HOUSTON - A local lawmaker thinks the Texas legislature will address a legal loophole that allows crooks to file fake deeds and steal people's homes and land.
Harris County Clerk's Office employees cannot demand that a person filing a deed show identification. Because no ID is required, criminals can file fake deeds without the county having any record of who filed the document.
A bill introduced in the Texas legislature last session would have required clerks to ask for and make a copy of a person's ID when he or she recorded a document, but that bill did not become law in the last legislative session. That bill did not make it out of committee before the session ended so it died.
Texas Rep. Ana Hernandez, D-Houston, worked on the bill and hopes it will pass next session.
"I think requiring photo identification when you record a transfer of real estate is an additional safeguard for property owners," Hernandez said. "If someone is filing fraudulent documents and trying to steal your property, at least we have their photo ID on file to help the investigation."
The bill proposed last session would not make copies of the ID available to the general public.
Hernandez says the bill will have a good chance of passing because it was already debated and needed changes were made last session. One of those changes included allowing a filer to show any government issued ID, not just limited types of identification.
Have a story for investigative reporter Jace Larson to investigate? Send him a message on Facebook.
Copyright 2014 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.