ORLANDO, Fla. - It sounds hard to believe, but scammers can file phony deeds at the clerk's office to steal your home.
When it happened to an Orange County family, they turned to Action 9 to get their house back, but they still felt the person responsible got away with a crime.
Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich found out that same person was just arrested on suspicion of a fake deed scheme.
"Is this the guy who tried to steal your house?" Ulrich asked while showing a photo.
"Yes, that's him," replied Nowattie Mangray.
Mangray recognized Neil Hyler as the man who she claims stole her Orange County home with a fake quitclaim deed last year.
Hyler was just arrested by Casselberry police and is charged with grand theft and forgery, accused of trying to steal a home in Casselberry with a fraudulent deed.
"He should have been arrested a year and a half ago," Mangray said.
Mangray and her husband claim Hyler forged their signatures on the phony deed and the clerk's office processed and accepted it.
"They told me I don't own the house anymore," Mangray said.
She contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Office, claiming she had been a victim of fraud.
"Angry, upset and very mad they didn't do anything," Mangray said.
"That's why you called us?" Ulrich asked.
"Yes," Mangray replied.
Action 9 tracked down Neil Hyler, who claimed he bought the deed from someone else, and hadn't known it was fake.
"You paid him $20,000?" Ulrich asked.
"Yes, $20,000," Hyler said.
He claimed to be a victim, too.
After our confrontation, he met with Mangray and signed all the paperwork needed to erase the fake deed.
"It was your home now," Ulrich said.
"Free and clear, yes," Mangray said.
According to police investigators, however, three months later, Hyler submitted another fake deed, trying to steal a $130,000 home in Casselberry.
That homeowner's complaint was not dismissed and triggered felony charges against Hyler.
"I'm glad I did call you because, if I was waiting on the cops to do something, they will never do it," Mangray said.
Hyler has pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial.
If this happens to you, file a police report as a fraud victim. This is not a civil contract dispute.
Orange County offers a fraud alert if someone files a document in your name.
Check with your county courthouse to see what protections may be offered.
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