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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress could take steps to protect millions of Americans against thieves who are trying to steal homes out from underneath them.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-Mo.) and Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) introduced the Good DEED Act.

The bill aims to define deed fraud as a scheme where thieves steal property by filing fake deeds. It also would create a program to help track and fight deed fraud.

It also calls for funding to help victims of deed fraud with legal services.

“While this will not solve the problem overnight, the Good DEED Act is critical to understanding the scope of the problem nationally and an important step toward protecting law-abiding Americans from getting ensnared in one of these nefarious schemes,” Cleaver said.

As of September, Jackson County’s Recorder of Deeds said it flagged 154 suspicious activity reports over the last four years. It’s unclear how many more people may have no idea their homes have been stolen.

Cleaver told FOX4 in a interview last month that the process is shockingly easy.

“Someone could almost do it and go out in the hallway and wave the paper and say hey I took your house,” Cleaver said during a September interview on deed theft.

He says the system is set up to benefit the thieves. The county recorder is not responsible for verifying the validity, authenticity or legitimacy of the document that is recorded and pursuant to state law must accept it if its been notarized.

“There is no picture ID required, there is no fingerprint required all someone has to do is forge your name,” Cleaver said.

The bill Cleaver co-introduced also calls for increased penalties against fraudulent notarizations and other documentation involved in filing deeds.

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