Convictions for filing false documents (Pen. Code, § 115) reversed where the quitclaim deeds, although induced by false pretenses, were not false or forged within the meaning of the statute. Defendant suffered numerous convictions based on his operation of a home foreclosure rescue business that he was not licensed to operate. Among the convictions were ten counts of filing false or forged quitclaim deeds (Pen. Code, § 115). Defendant challenged two of the section 115 convictions based on the sufficiency of the evidence because the deeds were signed by persons who owned the properties and were legally entitled to quitclaim them. Held: Two section 115 convictions reversed. Section 115 provides that every person who knowingly procures or offers any false or forged instrument to be filed, registered, or recorded in any public office, which instrument, if genuine, might be filed, registered, or recorded under any law of this state or of the United States, is guilty of a felony. The purpose of section 115 is to protect the integrity and reliability of public records. Here, the persons who signed the quitclaim deeds were legally entitled to do so. The fact the signatures may have been the result of fraud in the inducement does not render the instruments “false” within the meaning of section 115. As a result, the evidence was insufficient to support two of the section 115 convictions.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/archive/C082057.PDF