Defendant Who Sold Homes He Did Not Own Gets 70-Month Prison Term
PHILADELPHIA—Eric Tubbs, 54, of Philadelphia, was sentenced yesterday to 70 months in prison for fraudulently selling properties he did not own. Tubbs found vacant properties, created phony deeds which falsely transferred the properties from the legitimate owners to individuals recruited by him, and sold properties owned by estates by having others pose as the executors. Tubbs then sold the properties to unsuspecting buyers. He pleaded guilty on April 22, 2014 to seven counts that included wire and mail fraud, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and transactional money laundering.
In the case of the property at 1122 Carpenter Street, Tubbs recruited another person, codefendant Douglas Fields, to sign a forged deed which transferred the property to Fields for $1 as the “son” of the owners. Tubbs subsequently sold the property on March 18, 2010, for $140,000, and obtained approximately $120,000 of the proceeds from the settlement.
In the case of 2047 St. Albans Street and 2022 Titan Street, two other vacant properties, Tubbs had other individuals pose as the executors for the estates that owned the properties. He sold the St. Albans Street property on June 16, 2009 for $130,000, and received $100,000 of the proceeds. On October 28, 2011, he sold the Titan Street property for $22,000. Because there were several mortgages and liens on the property, he received only $877 as a result of the transaction. Tubbs altered the check, however, to change the amount payable from $877 to $8,077 and deposited it into an account he opened using someone else’s identity.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Quinones ordered restitution in the amount of $271,146, a forfeiture money judgment of $227,857, and three years of supervised release.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Philadelphia Office of the Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Costello.