Bogus deeds land ex-con back in prison
Last updated 11/12/2009 at Noon
SAN DIEGO — An ex-con who filed bogus grant deeds with the San Diego County Recorder’s Office on six properties he claimed he owned was sentenced recently to two years and eight months in prison.
Maurice Antoine Simmons, 32, was convicted Aug. 31 of 15 counts, including filing and possessing false documents and forgery.
Prosecutor Marlene Coyne unsuccessfully urged Judge Stephanie Sontag to sentence Simmons to eight years and four months behind bars.
Coyne said Simmons and codefendant King Solomon II, also known as Terry Lee Herron, would lay claim to properties that were in default, foreclosure or where the owners were behind in their payments.
The prosecutor said Simmons committed the fraud while he was out on bail on another criminal case and had convictions dating back to 1991 for assault with a firearm, when he was a juvenile.
Simmons was also convicted in 1998 of making a criminal threat.
He went back to prison in 2002 when he was found in violation of parole for having a loaded weapon, Coyne said.
She said Simmons showed great “braggadocio” by testifying that he had the right to claim the properties if they weren’t cared for.
“He’s remorseless,” the prosecutor said. “That should matter for something.”
Defense attorney Jeff Carver said Simmons had a legitimate belief that he had a right to file the grant deeds on the troubled properties in Chula Vista and San Diego.
“He was incorrect,” Carver told the judge, noting Simmons paid $5,000 to get into the program to claim the properties under the guise of a religious order known as the Sovereign Solomon Brothers Archbishop Corporation Sole.
Carver said Simmons made no effort to hide what he was doing.
But for the defendant’s criminal record, Sontag said she might be inclined to place him on probation.
“I can’t ignore the criminal history,” the judge said.
Solomon faces a retrial Nov. 16. A jury deadlocked after his first trial.