Georgia’s House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill cracking down on people who steal houses by recording fraudulent real estate deeds. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Tom Kirby and co-sponsored by Rep. Ed Lindsey. House Bill 985 would protect all Georgia homeowners from those who file fake deeds. The bill also makes filing, signing or witnessing those deeds a felony.
The bill states: Any person who violates subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than one nor more than ten years, a fine not to exceed $10,000.00, or both.
Subsection (a) is amended to read as follows: “…it shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly file, enter, or record a(n) encumbrance, or any other instrument relating to a security interest in or title to real or personal property in a public record knowing or having reason to know that such lien, encumbrance, or other instrument is false or contains a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation.”
While this bill goes a long way towards punishing criminal behavior it is still important for property owners to be diligent in protecting their own interests. Owners are encouraged to regularly check the public records pertaining to their property and to keep an eye out for the signs of property fraud.