Can a Lien Claim Be Invalidated Because It Contains An Overstatement and Is That Evidence Enough of Fraudulent Intent ?
In Cordeck Sales, Inc. v. Construction Systems, Inc., 382 Ill. App. 3d 334, 887 N.E.2d 474, 320 Ill. Dec. 330 (2008), this court held that an affidavit detailing the amount outstanding, which was greater than the actual amount due, and the procedure used to prepare the lien did not establish an intent to defraud where partial payment on the outstanding balance was received after the affidavit was prepared. Cordeck, 382 Ill. App. 3d at 372, 887 N.E.2d at 512.
The Cordeck court held that based on the affidavit, it was reasonable to infer that the affiant was unaware of the overstatement thereby negating an intent to defraud. Cordeck, 382 Ill. App. 3d at 372, 887 N.E.2d at 512.
The Cordeck court stated that "even under a constructive fraud theory, a lien claim will not be invalidated simply because the claim contains an overstatement." Cordeck, 382 Ill. App. 3d at 373, 887 N.E.2d at 513. This court reasoned that "in most cases, 'the intent to defraud is shown by executed documents that on their face overstate the amount due in combination with some other evidence of record from which intent could be inferred.'" Cordeck, 382 Ill. App. 3d at 373, 887 N.E.2d at 513, quoting Hartmann, 353 Ill App. 3d at 708, 817 N.E.2d 913.
In Cordeck, this court did not invalidate the mechanic's lien because the party seeking to invalidate the lien failed to point to "other evidence from which fraudulent intent can be inferred." Cordeck, 382 Ill. App. 3d at 373, 887 N.E.2d at 513.