TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Dover woman who claims she lost control of her property after signing a blank piece of paper, has filed a complaint with the state about the notary public who was involved in the transaction.
The 3.5-acre piece of land with a small home on it was inherited by the four children of the previous owners. According to a number of online sites, it is worth about $250,000.
Susan Eatman, one of two surviving heirs, said she was approached by Mark Oliver earlier this year. According to Eatman, Oliver asked her to sign a blank piece of paper to show good faith in his request to lease part of the land.
Eatman said she repeatedly told him no, but eventually relented and signed the paper. Eatman claims her signature ended up on a quit claim deed that allowed Oliver to replace her name on the deed with his name.
According to Hillsboro County Sheriff’s Office investigators, Oliver was seen in April on surveillance video filing the document at a county office.
Oliver has declined multiple requests for comment and denied he did anything wrong in court documents related to a civil lawsuit Eatman filed.
Eatman and her boyfriend, Randy Locklear, have been fighting for months to get the property back in her name, but almost gave up before turning to 8 On Your Side.
“Hate to deal with it. Thought about saying just forget it,” Locklear said. “We can’t do that. Not when somebody does this to you.”
State law requires quit claim deeds to be notarized and signed in the presence of two witnesses.
Eatman filed a complaint with the Notary Section of the Office of the Governor alleging notary Gaeby Doherty violated several regulations.
“Witnesses were not present for the signing but were added later,” the complaint states.
A sheriff’s office offense report containing details of an interview with Doherty states she acknowledged “the witnesses were not present when the document was signed.”
Doherty has not responded to requests for comment. She has not been charged with a crime.
Eatman also alleges the “notary lied” about the parties providing driver’s licenses during the process.
“She said that I showed her my driver’s license,” Eatman said. “I didn’t even take it out of my purse.”
The incident was investigated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and was passed on to the State’s Attorney for review of alleged charges of Grand Theft First Degree and Uttering a Forged Document.
A state’s attorney spokesperson said the case is active but there are no charges.
Oliver has declined multiple requests for comment. In court paperwork tied to Eatman’s civil lawsuit, he denied he did anything wrong and claimed he paid Eatman’s sister Jacquelyn White $40,000 and provided other services for her.
White, whose name was also removed from the deed, lives in the home on the proerty. She has not responded to requests for comment.
Oliver’s attorney Bryant Camareno emphasized Oliver has not been charged with any crime.
Eatman said she never wanted to sell the property and did not receive any compensation after her name was removed from the deed.
Locklear said he came within minutes of stopping the transaction with a notice of revocation, but arrived at the clerk’s office right after the quit claim paperwork was filed.
“We’ve done everything we can possibly do but it’s really, really been nerve racking,” Locklear said. “It’s been terrible. I have gone without sleep for months.”