KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) – You might want to check the deed to your house if you live in Missouri. A Kansas City family was shocked to learn they were no longer the owner of their home.
“I mean this was our parents’ home,” said Linda Peak, referring to a house at 8303 Brooklyn Avenue that had been left to her and her siblings after their parents passed away.
This past November, the siblings found a buyer for the $45,000 house. But before the sale could go through, a title company discovered the house had already been sold to someone else.
In October, a man the family had never met filed a deed at the Jackson County Courthouse claiming he had bought the home from them.
“It’s all forged information,” said Peak’s sister Crystal Goff. “He stole our home.”
Stealing a home is surprisingly easy in Missouri. It’s such a big problem that several years ago, the Missouri Legislature made the crime a felony.
The name listed on the deed was Ovonjae Tatium, and court records show he’d previously been convicted on theft and drunken driving charges. He also has a warrant out for his arrest for not showing up to court on a DWI charge.
Peak and her sister reported Tatium to Kansas City Police.
“We found out that he had five or six more that he had (bought) all in the same day,” she said.
Peak’s name is misspelled on the deed he filed claiming to own Peak’s and Goff’s house. It’s listed as Park.
“I would never write my name wrong,” she said shaking her head in disbelief.
The Kansas City address on the deed where Tatium claims to live, 6619 Indiana Avenue, doesn’t exist.
Tatium has also laid claim to a house at 7129 Tracy Avenue, which he said was sold to him by Marcellous Adams, according to property records. But Adams told WDAF that he never sold the house to Tatium. Adams said he has owned it for years and uses it as rental property. He has reported the theft to police.
Tatium also claimed he bought a house at 5911 The Paseo from a company called Powered Flight LLC. But there is no such company registered with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office. The deed listed the company’s address as Harrison, Missouri. There is no town called Harrison in Missouri.
Another home that Tatium has laid claim to stands out as an eyesore on a street of well-tended homes. A neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified, said the home’s last owner died several years ago. Property records show Tatium bought the house last year from Thomas Miles, a man who has been accused of stealing homes multiple times.
WDAF tried repeatedly to find Tatium, visiting every address he has listed and talking to his father, with whom he shares a name. The father said he hadn’t spoken to his son in months but promised to track him down.
Meanwhile, Peak and her sister have hired an attorney to help them prove in court they are the actual owners of their house.