Media sources report that a Cook County Illinois woman may have been the victim of theft by deed but no charges have been filed against the alleged perpetrator.
Judith Ahrens, an out-of-work nurse in the spring of 2004, was facing a possible foreclosure for falling behind on the payments on her $93,000 mortgage. Todd Hansen, Rockford, Illinois native, told Ahrens he could stop the sale of her house. Hansen, who was released from prison on April 17, 2006 on an unrelated securities prosecution, appears to have filed a deed transferring the property out of Ahrens name and into that of Cronus Projects LLC. Relatives of Ahrens contend that her signature was forged on the land deed.
Hansen has a history of white-collar crimes including a 1993 theft conviction and a 1994 federal fraud charge. He began working with his father, George Hansen, in the real estate business around 1999. Several civil and criminal litigations plagued the father and son team in relation to their real estate transactions; George is currently serving a 60-year sentence for the 2004 murder of the bookkeeper of a Rockford home remodeling company.
Cronus Projects LLC searches for distressed properties where owners have fallen behind on mortgages or tax payments, negotiates a purchase and then resells the properties for a profit. Hansen appears to have assisted Cronus in obtaining five other properties in llinois. Joe Varan, the president of Cronus, was the notary public attesting to the authenticity of Ahrens signature on the land deed to her property. Varan, however, has no recollection of notarizing the document.
Authorities are strapped for resources in investigating and prosecuting mortgage fraud. Currently they focus on cases with several hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses. There may be little hope for this crime to be fully investigated or for charges to be filed.