Another Alert for Homeowners: Red Flags that Someone May Have Forged Your Deed

December 7, 2010

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.

More on Forging or Counterfeiting Fake Driver's Licenses and I.D. Cards

October 13, 2010

Last week, we blogged about the seriousness of carrying a fake I.D. or driver’s license (even though it’s a common offense among underage college students). Following up on that blog is the seriousness of being the individual or group who is actually forging or counterfeiting fraudulent driver’s licenses or identification cards.

Depending on the extent of involvement, you could face charges under Penal Code 470a PC California’s law against forging or counterfeiting fraudulent driver’s licenses or I.D. cards, for forging or counterfeiting a fraudulent public seal (like the one found on the forged or counterfeit license or I.D. card), conspiracy, manufacturing or selling fraudulent identification cards, etc…

The end result? You could face as many as three years in a California state prison for each charged offense. And government agencies are on the lookout for this type of criminal activity, which means if discovered, they will invest a number of resources into trying to make sure their efforts result in conviction.

Penal Code 470: California’s Forgery Law

Most people think of forgery as signing someone else’s name to a document without the person’s permission. But Penal Code 470 – California’s forgery law actually reads much broader than that.

In California, a person commits forgery when he knowingly alters, creates, or uses a written document, intending to commit a fraud. Said another way, forgery is creating or making use of a new document for the forger’s personal benefit and gain.

For example, a person who knowingly deposits a bad check in his bank account commits a forgery, even if he was not the one who signed it or created the false document. Likewise, a con artist who deceives a person into signing a fraudulent paper commits a forgery. As such, California’s forgery law is a sort of “catch all” that criminalizes a wide range of deceptive and fraudulent acts.