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Fraudulent Notarized Grand Deed.

Pasadena, CA |

I'm selling my property & I found out that someone fraudulently forged my signature on a notarized grand deed. I have no idea who that person is & not sure if he is forging the notary seal and signature as well or if the notary is involved as well. My realtor told me the solution is file a release form with the county superior court so I can proceed with the property sale. However I want to make sure that individual & all his accomplices are prosecuted and jailed. I'm getting the feeling that it might be a large real estate fraud case. Do I file a police report at my local police station, with the Secretary of State, or both. Can I file a lawsuit against the person? Also, do I need to report this before filing for the release form and sell the property or can it be done after? HELP PLEASE

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Start by contacting the local District Attorney, because most counties in California have real estate fraud units within the D.A. The units are funded by a special recording fee assessed on certain real estate documents like deeds.

Get certified copies of all the documents from the County Recorder, as these certified government documents are actually better than originals for evidentiary purposes.

You may or may not need to contact the Secretary of State concerning the Notary. Frankly, if they participated in the fraud you describe, then losing their notary seal will be the least of their troubles.

You may need to get a court order so you may proceed with your transaction. Also, you should have several civil claims against the wrongdoers, including fraud and slander of title. Be sure to consult with a local real estate lawyer experienced in dealing with issues of fraudulent transfers, forged instruments, slander of title, and so on.

Good luck.

Please note that, while I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer. This information is for general educational and informational purposes only, and is not legal advice. You should review your particular situation with a qualified lawyer of your choosing.

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Renay Grace Rodriguez

Renay Grace Rodriguez

Posted

Mr. Buckingham is correct. You can report the fraud. BUT it may upset your real estate transaction. Which is more important to you... closing your deal .... or putting people in jail? Yes you can have several civil claims to go after wrongdoers, but what is the practical effect of going after them. If they are criminals its difficult to find their assets and achieve compensation. A judgment for a million dollars that is uncollectible will not pay your bills. So sit down with an attorney and examine what its going to cost you to pursue civil litigation. In my neck of the woods to get a case to trial on average is about $35,000 to $50,000. Is your case worth that expense if you can't find a lawyer willing to take it on a contingency?

Posted

If this fraudulent deed is recorded, it is a cloud on your title that will have to be removed before you can close an escrow - at least where the buyer and lender are requiring title insurance. I am not sure what your realtor is talking about - a release form? I think he/she is mistaken. Start with getting a certified copy of the fraudulent deed, and then see a real estate attorney. Your attorney will have to file a complaint in Superior Court called "Quiet Title". You will be suing the Grantee named in the forged deed as well as the notary for fraud and slander of title. This is a lengthy process, so if you plan on selling the property, you should get started soon.

Richard A. Rodgers, Esq.
(805) 230-2525
200 N. Westlake Blvd. Ste 201
Westlake Village, CA 91362
rar@sd-attorneys.com
www.sdresq.com

As stated in the AVVO.COM Terms and Conditions of Use, this answer is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship or privilige is created by this response.

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Asker

Posted

The problem is that it has not been recorded. Buyer's title is willing to insure the property, but my bank is not willing to proceed until this is cleared!!!

Richard Alan Rodgers

Richard Alan Rodgers

Posted

If it has not been recorded, how did you get this deed? In an event, since this deed is not recorded, the title company will insure the buyer's title and you can close the escrow - do it asap. Your bank - the existing lender - should not be concerned with this - they just want to be paid at the close of escrow. There is no reason to involve your bank at this point.

Posted

Its really a question of whether you want the cow or the pig.

Let me explain. If you want the property to sell, then the release form they are wanting you to sign may release any claims you may have against anyone for the forgery. It sounds like this is what the realtor wants you do so they can close the sale and earn the commission. BUT if you sign a release that accepts all of the benefits of that deed, that could offer protection to the persons involved in the fraudulent signature. It comes down to where is the harm to you if you accepted and used that grant deed and were able to sell the property.

If you are losing something in the transaction because of this grant deed then that is a different animal (hence my analogy with animals above). It may not be to your benefit to sell at this time. Better to stop the sale and fix the problem the forged deed is causing. While you lose the sale, you will retain your rights to go after the culprits.

This is where a lawyer can really help you. Sit down with one of us and examine the numbers and see if there is real harm being caused in your situation. Karma has a way of catching up with people. You don't have to be the person delivering Karma at every wrongdoing. Pick your battles. But let a lawyer help you decide if this is one you need to fight.

DO NOT RELY UPON ANYTHING YOU READ ON THE INTERNET AS THE SOLE SOURCE OF INFORMATION AS TO HOW TO DEAL WITH YOUR LEGAL PROBLEMS. The information provided here is not intended to constitute legal advice and is purely based upon the limited information provided by the inquirer. I urge each of you to seek out an attorney in your community who is familiar with your local court's requirements and practices that will sit down with you and help you formulate a financial strategy which suits the needs of you and your family. In many cases the consultation is absolutely FREE. It is only when we attorneys can meet you and ask all the questions we need to ask that we can fully advise you of your options.

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