Tune in monthly for a curated collection of articles we found interesting on a broad range of topics; some which are directly related to records management and others which might share common themes.
No, we didn’t write these articles—hence the name of this series, “Off the Record”— but, fortunately, we didn’t need to in order to share the knowledge with our subscribers.
The following articles illustrate the growing concern in the use of public records, i.e. forged deeds in real estate scams.
From 2019, this article reviews the process thieves use to steal property and house deeds by using fraudulent records. The text provides a list on how the process includes forging deed records to steal property, along with examples of the legal disputes in tracing ownership through public records. A second list follows, explaining how to identify and protect property from deed fraud with suggestions on how to catch and prevent fake deeds for members of the public, real estate agents, and county officials. The text places a fine point on the role of county offices in the detection fake property records, and warns that county offices are set up to only process deeds, with little to no verification checks for authenticity.
“A ‘reverend’ forged deed on $4M foreclosed Dallas mansion, court records say. The bank wants it back.” -Dallas Morning News
How well do public records prove ownership? Who is the legal owner based on said records? In the sale of a Dallas foreclosed property the, issue of deed fraud and the resultant, unclear chain of home ownership becomes a legal dilemma. The article underlines the rise of fraudulent deeds and their links to property scams, the entities involved in the sale and processing of such scams, fraud investigation, and the records used to prove chains of ownership.
The Texas Department of Public Safety recently investigated a property deed forgery scheme that took place over three years in Webb County. The investigation uncovered who was involved in the scheme and the how they facilitated fraudulent deeds of sale. Aside from forging signatures, the deeds in question were not verified with any legal permissions, and this article provides a look at how the forgers avoided the authorization process, as well as examining the values of the properties targeted.