Does a fraudulent deed convey title to real property?

California, United States of America

The following excerpt is from People v. Bishay, G053337 (Cal. App. 2018):

In this context, it is important to remember the recording of a fraudulent deed does not convey title to real property. (People v. Sanders (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 1403, 1413.) As a result, no theft was accomplished by the recording of the forged deed. Similarly, forgery of a victim's signature on a document with the intent to defraud, i.e., count 2, is also not a theft. "'The essential act in all types of theft is taking. If a certain amount of money or property has been taken pursuant to one plan, it is most reasonable to consider the whole plan rather than to differentiate each component part. [Citation.] The real essence of the crime of forgery, however, is not concerned with the end, i.e.,

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what is obtained or taken by the forgery; it has to do with the means, i.e., the act of signing the name of another with intent to defraud and without authority, or of falsely making a document, or of uttering the document with intent to defraud.'" (People v. Drake (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 592, 596-597.) Although in many cases the goal of a forgery is a theft, forgery occurs regardless of whether a theft is ever actually attempted or accomplished.

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