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Industry News

Alleged Florida real estate scam uses dead people

March 18, 2005

Property thought to be stolen through forged signatures

Inman News

An alleged deed scam in Florida – in which signatures of dead people are being forged so their land can be stolen – targets property owners from Taiwan and China to Belgium and the Congo, the News-Press in Southwest Florida reported.

Forged deeds are said to be surfacing in Florida's Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota counties in response to a red-hot real estate market in which the value of many vacant lots has shot up tenfold in three years, the News-Press reported.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and the state attorney's office are investigating the problem, according to media reports.

According to deeds filed with the Lee County Clerk of Court's office, the News-Press said, at least two deceased individuals supposedly signed their land over to USA Real Estate Solutions of Punta Gorda and Helen Trade Inc. of Miami.

Albert Delvaux, one of the alleged signers, died in 1998, and Roland G. Lanson, another alleged singer, died in 2000, years before the supposed signings took place, the News-Press said.

Darryl Watson, a USA Real Estate Solutions broker, reportedly told the News-Press the problems were caused by a man who used to work for the company's Belgium real estate agent. Watson told the News-Press the man had since been fired.

Copyright 2005 Inman News

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