Investigators acknowledge criminals used images published by counties online
Deed scams leave mess for state, counties
Officials see no easy fix for forgery consState and county officials say they're not sure whether they'll ever be able to stop con artists from using forged deeds to steal property. Most of the land was owned by people from across the nation and around the world who died years ago and whose property taxes were going unpaid. Some deed scammers have forged signatures using dead owners and fake witnesses and have hijacked the stamps and seals of notaries who say they had no idea what was going on.
"It's one thing if these guys are committing crimes," Aronberg said. "It's another thing if the state is facilitating it. The state shouldn't be making it easy for this kind of thing to go on."The people filing the deeds apparently are focusing on vacant lots with overdue taxes and may be using the Internet to research the owners.
Signatures forged in SW Fla. land deals
"I spoke with the National Chamber of Notaries, and they will file charges," Eeman said. At least two notaries in Belgium said their signatures and seals were forged on deeds filed in Lee County by USA Real Estate Solutions Inc. of Punta Gorda.
Scam artists apparently are
finding victims — from as far away as China, Taiwan, Spain and the Congo
— by using the Internet to research vacant lots with overdue property
Firm files deeds with 'signatures' of dead
Receives check sent to absentee land owner
Scores of fraudulent deeds have surfaced in Lee and Charlotte counties in recent months — including dozens with signatures of dead people
Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist is suing a man he says used a Marco Island address, fraud and threats to profit from hundreds of vacant lots owned by others. According to the suit, Teal used the Internet to locate his victims, who usually lived in other states and often were elderly
Attorney Ira Silver says he has no idea how his notary stamp ended up on a fake deed filed in Lee County by a firm called Zubrick Inc.
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