February 13, 2023
Clerk's Office Warns of Deed Scam
Our office recently became aware that a fraudulent deed was recorded last year into the Official Records of Indian River County. It came to us from a local title company. The deed appeared legitimate, containing everything that it needed to make it a statutorily recordable document, including a notary allegedly from the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam. Our staff had no reason to reject the document for recording and had no way of knowing that the deed was fraudulent.

Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund, Inc., also known as The Fund, has released several alerts regarding the increase in the volume of fraud scams concerning vacant lots. You can read two of those alerts here and hereMost commonly in these scams, the property is vacant with no mortgage and is often owned by a seller whose address shows they live in a foreign country. The fraudster poses as the legitimate owner and forges a deed. In almost all situations, the seller’s documents were allegedly executed and notarized abroad at a U.S. Embassy and returned to the title company via Fed Ex or related postal service. 

Please pay special attention to documents received from out of the country. The Fund has identified the following “notaries” and locations as being potentially fraudulent:

Notary Name and Location of Acknowledgment
Alison Dilworth: Dubai
Ellen Wong: United Kingdom
Eric Guadiosi: Germany
Fabian Ikenna Aiogwu: South Africa
Fabio Saturni: South Africa
Joseph McCallum: South Africa
Marc Nelson: Sweden
Philip Reeker: United Kingdom
Robert Rowse: South Africa
Stephen Jacques: Vietnam
Stephen Thomson: South Africa
Virginia Blaser: South Africa

If the acknowledgement block on your insured deed includes any of the above listed notaries, please be on high alert as you may be dealing with a vacant lot identity theft scam.