Posted by: operatheaterink | October 6, 2020

Commentary: Real Estate Fraud, Oct. 6, 2020

What Happened to My House? Where Did It Go?
Forgery is Okay — Since When?

By Carol Jean Delmar
Opera Theater Ink                       

Identity theft is running rampant in today’s society. People are losing their homes and they don’t even know it. I have been one of the lucky ones. I know that with me, identity-use is indeed happening, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I am trying to unravel what has happened to me but have had two attorneys and now am looking for one that can actually get my house back for me before I die since I have Parkinson’s Disease.

I can’t quite wrap my mind around my findings of forgery in the recorded grant deed that ultimately took my house away from me or in my discovery of an unknown forged and falsely created amendment to escrow instructions that was conceived to allow the first forgery to occur.

As a former reporter, it is in my bones to run after a story. But right now, I am 73 with Parkinson’s and can no longer run after anything. I thought I’d seen everything, but then I fell upon forgery, twice, and it wasn’t happening to an interviewee of mine, but to me. I finally now have a letter from a government agency that has given me hope. I now know that I have a case of forgery, fraud, wire-transfer-fraud, breach of contract, ID-use, and possible mortgage fraud.

This post may not be about opera, but it is “theater” nevertheless, possibly at its worst, and it “is” in “ink.”

You see my parents bought our house in 1959 just south of Beverly Hills in Beverlywood. I lived in it off-and-on for almost 60 years. After my father died, I remodeled the house, planning to live in it until death do us part. But I am an animal-lover, and I discovered the city of Hidden Hills near Calabasas. Being sick with an undiagnosed muscle disorder, I thought that I might be better served in Hidden Hills among the stars twinkling above the horses, donkeys and barns all around the little city that has recently interested residents like Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and many of the Jenner clan.

I had never really bought or sold property before. I discovered that it is good for the buyer and seller to have separate real estate brokers to watch over their interests. So I enlisted my own broker who chose the escrow company.

I trusted my choices and thought the players were looking after my interests. I did not read the small print in the more than one hundred sheets of paper I was asked to sign or initial. I just signed. I had no idea that the escrow agent and company along with the buyer being guided by his broker and attorney were changing the rules.

I am a law-abiding citizen and would have never consented to selling my house to anyone or with any escrow company that had a different set of rules. I would have also never allowed an escrow company to work on my behalf had I known the company was working to benefit itself creating a chain of which I was the beginning link, which included the illegal sale of my Beverlywood house to the buy of a house in HIdden Hills, to the sale of the house in Hidden Hills by my seller for her to buy another house in Hidden Hills by yet another seller who was selling his house to her. Confusing to say the least, but lots of money in there for the escrow company and brokers. Three escrows were closing on one day.

After learning that I had been deceived with a forged grant deed weeks after the deed had been recorded, which was the first time I saw the name of the new owner of my house because the deed had been altered without my knowledge — I telephoned the Los Angeles County Recorder’s office only to be told that the deed was recorded and that there was nothing I could do about the sale. Only now do I have a sentence from a government agency that I sent the information to — for investigation — that the recorder’s office does not investigate fraud but only records deeds of sale, and once recorded, nothing can be changed. And the buyer and sometimes the seller do not receive the deed until afterwards, the letter said. “So the act of discovering fraud is discovered after recording the document.” The money had been transferred and I didn’t even know that the deed had been altered and I didn’t even know who I had sold the house to.

But even then after simply being told by the recorder’s office that the deed had been recorded and could not be changed, I tried to make the best of a bad situation only to discover that more had been hidden from me. I thought that brokers were supposed to inform sellers and buyers, but I had moved into a fire zone where everyone in the community was forced to evacuate immediately after I took possession. I was not told about the massive capital gains taxes that I would incur since my parents bought our home in Beverlywood in 1959 for $42,000 and gifted it to me. My neighbor informed me of the taxes when I telephoned him to say good-bye. I complained almost daily to the contractor that was fixing up the property in Hidden Hills because I feared I would run out of money. I knew that I had to make the best of my situation. I had spent $100,000 on commissions and was spending $50,000 to fix up the unfinished look of the house in Hidden Hills. But there was nothing I could do since the recorder’s office had recorded the deed that sold my house that had been altered after I signed it and mailed it to the escrow office so that I had supposedly sold the house written on my grant deed as a family trust, which had been whited out and changed to a rental business, where my house was the only house as part of that new business. Plus that business did not even exist on the date I signed the deed in front of a notary.

But the worst was the amendment I later found that was created recently in 2020 giving my authorization for this company whose name I had never seen before, to enable the wire transfer of funds that was wire fraud in my mind since I did not know this was happening. The money was electronically transferred from buyer to escrow and up the chain, but because I never saw the amendment or the grant deed or any change of vesting until I requested the deed weeks later after escrow closed, I was in the dark. And even then, I only was sent the deed, not the amendment or anything else.

Then I got a more pointing diagnosis from a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders. I needed to move closer to my team of doctors in Santa Monica for care, she wrote on a form. I had Parkinson’s Disease and although medication would reduce my symptoms, there is no cure.

I didn’t want to focus on the false grant deed, but after trying to buy my house back more than a year ago, the supposed owner of my house refused, asking me to buy another house instead. And after I did just that a block away, he refused to trade. I decided it was time to talk about the forged grant deed although I had tried earlier but his wife hung up on me without hearing the story.

I found out that forgery is A-Okay with almost all lawyers. But when I searched for answers on Google, I learned that forgery is not okay, that the deed was void and of no effect. I read about various penal codes (115 and 470) that assured me what had occurred was criminal in nature.

Then I learned that if the deed was to be allowed a name change, I, the seller, would have had to authorize the specific name in writing (No. 26 on assignment on the purchase agreement). I did not even know about the title name change until weeks after the deed had been altered and recorded and now in writing from a government agency that fraud is not investigated by the recorder’s office and a person would not know it had been done until receiving a copy of the deed after escrow had closed, and in my case, all monies had been electronically transferred. The only deed I saw was the one I was asked to sign in front of a notary the end of August with a name to a trust on it which was on my escrow instructions. But the deed I received after recording showed a rental company as the owner. I had never authorized the exchange of money for a rental company, but the escrow company didn’t care and transferred the money because I had signed a document that allowed for the transfer of proceeds but did not say the name of anything on it. I had initialed that the vesting could go to the trust or to an “assignee.” But no one ever explained what that meant to me. I was lucky to find No. 26 that said I needed to authorize a “specified” assignment in writing, which I had never done. Plus I looked up this rental company. At the time I had signed the deed in front of a notary, the company didn’t even exist, according to the document filed with the Secretary of State.

I ended up sick with duress, mental and emotional trauma, but attorneys did not want to take on the case saying that a forgery is okay as the exchange of monies meant that the contract had been fulfilled without damages. But I didn’t know about the change from trust to rental business, a limited liability company, which apparently saves the owner taxes while he earns rent. Now I have a statement that explains that the monies were transferred before I knew who I had sold the house to. I never authorized the change of vesting to this company. I had never heard of it.

Then I found a few attorneys who agreed with me, that my original deed signed Aug. 21 would have been legal, but the deed that was recorded with a new company in its place more than a month later to change the vesting from a person to a rental business, was not. That was a new deed to me with my signature on it: as if I had signed that altered deed when I actually had not.

And to make matters even worse, after I found an attorney to file a lawsuit, the defendant’s attorney saw that I needed to give my written authorization for a “specified” buyer before any assignment could have occurred legally, so he wrote my attorney a letter stating that I had known about an amendment I had signed that had given his client the authority to change the vesting and then enabled the escrow officer to alter the deed. He included a copy of the amendment of authorization signed by me with his letter and wrote my attorney that I had misled him.

I was shocked. I did not remember such an amendment. I had asked the escrow officer to provide me with copies of all of the paperwork, yet he had not. Then I searched within myself to make sure that I had never seen such an amendment. The defendant’s attorney included it with his letter, and I discovered irregularities inherent in it. But I still was not sure that the whole amendment had been fabricated.

Then I telephoned various handwriting-analysis experts. Could I find another identical signature to the one on the amendment that was a signature on another document? No, I couldn’t. Not with the copies of documents I had at that time.

However, after dismissing the case when told the defendant would file a lawsuit against me for malicious intent if I did not, I asked for all of the paperwork, and I found the matching identical signature on another document. That confirmed for me what I needed to know. The amendment was fabricated well after Sept. 28, 2018, probably a month or two ago or thereabouts in about June of 2020, to give the defendants or would-be buyers the ability to say that I gave my permission.

I changed attorneys, and the latest one said I needed mediation so that the attorneys’ fees would be covered. The buyer who never had his children live in the house until seven months ago, was interested in swapping, my lawyer called to tell me during a virtual mediation, but you have to “sweeten the deal.” I offered a swap plus $100,000. Refused. He wants 1 million dollars, I was told.

So I offered 500,000, then 600,000 dollars, but all were refused. So recently well after mediation, I offered the man 1 million dollars after my death since I do not have the money to give now. He rejected me. I am now looking for another attorney as the government agency wrote me that I might need to sue for forgery.

I have proof on paper. I do not need to attack anyone below the belt like I feared the defendants would do and did to me. Two forgeries exist. Forgeries to documents are not okay and are criminal.

So lawyers are saying forgeries are okay. Escrow companies are forging ahead to benefit their pocket books and clients; and in some cases as in mine, everyone else involved in the sales and buys used lies to benefit their pocket books. At $500 per hour, I was told by a friend who happens to be an entertainment attorney — litigation is expensive.

So I do not know who to go to — to find an attorney to fight for me on my behalf. I only know that I want my house back and I want to park my car in my driveway. I just want to sleep in my bedroom since my movement is so limited. I have the proof on paper. But after this commentary is read by those involved, there may be more changes, forgeries and lies. But I have the originals.

There could even be mortgage fraud. I wondered about the loan since the loan of the buyer was in place toward the end of escrow. Chase bank came to appraise the house right before escrow was set to close. I thought that maybe the buyer wanted to get a better interest rate. I had no idea he was changing the vesting to a business. So he took out another loan for $1 million. I now know the loan was to change the property from a residential property to a business property.

I telephoned my homeowners association. I said that they, meaning the owner, must be renting the property out now. The buyer and his wife had told me he was buying the house for his son/children and then he planned to move in later on, but now it was a rental property. The homeowners association representative told me that normally property can be rented out, but she said, “NO, they can’t be paying rent, he bought it for his family.”

Well, they’d better be paying rent or we have mortgage fraud here, and a false representation as to the purpose of the property. The registration now says for rental and leasing, and one contractor-designer even wrote online for the storage of other materials.

I LOVE that house. I would have never agreed to such a switch. But there it is, in writing and recorded. I never authorized that change. I never saw the name of the company that bought my house until weeks after receiving the deed after I requested it. I sold my house to a company that I did not know about. They used my name to transfer the funds. I had been deceived. Oh, there are damages all right. About $2 million of damages. I want my house back. That transaction was illegal and void. Forgery voids transactions and puts the house back where it was in the first place. I am willing to give back that dirty money that was transferred illegally. I didn’t know about the amendment, I never signed it. The signature was lifted off another amendment and the date was forged and there is a different address on top of the document since the escrow company moved a year later, thus proving that the amendment was false. No one can change the originals. Yet now I am without an attorney again. And I should or could file a lawsuit of forgery now, according to the agency that wrote me.

Either the laws need to be changed or the lawyers need to change their interpretations of the law, which are skewed. And the escrow companies must not be allowed to forge ahead and get away with it.

Laws are often not being enforced. The perpetrators going against the laws just continue to therefore continue on their rampages. Plus there are so many exceptions to every law that it is difficult to surmise what the laws actually are.

I want to bring attention to my personal issue because I just want to die in peace in my house, and I cannot live with forgery. I thought any decent human being would acknowledge my wishes well before anyone moved into the house. But I guess I was wrong. Now all I want is justice, so I am crying out for help because I doubt that justice in real estate is still possible.

No case is a slam-dunk case. Mine has gotten complicated since I have delved deeper into the details than most. I point to fraud and forgery, wire fraud, a touch of identity theft or at the least, identity-use, breach of contract, and possibly a bit of mortgage fraud and elder/disability abuse. And there are damages.

Again, and sorry for being so redundant: I was one of the lucky ones: I was aware of what happened with my grant deed being recorded in the recorder’s office, although not for weeks after escrow closed, since I never saw the deed and requested it. I just did not know about all the fraud and alterations. I never knew about a fabricated amendment that authorized it all to happen. I never knew I had sold my house to some strange name I had never seen before.

Other people are not as lucky as i I have been. Their houses are swept out from under them and they do not even know it. Identity theft is significant in our society. I cry for me, and I cry for all those who have lost their homes.

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Carol Jean Delmar is an author and writer. She wrote a book about her parents, who fled from Vienna and Prague during the Holocaust: “Serenade: A Memoir of Music and Love from Vienna and Prague to Los Angeles.” She currently writes opera reviews and lives in Beverlywood.

310 625 4561 and 424 298 8699;
1617 Reeves St., Los Angeles, California 90035