Forging deeds has, unfortunately, become quite common in California. People forge property deeds over to themselves and then record…or attempt to record…the deed to claim ownership of the property. This type of fraud is serious…forging deeds not only wreaks havoc on the lives of those who truly own the property, but it also subjects the forger to severe penalties.
Take, for example, a case that was filed earlier this year, where a man from San Francisco was charged with 16 felony counts based on his alleged fraudulent transfer of a woman’s three condominiums to himself. As reported, the defendant forged the deeds, filed them with the assessor’s office, obtained title to the $7.5 million in properties and then took out $2.2 million in loans against the properties. If convicted, he faces decades in prison and substantial fines for his involvement with this real estate scheme.
The true owner was unaware that this transfer had taken place until she began receiving mail for the defendant at her address. After becoming suspicious that something was up, she contacted the police and discovered the truth.
If you begin receiving mail for an unknown person at your address, solicitations from new lenders, or “welcome packages” after you’ve owned your home for quite a while, these oddities should serve as a warning that something’s not right.
Contact your local law enforcement agency about the possibility that someone may have committed deed forgery.