The Chicago Family Law Blog

Wrong Way to Get Religious Annulment: Forge Court Docs

Former CBOE (Chicago Board Options Exchange) multi-millionaire trader Steve Fanady, formerly known as Sotirios Fanuda, was arrested on Thursday, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. He was not charged with securities fraud, insider trading, or any other white-collar crime related to his former profession.

He was charged with forgery ... of a divorce document.

We get it. We've all been desperate to escape the clutches of an ex at one time or another, but forging a judge's signature and clerk's stamp? That's probably going a little too far.

Fanady married his ex-wife Pamela Harnack in 2003. ?At the time, he was worth little to nothing and reportedly made only $19,000 per year. In the divorce settlement, which was finalized in August 2011, he was required to hand over $3 million in CBOE stock and backdated spousal maintenance.

The forged documents were drawn up in August 2010, a year before his divorce was finalized, in order to gain an annulment from the Greek Orthodox Church. He later married his girlfriend Gina in Greece.

For the record, annulment (or invalidation of a marriage) can be granted for the following reasons:

  • Lack of mental capacity: Either party was not mentally able to consent to marriage due to drug use, alcohol use, mental incapacity, fraud, or another valid reason (love sickness probably doesn't count).
  • Lack of physical capacity: According to the State of Illinois, the marriage isn't valid until it is consummated. That means if the Viagra doesn't work, or he doesn't look as good with a wedding ring on, that could be grounds for invalidating the marriage.
  • Age: Either party was 17 or under and did not have their parents' consent (or judicial approval) for marriage.

Even if one of these reasons applies, there is still a time limit:

  • Lack of mental capacity: within 90 days of realizing the lack of capacity.
  • Lack of physical capacity: within one year of discovering the impotence.
  • Age: an action may be brought by you or your parent any time prior to reaching the age of 18.

It's not as quick as forging a couple of signatures and stamps. Consider the following query: is freedom from the ex worth a possibility of a jail sentence?

Related Resources: