The new policy, which takes effect Monday, will require all payments for the recording of deeds, mortgages or other documents to be made by check or money order, county Recorder of Deeds Evie Rafalko McNulty said Tuesday.
"If you're going to defraud somebody out of their house, you're not going to give me cash.
You're going to give me a check or money order so there is some sort of paper trail," she
"There is going to be some way to track you down."
In addition, when a deed is filed, the office will for the first time send a form letter to the previous owner notifying them that a transfer was made taking the property out of their name.
If they are aware of transaction, there is no need to respond to the letter, Mrs. McNulty
"If you're not aware of it, you need to get in touch with us and we will put you in contact with the proper authorities," she
The changes come after the discovery of a number of what Mrs. McNulty described as "questionable documents" that have been recorded by the office over the years.
Upon further investigation, it was found the recording fees for the transactions were all paid in cash.
said the intent is to lessen the possibility someone would try to fraudulently transfer title to a property without the knowledge or consent of the rightful owner.
"There is just so much going on now, especially out in the rural areas, where a whole new value has been put on property" as a result of the Marcellus Shale gas boom, she
"We need to help people be more protected."
also wants to reduce the amount of cash handled by her
Last week, she
said, the office received a $6,000 cash payment for the transfer tax on a transaction.
"We don't want to be holding that money, and it's in their best interest that they have a (canceled) check to say they've paid," she