February 26, 2012

Fine for appropriating a non-RBA house: $1,895

Restitution ordered for man convicted of stealing house

120224-tate-courtBy JESSICA M. PASKO – Santa Cruz Sentinel, Posted:   02/03/2012 02:06:34 PM PST

Photo at right: Raymond Tate (on right), convicted house thief, appearing in court with attorney Steve LeBerge, in 2009.  (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

SANTA CRUZ – A Santa Cruz man convicted in 2010 of stealing a Ben Lomond home will have to pay $1,895 in restitution to the rightful owners, a judge ruled Friday.

Raymond Tate sentenced in May 2010 to five months in County Jail and three years’ probation for felony charges of filing false property records and conspiracy. According to court records, Tate was able to use a typographical error on the deed for a Hubbard Gulch Road to pose as the owner of the house and file false documents with the county recorder to support his case.

While the rightful owners were on vacation in 2009, Tate sold the home to someone else. When the owners returned, they found their belongings moved to the garage, the locks changed and a stranger living in their house. The occupant, Daniel Judd, said he bought the house from Tate and later admitted he was part of the plot to take the home. Judd is currently on probation in Santa Clara County.

Burbed will take a hard-hitting stand in opposition to house theft, whether or not in the Real Bay Area.  However, we are obligated to point out the advantages of owning an RBA house, should you be so unfortunate as to find it stolen.  There is absolutely no way that someone guilty of grand theft housing (as opposed to this petty larceny) would be given such a slap on the wrist.  Read further into this story, and you will discover that the legal owners of the house claimed $5,700 in actual damages.  The reduced amount awarded no doubt reflects the non-RBA discount applied to all homes that are not Special enough.

120224-hubbard-gulchThis is the house in question, in case you have any concerns about its worthiness.  It’s a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath red-tag special, for which the proper owners paid $50,000 for in 2007.  It was also sliding down a hill.  Perhaps it was not sliding when the previous owners paid $130,000 for it just two years earlier.

The disputed house on Hubbard Gulch Road (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

You won’t learn this in the article above, which is woefully deficient in what is otherwise a fascinating story.  But The Sentinel does list several of its previous articles covering all the house wrangling.  Click on through for a twisty little maze of real estate fraud.

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Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am