Thomas Anthony Sandelier, III, 49, Stuart, Florida was found guilty of racketeering, organized fraud, grand theft and identity theft after a four day jury trial. Sandelier was arrested December 20, 2004 and accused of forging documents to take ownership of 18 vacant lots located in Palm Bay and Canaveral Groves, Florida and selling them.
The fraudulent transactions were insured by Universal Land Title, Inc., Port Saint Lucie, Florida who first contacted FDLE to report the alleged fraud after employees noticed that the suspected fraudulent deeds had signatures for European and out-of-state landholders notarized by a Florida notary. Universal Land Title employees attempted to contact several of the land owners but were only able to reach one, who indicated that at no time had he ever been contacted by Sandelier or anyone else attempting to purchase property.
Authorities allege that Sandelier obtained quit claim deeds for vacant properties owned by non-United States residents. Sandelier would then forge the signatures of those owners and have the deeds notarized by a Notary Public. He then would typically sell the property within one week to unsuspecting buyers. It is estimated that Sandelier may have obtained and sold about 200 properties in the same manner.
Sandelier faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison.