Three sisters lost the Oak Park home where they grew up and lost about $80,000 each as a result of a scheme that included the participation of a dishonest notary. The $350,000 home, which had been paid off and inherited by Pamela Watkins and her sisters, had been transferred to their brother, who promptly sucked out the equity.
The Vallejo notary, Sofia L. Rose, had attested that the sisters signed over the house, yet the sisters had never met Rose. Rose eventually pleaded no contest in September 2006 to one felony count of filing a forged document and was sentenced to a 180-day work project (not jail!). The Watkins brother pleaded similarly and served a year in jail.
Detectives, prosecutors and investigators in Sacramento, the Bay Area and Los Angeles state that real estate frauds are often dependant on the ability of the criminals to find a notary to go along with the fraud. Since the notary’s job is to attest to the correct identity of the person signing an important document, having a crooked on the payroll can make all the difference to the success of the criminal enterprise.
Read the Full Article in the Sacramento Bee for more cases in California involving crooked notaries.