People ex rel. Harris v. Aguayo

Trial court properly found defendants liable under the unfair competition law in view of their fraudulent scheme to acquire semi-abandoned properties through a combination of adverse possession and the recordation of wild deeds.  Defendants engaged in a fraudulent scheme to acquire semi-abandoned properties by adverse possession and by a variety of scams such as recording “wild” deeds quitclaiming property from one to another of the defendants though neither of them had any interest in the property.  These deeds were not proper even if plaintiffs claimed some interest in the property by reason of their wrongful possession of it. Their activity was not protected under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine though in some instances, they eventually filed quiet title actions to the properties they stole.  The trial court properly found defendants liable under the UCL and granted a restitution order for all rents plaintiffs had illegally collected as well as other sums they obtained through their scheme, and it also properly awarded civil penalties and entered a permanent injunction against defendants, barring them from again engaging in the activities that had been the basis of their fraudulent scheme.

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 2 (Chavez, Acting P.J.); April 26, 2017 (published May 25, 2017); 2017 WL 2292052

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