There haven’t been a rash of fraudulent property record breaches in Butler County and county Recorder Danny Crank wants to keep it that way, so his office is offering residents a new anti-fraud service.
Crank recently introduced FraudSleuth, a computer program that allows property owners to search records to make sure somebody hasn’t filed a lien or fraudulent documents on their home. Residents can also sign up to get email alerts when any changes — like the release of a mortgage by a bank — are made to their property records.
The tool is free to use, and Crank said the software didn’t cost taxpayers anything either.
“ This will help curb the damage done to a person’s chain of title that can cause serious problems that aren’t apparent until a person tries to refinance or sell a property years down the line.”
Denise Goll of the recorder’s office said concerned children can also keep track of their parents’ and grandparents’ properties through the new system or set up a profile to receive email alerts. She said finding the information out as it happens or in a timely manner can save a lot of hassles when someone tries to refinance or sell their home but they learn they don’t have a clean title.
Goll said their office hasn’t heard of any instances where a county resident’s records were compromised but she has heard stories where people spend half the year in another part of the country and return to find themselves homeless.
“Nationally you see that happening where people watch and know that people are going out of town and they’ll go in, knowing they’re going to be gone for while, and they’ll do some crazy bogus transfer and then sell the house out from underneath someone,” Goll said. “Then they get back and somebody’s living in their house.”
There is such a case being prosecuted in Dayton now. Dale Inman was indicted in connection with filing fraudulent property deeds. Over a period of several months in 2017, Inman filed 16 “quit claim” deeds on properties and tried to sell them to unsuspecting buyers, according to prosecutors.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser agreed the problem hasn’t hit here, yet.
“Nobody has reported to me that they have been disadvantaged by some scammer who went in and filed a quit claim deed to a vacant house or something like that, not yet,” the prosecutor said. “But whenever I see other counties where that’s reported, I just feel truly it’s just a matter of time because scammers are getting more inventive.”
Residents can sign up for the new tool at recorder.butlercountyohio.org.