More Than $1 Million In Real Estate Stolen from Rightful Owners

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By U.S. Department of Justice

FORT WORTH, Texas - Inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) arrested
Norris Lynn Fisher, 62, on a mail fraud charge, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the
Northern District of Texas. Fisher was arrested at his home in Fort Worth, without incident, and
appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Bleil in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth this
afternoon for his initial appearance. A detention hearing has been set for March 3, 2010, at 10:30
a.m.

According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, Norris ran a mail fraud scheme that involved filing
fraudulent warranty deeds with the Tarrant County Clerk's office to facilitate the theft of real
property from rightful owners. The properties involved in the fraudulent warranty deed transfers
were almost always vacant lots with unpaid back taxes due and/or with weed liens filed against
them by the city of Fort Worth.

After identifying a property, Fisher would often file a forged warranty deed transferring the property
to a fictitious buyer, forging the signature of the true property owner, and forging the signature and
notary stamp affixed to the documents. After forging the deed, Fisher filed it with the Tarrant
County Clerk's Office and once it was on file, the clerk's office would record it and mail the original
file-stamped fraudulent warranty deeds to the name and address designated on the warranty deed.
However, to conceal his connection with the initial fraudulent conveyance, and ensure that he
would receive the original warranty deeds, Fisher filed change-of-address forms with the U.S. Post
Office that caused these warranty deeds to instead be forwarded to a post office box that he had
rented.

In another variation of Fisher's scheme, he would identify properties whose rightful owners had
recently died. Fisher would then file a forged heirship affidavit, attesting that a fictitious person was
the sole heir of the deceased owner. Fisher would then file a forged warranty deed transferring the
property from the fictitious heir to a business he controlled. Next, Fisher would file additional
fraudulent warranty deeds that transferred the property from the first entity to other business
entities he controlled. Fisher operated several business entities for this purpose and would often
transfer stolen properties between multiple entities to conceal his connection to the original fraud.
He concealed his connection to these business entities by listing deceased relatives and/or
fictitious people as the owners of the business entities.

Eventually, after transferring the stolen properties to an entity that he controlled, Fisher would lease
the mineral rights on the property or sell the property to a buyer who was typically unaware of the
fraudulent conveyances.

According to the affidavit, Fisher acquired more than 100 real properties in Tarrant County, Texas,
valued at more than $1 million.

A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must
be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of
innocence until proven guilty. The penalty, however, for a mail fraud conviction, is 20 years in prison
and a $250,000 fine, per count. The U.S. Attorney's office has 30 days to present the matter to a
grand jury for indictment.

The matter is being investigated by the USPIS and the Economic Crimes Unit of the Tarrant County
District Attorney's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Weimer is in charge of the prosecution.

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