Pair accused of changing house deed while owners on vacation

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A couple returning home from vacation found their locks re-keyed, the furniture gone and a man living there who claimed to be the legal owner in what has to be one of the most bizarre cases of home theft ever.

Daniel Judd, 66, has said he bought the house from a friend while Tom Decker and his wife Marie McArthur were away for six weeks, according to a Santa Cruz Sentinel story.

When the couple returned and complained to authorities about the man living in their home in Ben Lomond, Calif., Judd showed authorities a deed that is now thought to have falsified. The couple were barred from the property, although they're now back in after the scam was revealed.



Decker and McArthur bought the three-bedroom house as a fixer-upper two years ago as their second home and planned to use it in retirement.

Judd and his alleged accomplice, Ray Tate of Santa Cruz, maintained that they had a rightful claim to the home because Decker and McArthur hadn't properly secured the paperwork required of ownership.

Decker and McArthur mistakenly assigned ownership of the home to the California Housing Association, licensed in California, instead of to Decker's real estate company on the deed, also the California Housing Authority but licensed in Nevada.


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