People v. MillerAnnotate this Case
Sara, an elderly woman, owned the property and resided there with her husband, who has dementia. San Mateo County informed Sara that she owed taxes and faced foreclosure. Miller, a real estate salesperson, contacted Sara and offered to secure a reverse mortgage to pay Sara’s tax obligation. Miller provided Sara with a document to sign. Sara believed the document was to secure a $500,000 reverse mortgage and that after she signed, Miller would pay the taxes. Sara did not read the document but signed it. The document was actually a purchase agreement. A deed transferring the property to Rex was recorded the same day. The District Attorney’s Office notified Sara of the sale. Lion had purchased the property from Rex. Miller pled no contest to unlawfully and knowingly procuring and offering a false or forged instrument to be filed in a state public office and grand theft of the property. Lion filed a quiet title action.
The state moved to void the deed to Rex. The court determined the deed was forged and that the matter was appropriately addressed in the criminal proceeding. The court of appeal affirmed the adjudication of the deed as void from its inception, rejecting arguments that Miller’s no contest plea “was not an adjudication of the alleged falsity or forgery” of the deed, that the finding was not supported by the record, and the court should have deferred to the pending quiet title action.