Fraudsters have few boundaries. Their crimes hurt millions of Americans each year. Texas resident Norris Fisher now enters the Hall of Shame after forging deeds from the recently departed and the mentally challenged. His story is pulled from the court records of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division.
Norris was convicted of federal mail fraud charges after being caught in a scheme that involved filing forged deeds to real estate. By forging the deeds, not only were the rightful owners of the real estate deprived of their property but the subsequent buyers who then purchased the stolen property were also deprived of their money.
According to a sealed complaint from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Norris is believed to have forged over 300 deeds, affidavits of heirship and other documents. His net haul? Police say in just 2 years, he falsely acquired over 100 properties in the Fort Worth area.
How did he accomplish this feat?Forged documents, forged notary seals and a newspaper.
According to sworn testimony from Postal Inspector Eric Bodak, the scheme began to unravel in late 2008 when John Special of Fort Worth found out his vacant lot had been sold to a woman in Los Angeles.
Police found that the transfer of the property had been done by a forged deed. Both Special’s name and the notary’s seal were forged.
Ultimately, investigators determined that forger would first use a phony deed to acquire control of the property and later sell the property for cash to an unsuspecting buyer. Anyone conducting a title search would believe that all paperwork was in order.
Cops tracked down Fisher through a series of post office boxes where the deeds were mailed.
To avoid getting caught, Fisher usually stole vacant lots.To further avoid detection, he often would identify properties whose owners had recently died. His depravity didn’t end with defrauding the recently departed, however.
In one case, an alert caseworker at the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services discovered that one of her clients, a 77-year-old ward of the state, had “sold” all 3 of her properties. Suspicious, the caseworker tracked down the alleged notary and discovered both the notary’s signature and stamp were forged.
In July of 2009, police executed a search warrant at Fisher’s home and found seven different notary stamps. Immediately prior to the search warrant, an undercover police officer purchased one of the stolen properties from Fisher at Fisher’s home. The entire conversation was recorded.
Faced with overwhelming evidence, Fisher ultimately pled guilty to 4 counts of federal mail fraud and conspiracy in October of this year. Although facing 20 years on each count, Fisher is likely to receive less at his sentencing hearing scheduled for early February.
Fraud takes many forms. As quick as the police identify and shut down once scam, two more surface. The fraud discussed above was stunningly simple in its operation. Sooner or later, however, it was doomed to failure.
If you have been defrauded, contact the fruad lawyers at Mahany & Ertl, LLC. Our asset recovery lawyers help businesses and individuals recover their hard earned money. Land swindles, stockbroker fraud, legal malpractice, investment fraud, Ponzi schemes… our team can help. Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, our fraud recovery lawyers can help get back your money anywhere in the U.S. or the world. We have handled cases from Maine to Hawaii and throughout the world.
Call Brian Mahany today at 414-704-6731 for a no nonsense consultation.