“Prosecutors say that starting in January 2009, [Winston] Lum forged the true owner’s signatures on grant deeds for three condominiums at One Rincon Hill, put them in his name and recorded them with the city. He then borrowed $2.2 million against the units, which are worth a total of $7.5 million, prosecutors said.”
Tennis teacher accused of condo scam [SFGate]

11 thoughts on “Of Course We Might Question That $7.5 Million Valuation As Well…”
  1. some comments on SFgate questioned how he got the deeds transferred to his name when it has to be signed in the presence of a notary, with a thumbprint. anyone care to shed light on the process of transferring ownership; i’d hate to have it happen to myself when the agent says “just sign here here and here” during my first closing.

  2. condoshopper – at least for quitclaims you are right that a notary must witness. I’d expect that any other action that releases ownership would also require a notary.
    So maybe there’s a crooked notary that will be pulled into this case. No way Mr. Lum would be confused for a “Shirley”.

  3. I had the same thoughts when I read the Chronicle piece. My guess at the time was this: both parties here have Chinese surnames, and it’s very possible that “Shirley”‘s legal first name is also a Chinese name. In that case, a notary might be fooled by a fake ID with the Chinese name, since the notary might have no way to know if it’s a male or female name.
    But Shirley can be a man’s name too, so it’s not really correct to say that Mr. Lum couldn’t be confused for a “Shirley.” I have come across or read about men named Shirley a handful of times in the past.
    Still, I think the notary should be raked over the coals; these days, the California driver’s license/ID card has a bunch of security features which would not be easy to fake, and one would hope that a notary would take more than a cursory look at an ID before certifying a signature on such an important document.

  4. Anything having to do with deeds require a thumbprint. Of course the thumbprint doesn’t help prove identity to the notary it is just there to help prove identity when the prosecutors come calling. He would have either had to have fake id or a crooked notary (or perhaps steal a notary’s seal and forge the notary’s signature as well).

  5. It’s silly this guy was still around when the situation started to unwind. $2.2M is more than enough to live in an extradition-free country for a few years…

  6. wow,
    It’s usually the stupid ones who make headlines, isn’t it?
    What kills me is, the guy goes to all the trouble of getting the paperwork, forging everything, maybe even bribing a notary, etc. and still uses his real name for the payoff. I mean, come on. What, nobody’s ever going to notice?
    *slowly shakes head*
    The bank refusing to release the mortgage is pretty asinine as well.

  7. justme,
    This sort of corporate behavior reminds me of a Better off Ted episode: Veridian Dynamics sends a typo-ed memo saying “offensive language will noW be tolerated”. VD never admits being wrong therefore they proceed with implementing this new policy with hilarious effect. Enjoy.
    Same thing here: they released the cash to the wrong guy but are giving a hard time to the victim!!!

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