Men Made Millions Stealing Homes With Forged Deeds, Feds Say

Arlando Jacobs and Clarence Roland stole homes across Texas and two other states with the scribble of a pen, the FBI says. And they did so for about six years before being caught, agents said. In at least one case, Jacobs and his family squatted in a home they took control of with a forged deed, according to federal court records. But in most cases, Jacobs, 52, and Roland, 56, illegally took ownership of homes on paper and then sold them, authorities say. Federal authorities say the two ex-cons earned almost $4 million by selling homes they didn't own by filing bogus deeds in county clerk offices."These forged documents gave the appearance that the financial institutions no longer had a claim to title on the properties, and therefore allowed Roland and Jacobs to sell these properties and receive all of the proceeds," an FBI agent said in a criminal complaint.Some of the properties were subject to foreclosure proceedings at the time, court records show. Many of the documents were notarized in Denton County, according to the FBI. Jacobs' daughter was the notary on the "vast majority of the fraudulent documents," a detention order said.Both men are in federal custody, accused in the Eastern District of Texas of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, court records show. No indictments had been publicly filed in the case as of early Tuesday afternoon. Attorneys for Jacobs and Roland could not be reached.Jacobs was arrested Sept. 14. The FBI had to run surveillance on Jacobs to locate him, court records show.That's because he moved often, used aliases and lived under the radar, according to a federal judge who ordered him held without bail. "Jacobs conceals his identity and moves in a manner off the grid," U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances H. Stacy wrote in her detention order. "Jacobs' name appears in no database. He has no social security number."Stacy said evidence presented at the detention hearing showed that Jacobs is "tied to 18 fraudulent transactions." The properties were in 11 cities, Stacy wrote in her order. Most are in North Texas and in the Houston area, the FBI says. Others are in California and Washington.  Continue reading...

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