Norristown man convicted of stealing houses

He forged deeds, filed them with the recorder of deeds office, and effectively, legally transferred ownership.

Jim Melwert
September 14, 2018 - 12:54 pm
Deed

Matthew Benoit | Dreamstime.com

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NORRISTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Troy Pickens, 30, was found guilty on Friday of multiple felonies for forging documents and selling vacant properties that he didn’t own.

Prosecutor Chris Daniels says the investigation started when an owner drove past what was supposed to be a vacant, condemned property and saw someone inside.

"When police arrived, they found an individual who was not there on a burglary," Daniels said. "She legitimately believed she had rented an apartment. She showed the lease."

When investigators looked into Pickens' property management company, they saw records of five properties bought and sold well below market value. 

One property owner told police they hadn’t been in the country for nearly 20 years, so there’s no way they could have signed documents.

"He was able to forge deeds, take them over to the recorder of deeds office and effectively, legally transfer ownership," Daniels said.

He said Pickens paid all fees and taxes, even clearing some back taxes and other liens. 

Now the challenge, Daniels says, is getting the properties transferred back to their rightful owners.

“Those third parties who came in and bought the homes from Mr. Pickens are still the legal owners of those homes.”