Oklahoma trio plead guilty for roles in home title scheme
Mike Seals - November 23, 2020 9:45 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Federal prosecutors say three Oklahoma City residents have pleaded guilty for their roles in a scheme in which they used fake documents and fictitious lawyers to take ownership of more than a dozen houses without the knowledge of the homeowners.
Laura Johnson, 45, Thomas Johnson Sr., 52 and Cheryl Ashley, 70, are accused of using fraudulent documents from 2014 until 2019 to obtain titles to homes and other properties, according to U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing.
The three defendants filed fraudulent warranty deeds to transfer properties into the names of fictitious companies and individuals. The scheme also included fraudulent confidential stamp tax affidavits and fake mortgages, all of which contained forged notary signatures and seals, according to prosecutors.
With one home that was targeted and had belonged to a woman who died in 2012, the defendants forged a power of attorney to try and withdraw money from her account. When that failed, they then used forged checks and filed a false will to try and gain control of the bank account.
Last week, each of the defendants pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
When sentenced in about 90 days, Thomas Johnson and Ashley each face up to five years in prison while Laura Johnson faces up to 30 years in prison.