Wednesday, December 09, 2015

County Deed Recording Officials Continue Instituting Fraud-Alert Systems In Effort To Reduce Fraudulent Use Of Forged Documents In Title Hijacking Rackets

In Macomb County, Michigan, The Macomb Daily reports:
  • A property-transaction alert system likely will be instituted in Macomb County in the new year to help reduce real estate and mortgage fraud.

    Clerk Carmella Sabaugh, also the register of deeds, Tuesday is expected to gain approval from the county Government Operations Committee to start the fraud-alert system in which all property owners and property-tax payers in the county will be notified when any transaction takes place involving their property, notably the recording of liens and deeds.

    Property owners and those who pay taxes on property will receive the notice via a one-page letter in the mail. The letter will provide the web site,, where the recipient can check the transaction online and get a copy for $6 or in the Mount Clemens office for $1 to ensure it is legitimate. If the transaction appears to be illicit, the property owner can call the Register of Deeds consumer hotline number at 586-469-7953, Sabaugh said.

    “This will let property owners quickly detect any fraudulent recordings and take action,” says a report to the board from Sabaugh’s office.

    The proposed system is believed to be the first of its kind in the state and is supported by the Detroit FBI office, which is allowing the clerk to place the FBI logo on the card, officials said.

    Macomb Probate Judge Carl Marlinga expressed his support in a Nov. 13 letter to county board Chairman David Flynn. Marlinga said as a former a state and federal prosecutor, as well as a judge, he has seen the effects of real estate fraud. In probate court, fraud sometimes is discovered years or decades later.

    “This consumer alert system will make it easier for families to resolve issues around the time documents are recorded, instead of years later,” Marlinga says. “(It) may also help prevent elder abuse by alerting homeowners when deeds or liens are recorded. This system will give homeowners the information they need in order to help protect their property rights.”

    Clerk officials noted that property owners will be notified when a contractor places a lien on a property on which it is working. Property owners also will be notified when a homeowners’ association records a document on their property, officials said. Also, parties in a land contract would receive notice when the contract is paid off.

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