Criminal used forged property records in Florida for real estate fraud

Jan 22, 2014

A Florida man is facing charges of organizing a scheme to defraud, among other charges, for an elaborate real estate fraud scheme.

Allen Tribble Jr. is alleged to have identified vacant or foreclosed houses and then put new locks on the doors.

He would also go so far as to forge the property records, like the warranty deeds and quit-claim, and then he would file them down at the county clerk’s office. It was those fraudulent documents that helped make it seem like he actually owned the houses, prosecutors and investigators said. It was all done to persuade people they were talking to the rightful owner of the properties.

According to the complaint against him, he took control of 35 houses fraudulently in several countries. The houses, added together, are worth over seven million dollars.

Of that amount, the man leased or rented almost 30 of the houses and made a quarter of a million dollars in under one year (from rent, mortgage payments, deposits, etc.) throughout 2013, investigators said.

The tactic involved houses in several cities, and he by no means stayed in one city or restrained his activities to a few houses. Mr. Tribble was reckless in his disregard for the law, and his scheme spanned several cities, several homes, and several months before the law caught up to him.

Tribble’s partner was arrested as well, and she faces charges for her part in the scam. Federal court documents show that she is his ex-wife.

An investigative agent said that this case would serve as a lesson to others, since there is always a paper trail to follow back to the perpetrator.

Both Tribble and his partner have a history of arrests in Florida. Federal court records show that Tribble attempted to send an envelope to a judge with white powder inside, at the height of the anthrax scare.

He then skipped out on a court hearing in 2004, and word had been passed on to the U.S. Marshals that he had written a suicide note. However, they weren’t convinced, and they picked him up in Florida, where he denied being Allen Tribble, until fingerprint analysis proved that he was.

In this most recent criminal venture, Tribble went to extraordinary lengths. He made his fake documents look more authentic by faking notary stamps, and he forged the signatures of actual notaries.

One of his victims, however, started to notice errors in the documents.

Tribble and his partner are being held in custody. Tribble’s bond was set at $8 million, and his partner’s bond was set at $2 million.

Tribble has filed a civil lawsuit against two dozen defendants and law enforcement officials, as well as investigators, arguing that his arrest was the result of a targeted campaign against him. His position is that the deeds were obtained legally in exchange for scrap gold and collectible gold coins.

Victims are seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed as frivolous.