Norris Fisher has few moral boundaries. He was convicted last month in a Fort Worth, Texas federal court after stealing real estate from elderly, disabled and deceased property owners near Fort Worth. Here is the story of his depraved acts and how he was finally caught.
Norris was convicted of federal mail fraud charges after being caught in a scheme that involved filing forged deeds to real estate. By forging the deeds, not only were the rightful owners of the real estate deprived of their property but the subsequent buyers who then purchased the stolen property were also deprived of their money.
According to a sealed complaint from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Norris is believed to have forged over 300 deeds, affidavits of heirship and other documents. His net haul? Police say in just 2 years, he falsely acquired over 100 properties in the Fort Worth area.
How did he accomplish this feat? Forged documents, forged notary seals and a newspaper.
According to sworn testimony from Postal Inspector Eric Bodak, the scheme began to unravel in late 2008 when John Special of Fort Worth found out his vacant lot had been sold to a woman in Los Angeles.
Police found that the transfer of the property had been done by a forged deed. Both Special's name and the notary's seal were forged.
Ultimately, investigators determined that forger would first use a phony deed to acquire control of the property and later sell the property for cash to an unsuspecting buyer. Anyone conducting a title search would believe that all paperwork was in order.
Fisher was located after postal inspectors traced the addresses to where the deeds were mailed.
To avoid detection, Fisher often forged deeds to vacant lots.
In one case, an alert caseworker at the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services discovered that one of her clients, a 77-year-old ward of the state, had "sold" all 3 of her properties. Suspicious, the caseworker tracked down the alleged notary and discovered both the notary's signature and stamp were forged.
In July of 2009, police executed a search warrant at Fisher's home and found seven different notary stamps. Just prior to his arrest, an undercover agent first went to Fisher's home posing as a buyer and purchased one of the stolen lots. The entire conversation was recorded.
Faced with overwhelming evidence, Fisher ultimately pled guilty to 4 counts of federal mail fraud and conspiracy in October of this year. Although facing 20 years on each count, Fisher is likely to receive less at his sentencing hearing scheduled for early February 2011.