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Property Alerts Prevent Fraud

A woman accused of stealing a $300,000 house in Valrico highlights the benefits of subscribing to Hillsborough Clerk of Courts Property Fraud Alerts (watch video story here).

Carolyn Knight-Williams, 66, is accused of filing a fraudulent warranty deed for the home, ABC Action News reported. She posed as a trustee for U.S. Bank N.A. and then moved into the house earlier this year. As a result, a pending sale the bank had arranged fell through and the buyers walked away. "Literally stole a $300,000 home," State Attorney Andrew Warren told ABC Action News.

The deed at the Valrico home has since been corrected. A family purchased and moved into the house in July. If it happened to a bank, it could happen to anyone. One way to protect yourself from becoming a victim of property scams is to sign up for property fraud alerts through our office.

When you subscribe, you will be alerted whenever a property-related document is recorded in your name. You can be alerted by email, text message or by phone. This includes any deeds, liens, mortgages or legal notices related to any property you own. 

“If you receive an alert about activity not initiated by you, this early notification can provide valuable time to stop criminals in their tracks,” said Clerk of Court & Comptroller Pat Frank. “I encourage you to sign up today.”

It takes only seconds to subscribe and it’s absolutely free.

Authorities say Knight-Williams and a co-defendant are part of a loosely knit group called sovereign citizens. Members often change their names, don’t pay taxes or fees, and won’t use license plates or driver’s licenses. Some of the group's members have been known to file illegal liens and deeds. "There have literally been cases when people came home from work, there's a family of Sovereign Citizens living in their home, the doors are boarded up and they're not being allowed in," Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center told ABC Action News.

Sign up for property fraud alerts here: