When Noah Seidenberg wrote this, I knew right away that it had to be re-blogged. The video in the blog is worth watching as they explain how people are losing their homes, or costing them time and money to get them back. At least Chicago is addressing the issue, where as the rest of the country may need to follow suit. Read Noah's blog and be enlightened about one of the scams going on in the Real Estate World.
I am not talking about making a better offer on a house for sale here folks. There is a scam going around where a thief will steal the home you own or have a mortgage on. It is happening and in Illinois the Cook County Board Of Commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance making this illegal and a felony or at least harder to do.
Realtors or Real Estate professionals may understand this more than home owners but it needs to be explained to the public. If these scammers used their brain power in a positive legal enterprise maybe this country would be a better place to live because if you can think of a scam like this then they are smart enough to be a legitimate business person.
It is called "Clouding A Title" and for $40 a crook could get phony paperwork officially recorded. You would not even know that this was done and we are told that the people doing this try and then extort money from the unsuspecting former home owner, or get them kicked out of their home, even changing the locks while they are away at work.
The FBI is saying that property and mortgage fraud is the fastest growing white collar crime. They advise that it is as easy as a bad guy recording a document that created by fraud makes it appear as if they own your property.
Before this issue was brought to the attention of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough, by law the Recorders office could not authenticate documents it could only file them for a person who pays a $40 dollar fee.
To quote Yarbrough, "To steal a home, all you have to do is doctor some paperwork up and Photoshop it, bring it to the recorder's office, record it and voila -- you own a home. And it happens, right here in this office,". "When I walked into this office, I knew this was happening ... and I decided I couldn't just sit idly by."
To explain it even further I want to quote Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League who said:
"They're bullies, they're brazen, they think that nothing can touch them, they think they're entitled to everything," Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League says of the sovereign citizens often behind this crime. Sovereign citizens are an extreme, anti-government faction known for tactics that include filing inordinate numbers of documents to intentionally overwhelm a government office.
Pitcavage defines paper terrorism as the use of bogus legal documents or the misuse of legal documents for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, and retaliating against anyone who has irritated a sovereign. "For example, I'm a sovereign citizen and I feel you have trespassed upon me in some way. I file a $25 million lien against your home and you can't sell that home. Your title is clouded and you have to go to court, spend a lot of time, money and effort. That's the essence of paper terrorism, using our open government as a weapon against the government and its citizens."
Sovereign citizens are not the only faction connected to this crime. The man arrested and convicted in a Chicago case posed as a government official, forged documents and tried to 'flip' the home before its owners were tipped off that he'd clouded the title and changed the locks to their vacant property."
There is an easy yet often unknown way you can prevent this from happening to your home in Illinois. You can register your Property Information and be notified when ever a document is recorded that matches your personal criteria. Please check out this Property Fraud link to help you register your home with Cook County.
Here is an interesting video from WTTW the Chicago PBS channel that will explain this even further (the ad part is choppy but be patient)Noah SeidenbergColdwell Banker Evanstonnoah.firstname.lastname@example.org
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