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


Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.

SoftPro is the nation's leading provider of closing and title software, consistently pushing the technological envelope to pioneer the most powerful and comprehensive closing and title automation software on the market. SoftPro's Award-Winning Software combines cutting-edge technology with outstanding support to make your business more productive, efficient and boost your revenue. North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) is a seasoned title insurance underwriter, helping title agents to achieve their individual business goals for more than 50 years. Today, the company conducts real estate settlement services in 39 states and the District of Columbia through a network of experienced, independent agents.