Establishing a business as a limited liability company is an effective way of shielding business owners from liability claims against an individual owner. Some alleged thieves, though, are using this business structure to help forward their criminal enterprise. The result is a long list of stolen homes.
Even after the great housing bust of the early 2000’s, homeowners are still being targeted by unscrupulous companies. The New York City finance department has conducted an investigation in relation to these alleged deed thieves, which were apparently conducted by fraud. Authorities claim some victims were duped into signing away their deeds while others had their signatures forged on legal documents. Either way, the result was the same: homeowners lost their homes.
Determining the individual responsible for the thefts can be difficult. The accused in this case have a maze of limited liability companies that make them difficult to be found. However, one such defendant has been indicted and charged with grand larceny and filing false documents. His lawyer argues that these charges are false against his client and is working to mount a vigorous defense.
Theft crimes in the state of Georgia carry serious penalties. Robbery, felony theft, and embezzlement can lead to jail time, a criminal record, and/or fines. Those who are accused of these types of crimes may also lose their employment and face additional penalties from their university if they are in school. If faced with this type of crime it is important to find an attorney who can mount a vigorous defense; one who will challenge the evidence and ensure that the prosecution will be forced to prove every element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is very difficult to do.
Source: ABA Journal, “Deed thieves use sham companies to hide their identities,” Debra Cassens Weiss, Nov. 13, 2015