Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Newark Con Artist Gets Three Years In Failed Effort To Use Forged Deed To Hijack Title To Church Out From Under Local Pastor; Head County Recording Official: We Get People Coming Into Our Office Trying To Pull This Crap At Least Twice A Week!

In Newark, New Jersey, The Star-Ledger reports:
  • Bishop Frank Garris Jr. knew something wasn't right when he tried to do a walk-through of the Newark church he had just closed on.

    He wanted to inspect the property, but the alarm at Clinton Avenue Presbyterian Church wouldn't shut off – even after Garris entered the code to do so.

    Newark police arrived and so did Ramon Hamlett, a 35-year-old Newark man claiming to be the pastor.

    "He said, 'What are you doing in my church?' '' Garris recalled. "I don't know how long this guy thought he could get away with this."

    What Garris discovered last year was that Hamlett was trying to steal the church property.

    But Hamlett didn't get far when he tried to take over the church by filing a fraudulent deed with information that is easily accessible at the Essex County Register of Deeds and Mortgages in the Hall of Records. He eventually was arrested and later pleaded guilty to theft by deception and tampering, and was sentenced to three years in prison.

    What Essex County officials want residents to know is that there are more people out there like him than they would believe, scammers who create and file fraudulent deeds to transfer property titles without owners' knowledge.

    "There are people trying to (commit) a fraudulent act at least twice a week,'' said Essex County Register Dana Rone.
    The Ramon Hamletts of the world, [], are out to do harm with fraudulent deeds. Rone said some even use them to obtain bank loans and leave property owners stuck with the debt. Others may try to keep the bank from foreclosing on their property. A family member can attempt to circumvent a will to make himself the sole owner of a relative's home. An individual could dupe renters at a large apartment building, claiming to be the new owner and telling occupants to redirect payments to him.