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'This house is gone': New Orleans homeowner learns someone forged documents to take his home

WWL-TV has uncovered forged signatures, fake ID and other phony documents being used by scammers to lay claim to property and sell it out from under the real owners.

David Hammer / Eyewitness Investigator

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Published: 11:23 PM EDT June 5, 2023
Updated: 7:35 PM EDT June 6, 2023

When Madeliene Simon died at 70 in December 2018, her son, Derrick Breston, had plans to retire in the house he’d owned with her in the Bywater for 30 years.

But that all came crashing down in 2021, when he discovered the locks on the house had been changed and someone had filed a quitclaim deed in the Orleans Parish Land Records. That document stated that Breston and his mother had signed the house over to a company called DH Catering in 2020 for $10.

It was easy to see the document was a fake. Not only did Breston and Simon’s signatures not look like their real ones, but Madeliene was misspelled “Madeline” several times on the document, and it was purportedly signed by Simon on October 13, 2020, almost two years after her death.

Just to be certain, the notary whose stamp and signature are purportedly affixed, Robert Schmidt, confirmed his signature was also a fake and he never signed it, either.

“This is a typical kind of theft of a property using forged documents,” Schmidt said.

Credit: WWL

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