A 77-year old blind Texas woman says she thought she was signing a document to get relief from taxes, but instead she was tricked into signing over the deed to her house.
Now the house has been sold to outside investors and razed to the ground. Family mementos and antiques were still inside when the machines hit her home, the woman told The Houston Chronicle.
The woman had inherited the house from her parents, who had built it in 1948. She was poor and had fallen behind on her taxes in 2008 when she was approached by a Houston businesswoman who represented herself as running a tax advisory service that could help her.
The businesswoman’s lawyer say that the old woman agreed to the sale and no tax help was offered. “It is our stand that this was a legal real estate transaction,” the lawyer said.
“I know what a deed of trust is. … I maybe didn’t have my sight, but I’m not stupid,” the blind woman said.
Reviewing the records, the Chronicle found the house was sold to a LLC that the businesswoman had created a month before the disputed deed transaction. The company’s legal status was terminated before the sale even concluded due to a failure to pay the necessary filing fees.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Consumer Fraud Division is prosecuting the case as a result of the blind woman’s complaint. The businesswoman and her investor face charges of felony theft of more than $20,000 and execution of a legal document through deception.