Former Clerk at Cook County Recorder of Deeds Indicted for Accepting Cash Bribe in Exchange for Preparing Fraudulent Real Estate Deed
CHICAGO—A former clerk for the Cook County Recorder of Deeds accepted a $200 cash bribe in exchange for preparing and agreeing to record a back-dated deed on an Oak Park home, according to a federal indictment announced today.
REGINA TAYLOR accepted the bribe from an individual who purportedly wanted to add a relative’s name to the deed of a residence in Oak Park, according to the indictment. Unbeknownst to Taylor, the individual was actually an undercover law enforcement agent, the indictment states.
The indictment was returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. It charges Taylor, 59, of Chicago, with one count of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud. Taylor will be arraigned before U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis on Sept. 24, 2015, at 10:00 a.m.
According to the indictment, Taylor offered and agreed to prepare a false quit claim deed that added the purported relative to the deed of the Oak Park property, which was allegedly owned by three deceased individuals. Taylor told the undercover agent that she usually charges $500 to prepare and record the fraudulent documents, but that in this instance she was willing to charge only $200, the indictment states.
Taylor directed the undercover agent not to tell anyone that the other individuals on the deed were deceased, according to the indictment. She then prepared a fraudulent quit claim deed and back-dated it by 18 months, confirming the purported relative as a grantee. After giving the fraudulent quit claim deed to the undercover agent to get stamped at the Village of Oak Park, the undercover agent gave Taylor $200 in cash, according to the indictment. Taylor further directed the undercover agent to bring back the stamped copy of the fraudulent deed so that Taylor could file it at the Office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, according to the indictment.
The indictment was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and John A. Brown, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The mail fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000.00 fine and mandatory restitution. Each count of wire fraud is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offense, whichever is greater. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Megan Church.