DALLAS — In an indictment, William Baldridge is accused of fraudulently transferring the titles of 20 homes in Dallas, Harris and Tarrant counties to companies he controlled.
Prosecutors say the stolen properties are valued at more than $1.6 million.
“I'm hopeful that he will be held accountable,” said attorney Carla Rankin, who represented Baldridge’s ex-wife in a child support and child custody case.
Baldrige, 56, is currently being held in the Dallas County jail on two felony theft charges and a harassment charge. His bail totals $501,000.
The harassment charge is related to a police report filed by Rankin with Rockwall police.
WFAA first detailed the questionable title transfers involving Baldridge in a May 2019 story.
WFAA has since detailed in other stories the ease with which properties can be stolen from their rightful owners through fraudulent deed transfers and recorded at the county clerk’s office.
Rankin told WFAA she discovered the alleged deed fraud scheme looking to find any sources of income for Baldridge. She said she saw his phone number on a Houston real estate listing.
In county records, Rankin found a warranty deed transferring title of the property that had been signed by an individual who died years earlier. The property had been conveyed from one Baldridge company to another, records show.
Baldridge was accused in a separate indictment of selling 17 of those properties to unsuspecting buyers.
One of the properties sold by Baldridge belonged to Paul Dodson’s family.
“I really could not believe that the home had been sold,” Dodson told WFAA in a 2019 interview. “It was devastating news.”
Dodson’s great-grandparents owned a home on South Lewellyn Avenue in Dallas for decades. Court records show Frances “FM” Dickerson, his great-grandfather, died in 1977. His great-grandmother, Beatrice Dickerson, died in 2000. His grandmother, Helen Dickerson Gibson, died in 2013.
Yet, on the same day in 2018, their “signatures” showed up on two warranty deeds. One warranty deed conveys the property from Helen to her parents, Frances Dickerson and Beatrice Dickerson – all three of them long dead. The other deed record on the same day conveys the property from Frances and Beatrice Dickerson to Baldridge’s company, Harris CT Tax LLC.
“When my mother found out the news, she actually began crying,” Dodson said in the 2019 interview.
Prosecutors say Baldridge received more than $1.1 million from the sale of those 17 properties.
“Most of these were people who had died decades ago, and their families had just let the houses go into disrepair, or there were tax liens out or city liens for mowing for grass and Bill took advantage of that,” said Rankin.