By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Most of the time, homeowners don’t think about the deed that grants them legal rights to own and use their property. It’s simply assumed that lenders, real estate brokers, and attorneys follow the proper procedures for conveying ownership and, when necessary, filing proper liens.
Homeowners may think that their County government closely monitors legal documents that affect their property rights.
But, as the following report reveals, most County Clerks do little more than date stamp documents and file them. So bogus legal documents and deed restrictions may go undetected until the homeowner is blindsided with a notice of lien against their property.
Fox4 Problem Solvers investigated a scam upon owners in the Summerfield Subdivision, located in the Northland section of Kansas City, Missouri.
According the report, two individuals created Summerfield Homeowners’ Association, a fake organization backed by nothing more than fake documents filed in Jackson County.
Several years ago, a man by the name of Al Roberts created the HOA and started invoicing homeowners in Summerfield. According to Fox4 News, Roberts is currently serving time in prison for committing $3 million in mortgage fraud. His alleged accomplice, a woman by the name of Karen Sue Lovell, filed 30 liens — one for each home in Summerfield.
Lovell claims Summerfield needs and HOA to maintain a drainage basin in the neighborhood. But she has no authority to create an HOA out of thin air, and, oddly, Lovell does not own property or reside in Summerfield.
Following Fox4 Problem Solvers’ investigation, the homeowners hired a local attorney, who was able to dismiss all of the property liens.
That’s right — homeowners had to pay out of their own pockets to make this problem go away, even though they were victims of an obvious scam.
In response to the Summerfield liens and similar recent incidents involving false deeds and quit claims, Rep. Kirk Mathews, R-Pacific, has sponsored state legislation that would “make filing fake documents a felony.”
If Matthews’ bill becomes law, it remains unclear who, if anyone, will be reviewing documents affecting property deeds filed in Missouri.
Fake homeowners association files real liens on Northland neighborhood after fake bills go unpaid
POSTED 11:11 PM, FEBRUARY 8, 2018, BY LINDA WAGAR, UPDATED AT 04:20PM, FEBRUARY 8, 2018
Fox4 Problem Solvers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For years, people living in a quiet neighborhood in the Northland ignored the invoices that arrived in their mail demanding payment to a homeowners association.
“Just want to let you know it’s a scam,” Tony Navarro said he was told when he moved to the Summerfield subdivision. “This is not an HOA neighborhood at all. There are no monthly fees.”
But then, just before Christmas, a $445 lien was filed against Navarro’s home and more than 30 others.
The reason? For not paying dues to the Summerfield Homeowners Association. An HOA that has no board and provides no services.
We paid a visit to Karen Sue Lovell, who filed the liens and is listed as manager of the Summerfield HOA in a letter she sent to homeowners.
We tried to talk to Lovell, but she wouldn’t even open the door of her home. Speaking behind a window, she told us she had no comment.
…Lovell’s attorney wrote to FOX4 that Lovell thought the neighborhood should have an HOA to pay for the upkeep of the lot containing the neighborhood’s drainage basin.
Al Roberts is in federal prison, convicted of $3 million in mortgage fraud. Roberts, a retired Kansas City school teacher, formed Column’s Park, the company behind the HOA. Roberts also sent out the initial invoices to homeowners.
Read full report (video):