Imposters find workarounds in fooling St. Louis city deed office to acquire houses

Even with rising interest rates, houses for sale continue to be in demand, and con artists have taken notice. KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.

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Scammers are stealing real estate by filing fraudulent quitclaim deeds, a form that transfers the title to real estate without a warranty of title.

Authorities believe scammers are monitoring properties that appear to be unoccupied and are tracking obituaries for recent deaths. According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, a scammer presented to the City of St. Louis Record of Deeds Office three quit claim deeds containing forged signatures of the properties’ actual owners.

Each forged signature had been falsely authenticated through a licensed notary public seal and forged signature. One of the residences’ property owners had died before their signatures were forged. The man’s conduct resulted in losses of more than $150,000 to the legitimate owners of the properties.

The St. Louis Consumer Fraud Task Force recommends prospective buyers protect themselves by double checking their records, also working with a professional, in addition to being aware, and reporting bad actors to the BBB, Federal Trade Commission, or the USPS Inspection Service. For 89 9 KRPS, I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro

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