In 2014, the Point Breeze neighborhood was being gentrified, and Norman Johnson sold his three-story Reed Street rowhouse for $15,000—a real steal. There was a slight problem—Johnson had been dead for more than a decade when he supposedly signed over the deed. The person accused of this, and numerous other lawsuits is the Pennsylvania House of Representative Amen Brown.
If you or a loved one has lost their property because of a forged deed, you have a claim and need to reach out to the Philadelphia deed fraud attorneys at Solomon, Sherman & Gabay.
When a property is sold without the permission of the legal owner or if the legal owner’s name is removed from the deed without the owner’s consent, it is deed fraud. Much like deed fraud, mortgage fraud occurs without the knowledge or consent of the legal owners and involves signing a mortgage against a property to illegally borrow money.
Deed theft is a common occurrence in Philadelphia that law enforcement has rarely punished or punished with few consequences. To reclaim legal titles to property, owners often fight long, expensive court battles
According to City of Philadelphia reports, between 2013 to 2017, the city averaged 72 reported deed frauds per year. This number soared to 136 reported frauds in 2018. That is a huge jump.
Fraudulent deeds disproportionately affect low-income communities. People of color and the elderly are often left vulnerable to these scams.
Amen Brown, the 33-year-old founder and CEO of Overbrook Beacon Community Empowerment, vowed to clean up the scandal-ridden 190th District when elected in 2020.
In the Johnson case, Brown claims he was the victim of a Craigslist scam. Dawn Presbery, Johnson’s daughter, and the rightful heir to his rowhouse fought for two years and finally reclaimed the property in a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Brown never even showed up in court, and the criminal charges were dismissed and expunged from his record.
In 2015, Brown also lost a breach of contract case after failing to renovate another rowhouse. In the years since, he has also received a lien from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue for unpaid income taxes, a lawsuit from a credit agency for defaulting on a loan. A provider of services for people with special needs also sued him after he failed to repay a personal loan of more than $60,000.
Property values are booming in Pennsylvania, especially the city of Philadelphia. This city has had a difficult history with people forging owners’ signatures on deeds and stealing property. In certain cases, the property is sold, not only stealing property but obtaining money fraudulently.
You need to act if someone has taken possession or used your property without permission. If you have any questions about titles or ownership, the Philadelphia deed fraud attorneys at Solomon, Sherman & Gabay specialize in getting it back. Contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 215-665-1100.