KSHB-Kansas City’s year-long investigation into a widespread real estate fraud scheme started simple – with a tip from an observant neighbor.
But when reporter Ryan Kath started looking into the housing documents, he spotted a bigger problem. Someone had been stealing homes by forging signature of both the living and the death. Often, Kath found, the homeowners had no idea.
It’s a crime that’s “shockingly easy,” and little oversight was in place to keep it from happening. The dirty deeds forced victims to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees to fix the damage caused by one phony signature.
“Trail of Dirty Deeds” was a finalist for the 2013 IRE Awards. The station’s reporting also prompted state lawmakers to file bills that could address the problem.
In this "Behind the Story" video, Kath explains how he pieced together the story, including how he translated the document-heavy reporting into something that worked for television.