Texas woman loses historic home
Houston homeowner Patricia Pusey was approached in 2008 by a woman who said she was running a tax advisory service that could alleviate her struggle. Pusey is 77 years old, blind and has struggled financially in her older age, falling behind on her property taxes as she had a heart attack and her son was struck with terminal cancer, so relief was highly welcome. Pusey simply wanted to preserve the home her parents built in 1948.
Pusey tells the Houston Chronicle that she believed she was signing a document for tax relief, but she was actually tricked into signing over the deed to her house. “I know what a deed of trust is. … I maybe didn’t have my sight, but I’m not stupid,” she said.
The home has now been sold to outside investors and completely demolished, along with antiques and family mementos Pusey says were still inside the home.
Woman and investor charged with fraud
The Chronicle reviewed the transaction records and found that the house was sold to a LLC that the woman claiming tax advisory services had created just a month prior to the disputed deed transaction. The company’s legal status was terminated prior to the conclusion of the sale due to failure to pay the necessary filing fees, but the woman’s lawyer said, “It is our stand that this was a legal real estate transaction,” and that the woman agreed to the sale and no tax help was ever offered.
Now, the Harris County District Attorney’s Consumer Fraud Division is prosecuting the case after Pusey filed a complaint. The woman and the investor (who technically owns the land now) face felony charges for theft of over $20,000 and execution of a legal document through deception.