S.C. Man Sentenced for Forging Deeds to Steal Homes in Washington, D.C.

October 25, 2018

A 39-year-old man from South Carolina was sentenced Oct. 19  to 18 months in jail on a federal wire fraud charge stemming from a real estate scheme in which he and others used forged deeds and fake driver’s licenses to fraudulently transfer ownership of District of Columbia homes from the rightful owners.

The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Nancy McNamara, assistant director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Peter Newsham, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

McCloud pled guilty in June 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Judge Amit P. Mehta.

According to the government’s evidence, McCloud and others identified vacant or seemingly abandoned residential properties in the District of Columbia, and then prepared and filed forged deeds with the District of Columbia’s Recorder of Deeds transferring the properties into fictitious names. Next, they agreed to sell these properties to legitimate purchasers and arranged with unsuspecting title and escrow companies to finalize the sale and transfer ownership. Finally, they shared the fraudulently-obtained sales proceeds amongst themselves.

In his guilty plea, McCloud admitted taking part in two such fraudulent transactions within a two-month period of 2015, which generated a total of $580,482 in proceeds.

In April 2015, McCloud filed a forged Intra-Family deed with the District of Columbia’s Recorder of Deeds purporting to show that a home in the unit block of K Street NW was transferred from the true owners to a fictitious person. The real owners, who owned the home outright without any mortgage liens, did not sign the deed and did not give anyone permission to transfer their home. McCloud then appeared at the title company pretending to be the owner to close the transaction, presenting a California driver’s license with his photograph but in the name of the fictitious person, signing the settlement documents and selling the property. The title company sent by wire transfer $195,527 to a bank account opened in the name of the fictitious person. McCloud withdrew approximately $43,000 of the funds before the crime was discovered. The rest of the funds were returned to the title company.

In the second transaction in May 2015, a conspirator arranged for a forged deed with respect to another home, in the 6400 block of 16th Street NW, to be filed with the Recorder of Deeds. As with the other property, the real owners, who owned the home outright without any mortgage liens, did not sign the deed and did not give anyone permission to sell the residence. In June 2015, McCloud appeared at the title company pretending to be the owner and using another fake California driver’s license with his photograph. He again signed the settlement documents in the fictitious name. The title company sent by wire transfer $384,955 to a bank account opened in the name of the fictitious person. McCloud was arrested the following day.


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