Another case of a stolen home through the creation of a fraudulent warranty deed has hit a Southlake, Texas couple who purchased a $5.75 million-dollar surfside home in Redington Shores.
The incident occurred in August 2020, just three months before the former Palm Beach home of Jeffrey Epstein was also the subject of forged ownership.
Mysteriously, Jenny Martinez, a St. Petersburg escrow closer with Title Insurers of Florida is listed as providing the notarized signature, seal, and witness to the conveyance of both the Redington Shores and Epstein’s properties.
In a lawsuit filed by Texas Plaintiffs Michael and Maria Steen, Martinez has denied any participation in the fraudulent transactions.
Exhibits show correspondence between herself and the IDS Network, a fraud prevention and investigative firm of Winter Springs where she states, “I really do not notarize real estate documents outside of our company’s transactions.”
She also stated that a second employee who was listed as a witness to the transaction also declared she knew nothing about it. The Steens indicate in their suit that the attorney who allegedly prepared the fake warranty deed transfer, Heather Mayer of Jacksonville, is also unaware of the Steen-Aura transaction.
The Redington Shores property is located at 18212 Sunset Boulevard. The Steens closed on the property on August 31, 2020, with a warranty deed recorded in the public records of Pinellas County on September 1. But on August 25, ownership was allegedly falsely transferred from the Steens to a listed not-for-profit organization identifying as a church organization called “Aura.”
The transaction was described as a sale from the Steens to Aura for a home sale price of $500.00. The lawsuit states the Steen were not even in Florida on the 25th.
But on October 7, Pinellas County public records showed that the house was owned by Aura.
The suit requests the court to remove the cloud on the Steens’ title to the house and forever quiet the title issued to Aura.
Three individuals named as Aura partners, Alex L. Aura, Masa Son, and Xu Softbank were not found to be Florida residents, according to preliminary research.
The Steens’ attorney is Daniel P. Dietrich of Gunster, Yoakley, and Stewart, P.A., of Tampa.
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