New York’s Attorney General Gets Tougher on Deed Thieves

New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced a new package of legislation to create the specific crime of “deed theft.”

Deed theft occurs when someone conveys a property deed to another party without the informed consent of the rightful owner. The new law against it is meant to bolster the remedies available under New York’s real estate deed protection measures, and to make prosecution easier whenever New York state residents fall victim to shady deed shifting.

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In Long Island, New York: A Spectacular Case of Alleged Deed Theft

Nassau County, New York is known as America’s first suburban county. It’s an area with beautiful real estate, including the lovely Long Island home of Rosemarie Mika. This 78-year-old homeowner is now fighting for that lovely home — in a spectacular case of alleged deed theft.

It happened, the records show, on October 11 of last year. That’s the day the deed to the house apparently passed the title to a new owner, Aurelia Soogea, for only $10. The case made national and international news.

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Texas AG Investigates Home Title Lock

Do Anti-Fraud Companies Overhype Deed Theft?

The latest cyberthreat is home equity theft, warns the Home Title Lock company. “Are you already a victim?”

The company warns potential customers to “lock” their deeds, or they could be left homeless and mired in credit problems.

Now, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has launched an investigation into Home Title Lock’s advertising.

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$199 Check From “County Deed Records”? Recognize Home Warranty Renewal Scams

Frauds and fakers commonly target homeowners for money. In one of the sleaziest schemes going on at the moment, a home warranty vendor is trying to get homeowners to sign up for its product.

What’s worse, the marketing letters don’t look like sales materials. They look like they come from the local recorder of deeds.

Counties in numerous states are warning their residents about these unsolicited and deceptive letters.

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Heirs, Protect the Seniors in Your Life From Deed Theft

A 91-year-old Floridian recently sent a payment to his insurer. Then the agent called to say the company wouldn’t be able to renew the homeowner’s policy. The deed had been transferred. The home was now legally owned by another person.

Some days later, from his bedroom, this shocked and disoriented senior heard three people come into the home. It seems the perpetrator was trying to sell the house. Fort Lauderdale police are investigating.

The swindled senior paid off the mortgage 15 years ago. Maybe that’s part of the issue. If there were a mortgage lien on the home, the mortgage company would have been alerted to the transfer. Plenty of elders live in homes with paid-off mortgages in Florida, and plenty of fraudulent schemes are targeting their increasingly valuable homes.

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New Fraud Fighter: The Good DEED Act

Deed fraud infects cities and counties all over the United States. This kind of fraud involves forging a deed, impersonating someone who holds a title to a home, or falsely authorizing a transfer of real estate ownership. It’s essentially a home-stealing scheme.

Now, lawmakers are taking action to make life harder for deed thieves. In October 2022, U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri, along with Rep. Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania, introduced H.R. 9192, the Good Documentation and Enforcement of Estate Deeds Act. The Good DEED Act, for short.

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Deed Scam Update: Fake Documents Transfer Dead Floridians’ Houses

In Daytona Beach, a suspect has pleaded “not guilty” to organized fraud. The crime involved two homes, stolen by deed fraud, with multiple notaries enlisted as part of the scheme.

The Volusia County, Florida suspect faces a first-degree felony charge, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. He is accused of creating fraudulent quitclaim deeds indicating that prior property owners (who are dead) had willingly transferred their homes.

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