The Voice • April 2017
In 2008, Deborah Maxwell purchased a property from Jeffrey Hines, her longtime auto insurance agent for $75,000. After the closing, Deborah turned the house into a rental which was located in Jackson County, Missouri. It wasn’t until six years later, in 2014, that her tenant stopped paying rent. When Deborah approached the tenant to discuss the matter, the tenant indicated that they had been paying rent to someone else.
At this moment Deborah found out that Jeffrey Hines, the person she originally purchased the house from, had illegally sold the property to a company called 5K Investor’s LLC. By forging and recording a quit claim deed with the Jackson County Recorder’s Office, Hines was able to effortlessly transfer ownership from Deborah to the investor group. She then went to the Jackson County Sheriff only to discover that Hines was already serving a 30-month sentence in federal prison for money laundering. The insurance agent was involved in a drug ring and was engaging in fraudulent property transactions to conceal drug proceeds.
To gain back ownership of the house, Deborah filed a lawsuit against Hines and 5K Investor’s. Throughout the two-year hearing, she was still without ownership and had no choice but to keep paying both the property taxes and insurance. On March 1, 2017, the Circuit Judge ruled Deborah as the rightful owner of the property and the convicted party was to pay $20,000 in damages. An “elated” Deborah stated, “It is a lot of frustration, to have something you’ve worked hard for, that you’ve taken care of, snatched from you.” 
Had a notification service like Property Fraud Alert been available, Deborah would have received notice of the quit claim deed recording earlier and been able to take appropriate action.