a picture with this specific order number also showing the shipment date being the January 7th. A whole five months later.
The next item being shown is a W-9 form. Interestingly, due to it being slanted it indicates that it is scanned. Additionally, all of the shown information is filled in with Adobe. This includes a big black box. It is trivially easy to look under each of the black boxes, either by simply removing them with the premium version of Adobe or by simply copying the image if it is an image upon which the black box was placed. When uncovered, it shows a purely white box. There was no information there to begin with. Which appears to me as misleading.
There are multiple items that are presented like this. A document that is intended to be showing something, but covered up because it would otherwise be visible for the public. However, underneath the cover, there is actually nothing there. As can be shown for the ACH Form on the next page. As well as another example on the page after that.
It doesn’t end here. The next exhibit shown in ECF 44.1 is a mail interaction between Mr. Potts and Mr. Curtis where they refer back to the supposed signing of the declaration supposedly occurred in February several months earlier. Here Mr. Curtis left out a bit of his message to Mr. Potts. In this redacted part of the message, Mr. Curtis is essentially threatening Mr. Potts. And there is still more to come.
Next up are purported Zelle payments. Mr. Potts already stated that these payments were not correct, and actually happened in January/February of this year. It is unfortunate that confirmation from Zelle themselves only came AFTER the deposition. Despite that, even within the screenshots of Zelle presented by Mr. Curtis, there was a discrepancy found that indicated this to also be modified. There is about 15 pixels discrepancy between the dates as shown on the image.
We’re not done yet as Mr. Curtis also provided a purported screenshot of him showing to be logged in on his bank account at Discover. There are numerous oddities to be found here. To show all the things that are wrong with this screenshot, I could post it in its entirety and call it a day… Or I could show you and explain each oddity in rapid-fire. Let’s go with the latter, shall we?
In the picture below, I marked several of the oddities. Mind, this is probably not the complete number of things that are out of place or have some sort of issue. Let’s get started.
- The browser appears to be chrome, which does not allow (in my experience) to have tabs so far left that it does this.
- There is a duplicate set of transformation lines between the chrome interface and the website. It is a duplicate of 3px thick.
- Mr. Curtis stated that he had supposedly only received his statements through a download. Then why would it fall under “Statements” rather than “Paperless Statements”? The latter would be the more logical option if it was “download only”.
- Where is the November statement?
- Normally PDF documents on websites are shown embedded. Here we see it not being embedded.
- The same barcode showing ZIP Code 27313.
- The same font errors.
- The page is cut-off at the bottom.
- The data matrix show that the bank statement was created on November 1st, 2019.
- The same date error, missing the year.
- Out of place zoom options.
- No window management options present.
- An odd cut-off area usually seen throughout the bottom of a webpage.
After the hearing, however, someone named Roohif was trying to look into the Discover statements and managed to recreate a method to extract the Adobe document code. This code allows one to see what really is going on with the content of any Adobe document. The idea of this isn’t new and not specifically related to Adobe. Roohif was seemingly inspired by this article: https://news.bitcoin.com/expert-witness-in-satoshi-case-claims-dr-wrights-documents-were-doctored/. In short, that article talks about a different case in which modified documentations were discovered that were changed through the use of Adobe. The specific changes were highlighted by something called “TouchUp_TextEdit”. When Roohif extracted the code of the PDF Discover statements, he found multiple instances of the “TouchUp_TextEdit”-line, indicating that the document was modified.
As for the “TouchUp_TextEdit” entries found within the Discover Statements, Astronomy Live made an excellent short video where he explains how to extract the code from the PDF documentations from scratch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yia9XZvtiWA.
Alternatively, you can also follow Roohif’s explanation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rewe5O-KpvA.
With the code, we can easily see the various area’s where the text in the Discover statements has been edited.
And with that, we conclude with all the evidence that Mr. Curtis had presented prior to the deposition, and the debunking of almost all of them. This is the information that was known at the time of the deposition. Hopefully, this will make for a solid foundation upon which you can better understand the deposition analysis when I get around to doing that. The deposition of Mr. Curtis is about 117 pages long, so bear with me.
As per usual, all the publicly available court records can be accessed at the courts’ website: https://ncbc.nccourts.org/public/ and search for either “Curtis” or “McRae” and you should find it. The case identification number is 19-CVS-8163.
If there are any questions or comments. You can either comment below or reach me on my Twitter: @IntriguedFeline.