Indiana Attorney General Joins Indiana County Recorders
to Fight Property Fraud
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2009
(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has joined the Indiana Recorders’ Association
and the Association of Indiana Counties to educate citizens about a potential scam that could force
homeowners into court or even worse: out of their homes. Property Fraud or “House Stealing” as it is called
in some states has occurred in some Indiana Counties.
Allen County Recorder John McGauley was the first Indiana Recorder to begin using software that allows
homeowners to be alerted anytime a deed is filed in their name. McGauley said for years, Indiana land
transfers have operated on a system of trust.
“It really depends on the willingness of a notary to attest to the fact that the two parties involved in the
transfer are in agreement with the exchange of property,” said McGauley.
“County Recorders’ offices have always operated with a high degree of customer convenience in recording
deeds and other notarized documents, and indeed, state law does not allow them to demand proof of
identification from customers,” said Attorney General Greg Zoeller. “Criminals are exploiting a loophole
to fraudulently transfer ownership of properties in an effort to steal money from lenders.”
In some states where property fraud is already a widespread problem, the perpetrators are often not
acquaintances of the victims. In Indiana, however, the cases often involve people who have fraudulently
stolen deeds from family members. Often times, they involve the elderly or homes that no longer carry a
Warrick County was the second Indiana County to begin using property fraud software. County Recorder
Pat Brooks, who worked in real estate for many years, never thought she would see something like this in
“We saw our first case in 2006. Most people just don’t think of checking on the status of their deeds. If your
county does not have the property fraud alert software yet, I recommend that homeowners call their county
recorder about once every six months to make sure your property is still in your name,” said Brooks.
• Click here to listen to sound from the news conference.
• Click here to read news release by the Indiana Attorney General’s office.
The Association of Indiana Counties, Inc. is a nonprofit organization established in 1957 for the betterment of county
government. The various functions of the AIC include lobbying the Indiana General Assembly on behalf of counties,
serving as liaison among counties, state and federal agencies as well as providing technical assistance and training to
county officials and employees.