Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bible-Thumping Suspect Pinched For Allegedly Targeting Homes In Foreclosure, Hijacking Title & Possession Through Forged Grant Deeds, Then Pocketing Cash By Renting Them Out To Unwitting Tenants; Early Homeowner Complaints To Cops Met With "It's A Civil Matter!" Dodge

In San Bernardino, California, The Press Enterprise reports:

  • A man who authorities say persuaded potential renters to trust him by writing Bible verses on fake grant deeds is scheduled to appear in court in San Bernardino on Monday, May 6, for a preliminary hearing.

    Bob Frierson, 42, has been charged with six counts of recording a false document, six counts of forgery and one count of residential burglary. An arrest warrant was put out March 27. He was arrested by San Bernardino County district attorney investigators assigned to the Real Estate Fraud Prosecution Unit.

    Senior Investigator Ed Nyberg said in an interview that Frierson drove around North Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga and Victorville the past three years to find vacant homes that were in foreclosure. Frierson would then forge fake grant deeds and show them to unsuspecting renters as proof that he owned the properties, Nyberg said.

    The Bible verses, which Nyberg said he saw on seven fake grant deeds, were often two or three sentences and contained themes of personal rights of staying on a property or giving property to other people.

    “I’ve never seen anything like that,” Nyberg said. “This guy is just a con artist. I think he was using (the verses) as a lure.”

    Frierson would collect rent until the properties were foreclosed on, and the banks would then evict the renters, who would lose their deposits, he said.

    Also, the true property owners in some cases lost their homes to foreclosure because they could not evict the tenants in time to sell the homes. Homeowners seeking evictions would call police, but the officers, unaware of what the DA is calling a criminal scam, would tell the homeowners to pursue the evictions through the civil courts, Nyberg said.

    Some of the property owners had been seeking loan modifications in hopes of keeping their homes, Nyberg said.
Source: Forgery defendant used Bible to lure rent victims, DA says.

For the San Bernardino County District Attorney press release, see Rental Scam Artist Arraigned on Forgery and Burglary Charges.

For the Felony Complaint, see People v. Frierson.

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