home stolen, deeds, stepson

Legal Battle Unfolds As 85-Year-Old Claims His Home Has Been Stolen By Former Stepson

Robert Elder, an 85-year-old resident of southwest Atlanta, finds himself entangled in a legal battle over the ownership of his home.

Robert Elder, an 85-year-old resident of southwest Atlanta, finds himself entangled in a legal battle over the ownership of his home, an abode he has invested more than five decades of equity into, according to Atlanta News First. In a lawsuit, Elder alleges that his home has been illicitly transferred to his former stepson, Torrey Elder, through the filing of three deeds, all executed without his knowledge or consent.

The unsettling saga began last year when new deeds were filed in July, August (labeled as a “corrective deed”), and September, all transferring ownership of Robert Elder’s home to Torrey Elder. What makes the case particularly suspicious is that none of the signatures on these deeds match the genuine signature of Robert Elder, as confirmed by official documents. Torrey insists that his father willingly transferred the property to him and accuses the elderly man of falsehood.

Atlanta News First investigations have revealed a startling gap in Georgia’s current property law – filing property paperwork in the clerk’s office requires no identification and ownership proof is not mandatory. This legal loophole allows individuals to file deeds without verifying their identity or demonstrating rightful ownership.

Real estate fraud attorney Rick Alembik, who has taken on the civil case, unequivocally states, “Mr. Elder did not sign these documents, absolutely not. This is stealing. This is theft.” Alembik emphasizes that although no conventional break-in occurred, the fraudulent acquisition of property is a crime that merits prosecution.

The lawsuit does not name the notaries as defendants, but it highlights their role in the alleged forgery of deeds. According to state law, notaries are supposed to stamp documents only when they witness and confirm the identity of the signer. In this case, the notarization of deeds raises questions about how they were validated without the presence or confirmation of the rightful property owner.

Jamilah Garth and Christine Smith, the notaries who signed the contested deeds, have come under scrutiny. Although Smith was reached by phone, she allegedly declined to provide an explanation for her involvement in the incident.

As Robert Elder fights to reclaim his home, this case sheds light on the vulnerabilities within Georgia’s property laws and the imperative need for reforms to safeguard homeowners from fraudulent practices.

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