Thursday, February 18, 2010

St. Louis County Offers Free Service To Battle Real Estate Swindles Involving Use Of Forged Docs & Land Instruments In Home Equity & Title Ripoffs

In St. Louis, Missouri, the St. Louis Globe Democrat includes the following excerpt in a story reporting that mortgage fraud is the top priority of the white collar crime squad of the St. Louis-area FBI:

  • St. Louis County is doing their part in preventing mortgage crime by now offering a free property fraud alert service for residents. County property owners can register their names in the “Property Fraud Alert” through the county’s recorder of deeds web site.

  • Those who enroll will be alerted by their choice of phone or e-mail anytime a document is registered and recorded in their name. St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley said he hopes the service will help catch fraud before it’s too late to save residents “headaches and lawyer fees” to get property back.(1)In these economic times there are so many more scams going on,” Dooley said. “For some reason crooks find a hole and they use it against others.”

  • Dooley said signing up is simple and can be done by visiting the Property Fraud Alert web site and selecting St. Louis from the list of counties offering the service. Interested [St. Louis County] residents may also call 1-800-728-3858 to sign up. Aldrich said the county’s property fraud alert service is a good educational tool for the community. “The more information the public has to be aware of mortgage fraud will help prevent it,” he said.

For the story, see FBI: Mortgage fraud fastest growing white collar crime.

(1) At most, a successful criminal prosecution can result in the scammer being tossed in jail, and possibly, a court order compelling the scammer to pay restitution to the victim which, if the scammer is broke, is probably worthless. To go about undoing the mess created by the ripoff and have the title to the property restored in the name of the rightful owner, a victim would have to file a civil lawsuit:

  • to legally establish that the forgery of the deed, mortgage, and/or other land instruments used in the swindle occurred, and, if successful,

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