Former Recorder of Deeds clerk indicted on fraud charges

Flickr | Beth Cortez-Neavel

CHICAGO (STMW) - A former clerk for the Cook County Recorder of Deeds has been indicted on federal fraud charges after prosecutors say she accepted a $200 cash bribe to prepare a falsified real-estate deed.

Regina Taylor, 59, of Chicago, accepted the bribe from someone claiming they wanted to add a relative’s name to the deed of a home in Oak Park, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office. Taylor prepared and agreed to record the backdated deed for the person, who was actually an undercover law enforcement agent.

Prosecutors said Taylor offered and agreed to prepare the false deed that added the “relative” as an owner of the Oak Park property, which the agent told her was owned by three deceased individuals. Taylor allegedly told the agent she usually charges $500 to prepare and record fraudulent documents, but was willing to charge only $200 this time.

She also told the agent not to tell anyone that the other people on the deed were dead, prosecutors said. After giving the agent the deed to have it stamped at the Village of Oak Park, she accepted $200 in cash from the agent on Oct. 23, 2012, and told the agent to bring back the stamped copy so she could file it at the Office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

The indictment, which was returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, charges Taylor with one count of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

The mail fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and mandatory restitution, prosecutors said. Each wire fraud charge also carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense.

Taylor will be arraigned before U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis on Sept. 24, prosecutors said.