SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - On April 14, a San Bernardino County jury returned a verdict of guilty on 6 counts of real estate fraud against 58-year-old Barbara Rae Bratton of Upland. Bratton was taken into custody immediately following the guilty finding.
In May 2013, the Ontario Police Department investigated Bratton on suspicion of filing two false grant deeds with the San Bernardino County Recorder's Office on a house in the 900 block of Locust Street in Ontario. The false deeds were filed a month earlier by Bratton in a fraudulent attempt to take possession of a house she once owned and had lost to foreclosure.
According to District Attorney Sr. Investigation John Vega, who was assigned to the case, the house had been sold to new buyers who then purchased it legally.
"Ms. Bratton owned the house at one time, but had not made a mortgage payment on it for approximately four years resulting in the foreclosure, and two evictions, to finally remove her from the property," Sr. Investigator Vega said.
Bratton argued in court that the house still belonged to her in spite of years of not making payments on the property. She continuously cited flawed legal theories that some people use to not pay home loans.
"The defendant intentionally attempted to deprive the new owners of the home by placing the house back in her name and then filing a civil lawsuit against them that she eventually lost in court," said Deputy District Attorney Vance Welch, who prosecuted the case.
Bratton is due back in court May 18. She faces 6 years in state prison.