By: April Carson
ATLANTA — After someone allegedly stole her deed, a woman in Atlanta wants to warn other homeowners.
According to a Channel 2 news investigation, she said she had no idea this happened until her house was torn down.
Linda Willis explains that strangers targeted her property in Old Fourth Ward due to the location of where her house formerly stood on Ralph McGill Blvd.
“This is a historically significant area, which is why you would choose to buy here,” Linda Willis added.
She planned to live in the house she bought in 1990 for the rest of her life, according to Linda Willis.
“This is a sad day for me. It has now become dangerous to be a senior and own gentrified urban property after 30 years of mortgage payments,” she added.
In November, Linda Willis claimed that a bulldozer was in her front yard demolishing her home.
“Who gave you permission to tear down my building?” I confronted the crane operator.
The man informed her that he had been hired by a firm who just purchased the property from Cencera Willis.
The issue, according to Linda Willis, is that she never listed her home and had no clue who Cencera Willis was.
Lincoln obtained probate court documents revealing that Cencera Willis applied to be administrator of Linda Willis's property last year, appointing her deceased mother, who just so happened to have the same name as Linda Willis.
In areas where gentrification is happening, real estate attorney Rick Alembik says they've seen a significant increase in deed fraud allegations.
“The majority of these fraudulent deeds are completed by people who steal,” Alembik informed Lincoln. “I think the amount that it is reported is probably underrated, yet we're seeing it and more of it.”
According to Alembik, these con games generally target houses that have been paid off.
“It's simplest when you don't have a mortgage on your house,” he added.
According to him, abandoned and boarded-up homes are also appealing targets.
Linda Willis, on the other hand, did not have a similar experience. Her home was fully paid off, but it was boarded up only because of minor fire damage.
“The people who are looking to buy your home won't stop at anything,” Alembik added.
The lawyer also revealed that homeowners with common names, such as Linda, are more likely to be targeted.
Lincoln contacted Cencera Willis, but she declined to respond.
Alembik advised residents to install a doorbell camera, register their home with a fraud registry in their city, or take out a reverse mortgage as ways to prevent themselves from becoming victims of identity theft.
“All of the things we've had to endure so that we could gain a right to own this little piece of dirt and you're going to steal my stuff,” Linda Willis added.
If ever this happens to you, report the incident to the police and engage a real estate attorney immediately to prevent someone from selling your property to an innocent buyer.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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