An OKC trio stole a dead woman’s home. Did they try to steal yours?

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An OKC trio stole a dead woman's home. Did they try to steal yours?

Via oklahoman.com

One man and two women who call Oklahoma City home spent years swindling their Sooner State neighbors out of their houses by using fake mortgages, fake lawyer names and fake eviction notices.

Federal prosecutors say Laura R. Johnson, 45, Thomas Johnson Sr., 52, and Cheryl M. Ashley, 70, committed mail and wire fraud from 2014 to 2019 to take more than a dozen home titles without the owners’ knowledge, including the property of a dead woman.

Many of the properties the trio targeted had delinquent property taxes and were subject to being auctioned by the Oklahoma County Treasurer’s Office.

By paying off years of back taxes, they caused the properties to be removed from the county tax auction. The trio then filed fraudulent warranty deeds to transfer properties into the names of fictitious companies and individuals.

Prosecutors said the conspiracy included fraudulent confidential stamp tax affidavits and fake mortgages, all of which contained forged notary signatures and seals.

Some homeowners vacated their homes when they received phony eviction notices.

A few victims fought the takeover of their homes in court, but Johnson, Johnson and Ashley filed pleadings with the names of fictitious lawyers and submitted affidavits in court signed by fictitious people, prosecutors said.The trio targeted one home owned by a woman who died in 2012.

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