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'Idol' Winner Studdard Files Complaint

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard has filed a complaint with the Birmingham police department accusing his ex-manager of identity theft and forgery.

Studdard, 26, said in the complaint filed Monday that Ronald W. Edwards forged paperwork giving himself power of attorney over Studdard. According to the report, the forgery took place between Aug. 1, 2003, and Nov. 30, 2004.

Studdard also claims Edwards used his credit cards to take $105,000 and had written checks for $150,000. The report says $22,000 in checks were stolen and deposited in Edwards' account. Studdard sued Edwards and his marketing company, SEZ Inc., in February, claiming Edwards misused more than $246,000 of Studdard's money.

Edwards denied the allegations and has indicated Studdard owes him money. Edwards filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on June 17, prompting a stay in the lawsuit.

Vic Hayslip, a Studdard attorney, claimed that Edwards' filing of bankruptcy was an effort to avoid giving a deposition in the lawsuit. Edwards' attorney, Glennon Threatt, called the contention inaccurate.

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  • 11 months later...

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'Idol' Winner Studdard Awarded $2M in Suit

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Ruben Studdard

"American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard has been awarded $2 million in his lawsuit against his ex-manager for misappropriating the singer's money and credit cards. Studdard, 26, of Birmingham, won the television talent show in 2003 and filed suit last year against ex-manager Ronald W. Edwards and Edwards' promotions company, Sez Inc.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Scott Vowell awarded Studdard $500,000 for his actual losses and another $1.5 million in punitive damages, The Birmingham News reported Thursday, June 15, on its Web site.

Vowell dismissed Edwards' promotions company from the suit because it was bankrupt and had no assets. Edwards filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on June 17, 2005. The suit claimed Edwards misused more than $246,000 of the singer's money.

According to the judge's ruling, Edwards took money from Studdard's checking and other bank accounts, improperly used his credit cards and even used Studdard's money to repay a $10,000 bank loan. Studdard has sold more than 2.2 million records, but the damage to his credit because of the fraud made it hard to obtain financing to buy a home, Vowell's order said.

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Ruben Studdard 'Returns' with New R&B Album

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Ruben Studdard

Ruben Studdard returns to R&B with his third album, set for release September 26. The album's title, "The Return," signifies his coming back to the mainstream after recording the 2004 gospel album, "I Need an Angel," Studdard said in a statement released on Monday, July 31 by J Records.

"I've had people ask me where I've been in the past few years so I thought calling it 'The Return' made sense," said Studdard, who won Fox's "American Idol" talent competition in May 2003. His debut album, "Soulful," was released in 2003.

"The first track on the new record is 'The Return of the Velvet Teddy Bear,' so I just shortened it and made it the title of my CD," the 27-year-old singer said. "With 'The Return,' I'm letting all the people who've followed me from 'American Idol' until now know that basically I'm back."

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