Attorneys step in after man claims home was stolen by fraudulent deed

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Attorneys stepped in on behalf of a disabled Seminole County man, who claims his home was stolen with a fraudulent deed.


This comes as efforts to force Gary Chestnut out of the home have intensified. Chestnut was served with an unlawful detainer lawsuit, which is like an eviction but used for cases involving squatters. As soon as attorneys stepped in on his behalf, the claim was dropped.

The property along Leonard Street in Altamonte Springs needs work, but it’s what Chestnut calls home, despite efforts by a nonprofit called The Home Fund and its owner, Karen Bobb, to force him out.

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“I never signed anything,” Chestnut told 9 Investigates about the Gift Deed that shows his name used to transfer ownership of the property to the nonprofit. “My signature is not on anything. Somebody’s signature, but not mine.”

Chestnut has given sworn statements and affidavits disputing the validity of the signature on the deed and reported it all to law enforcement. The deed was also notarized by the very same woman who runs the nonprofit, meaning it should never have been filed in the first place.

Recently, Chestnut was hospitalized, and while he was away from the property, the nonprofit filed the unlawful detainer action, essentially accusing Chestnut of being a squatter.

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“I have never seen something this egregious,” attorney Matt Gripp with the Seminole County Bar Association and Legal Aid Society said. Gripp’s team stepped in on Chestnut’s behalf to fight the unlawful detainer claim, and days later, it was dropped.

The attorney who filed the claim on behalf of Bobb and The Home Fund told 9 Investigates via email, “Once I saw the allegations contained in Mr. Chestnut’s answer, it was clear that we could not proceed with this case. I no longer represent The Home Fund, Inc.”

That’s still not enough to reverse the alleged fraudulent deed for good.

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“The journey, unfortunately, is going to be more fraught, because he’s going to have to prove that these documents are forged and fraud, which is not easy to do in the court,” Gripp said.

We’ve tried multiple times to speak to Bobb on camera and by phone, but she has not responded.

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating this case.

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Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.

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