Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson announced today that 63-year-old Walter A. Roberts was arrested by the District Attorney’s Investigations Unit on December 16, 2011 for allegedly forging his 92-year-old father’s and 85-year-old mother’s signatures on a Grant Deed filed at the County Recorder’s Office.
The following information is from the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office:
The Grant Deed, filed on 12/1/11, fraudulently transfers home ownership from the elderly parents to Walter A. Roberts. Bail for the suspect is set at $280,000.
Roberts is an unemployed but licensed real estate agent who resided with his parents in Clayton, CA. The District Attorney charged Roberts with financial elder abuse and forgery relating to the Grant Deed, but Roberts is also charged with forging his father’s signature on a $28,644 check. The parents never gave Roberts permission or authority to forge their signatures on any document or check.
The home that Roberts fraudulently transferred title to himself is valued at over $300,000. The home is a rental property located in Concord, CA.
The arrest of Roberts is the result of a new ‘Fraud Notification Program’ in Contra Costa County which seeks to promptly alert all homeowners whenever title has transferred from one person to another. Contra Costa County’s ‘Fraud Notification Program’ is the first of its kind in Northern California. In collaboration with the County Tax Assessor and the District Attorney, the County Recorder sends an informational letter to each homeowner whenever title transfers. The information letter is written in English and Spanish, and it provides a hot line for the homeowner to call the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit if that person feels he/she is a victim of a fraudulent transfer of ownership.
District Attorney Mark A. Peterson stated “that we hope to proactively catch high tech criminals or con-artists who might try to steal one’s title or equity by filing false documents at the County Recorder’s Office. We believe that promptly contacting the true homeowner within a few days of any transfer of ownership is the best way to ensure homeowners that their title is protected. “
Walter A. Roberts is being prosecuted by the Real Estate Fraud Unit of Contra Costa County by Deputy District Attorney Ken W. McCormick.
The Contra Costa County Real Estate Fraud Unit is part of the office’s Special Operations Unit.
Any suspected real estate fraud can be reported to the District Attorney Office at 925-957-8763.