Former Clerk at Cook County Recorder of Deeds Admits Accepting Cash Bribe in Exchange for Preparing Fraudulent Real Estate Deed
CHICAGO — A former clerk for the Cook County Recorder of Deeds pleaded guilty today to accepting a cash bribe in exchange for preparing a back-dated deed on an Oak Park home and agreeing to record it with her office.
REGINA TAYLOR accepted the $200 bribe from an individual who purportedly wanted to add a relative’s name to the deed of a residence in Oak Park, according to a written plea agreement. Unbeknownst to Taylor, the individual was actually an undercover law enforcement agent, the plea agreement states.
Taylor, 59, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to one count of honest services mail fraud. The conviction carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offense, whichever is greater.
U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis scheduled a sentencing hearing for April 13, 2016, at 10:30 a.m.
According to the plea agreement, the fraudulent quit claim deed was created to add the purported relative as a fourth owner of the Oak Park property. Taylor directed the undercover agent not to tell anyone that the three other individuals on the deed were deceased, according to the plea agreement. Taylor then prepared the fraudulent deed and back-dated it by 18 months, confirming the purported relative as a grantee.
After giving the fraudulent deed to the undercover agent to have it stamped at the Village of Oak Park, the undercover agent gave Taylor $200 in cash, according to the plea agreement. Taylor further directed the undercover agent to bring back the stamped copy of the fraudulent deed so that Taylor could officially file it at the Office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
The guilty plea was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Megan Cunniff Church.