(INDIANAPOLIS) - Secretary of State Connie Lawson is warning potential homebuyers about scam artists who use authentications from the Secretary of State's office to swindle Hoosiers into fraudulent real estate transactions.
The scam artists are domestic terrorists who refer to themselves as sovereign citizens and believe the government is illegitimate. They are using authentications from the Secretary of State's office to create the illusion they own vacant property to trick Hoosiers into illegitimate home sales.
"Today, a judge sentenced Shela Amos of Indianapolis to 34 years for defrauding victims using the vacant home sale scheme," said Secretary Lawson. "While this will stop Amos, unfortunately, others are waiting to pick up where she left off. Hoosiers should use extreme caution when dealing with sovereign citizens. They have no regard for the law and are master manipulators."
The vacant home sale scheme is popular among sovereign citizens. At first, they identify abandoned homes and create documents claiming they own the property. Then they have a notary sign the document. They bring the signed document to the Secretary of State's office and request an apostille, a gold seal for overseas authentications, to certify the notary's signature is authentic. After the document has an apostille, they file it with the county recorder's office. Once the document has the seal and is on file with the recorder's office, the scam artists bring prospective home buyers to the recorder's office to show them the document they created as proof they own the real estate they are selling.
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