ORLANDO, Fla. - Scammers just stole a local family's home by filing a phony deed at the county clerk's office. It sounds incredible, but it happens, and victims can lose thousands reclaiming their own property.
“Did you sign this document?” asked Todd Ulrich.
“No,” replied Nowattie Mangray. She and her husband are fighting to keep the home they've owned for years.
When applying for a new roof permit they uncovered a quit claim deed that had their notarized signatures. The deed is a contract selling their house to a man named Jason Durant.
“Did someone try to steal your house?” asked Ulrich.
“Yes,” said Mangray.
It's known as a wild deed scam. That’s where con men file fraudulent courthouse deeds to illegally transfer property so they can sell it to someone else.
Mangray contacted the sheriff's office to investigate, but the couple found out getting rid of the phony deed is a civil matter and they have to hire an attorney
“Angry, upset, because I have to go to court to prove it's my house and it's my house,” said Mangray. The scheme took another turn when it was sold a second time.
Another quit claim deed shows Jason Durant sold it to Neil Hyler. When Hyler agreed to meet Ulrich, he had no idea what he had discovered.
“The owners of this house say Jason Durant stole it from them,” said Ulrich. “These aren't their signatures. Have you been scammed?”
Appearing stunned, he told Ulrich how much it cost him to buy it.
“You paid him $20,000?” asked Ulrich.
“Yes twenty thousand cash,” replied Hyler.
“I think he just scammed you,” said Ulrich.
“Oh (expletive),” said Hyler.
“You were going to find this out, sorry I had to tell you,” said Ulrich.
“I'm an investor myself, I buy a lot of houses,” said Hyler.
As for Jason Durant, Ulrich couldn't find him at the address on the deed.
“And they have to pay. They have to go to jail, and give me my house back,” said Mangray.
Hyler also contacted the sheriff's office. Filing phony deeds is a third-degree felony.
You can sign up at the county comptroller's office for free fraud alerts for any property you own.
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