Wayne County worker charged in house scheme thanks to intrepid neighbor

- A Wayne County employee is off the job and charged with a crime.

She's accused in a property transfer scheme and it was all uncovered with the help of a suspicious neighbor.

A stack of paperwork represents hours of investigative work into an alleged house theft of sorts in Detroit. It began in the spring with a mountain of trash on the curb of 690 Burlingame and a scrapper.

"He was out there digging in the mess, I said who are you are where did you come from," said Tinesha Leverette, whistleblower. "And who called you."

A question that was answered when Donna White, the woman in the passenger seat of this van driving away from FOX 2 cameras, pulled up to the same house.

"And she said I have the deed to the house," Leverette said. "I said you have the deed to the house? And I said to myself that don't even smell right."

With that, Tinesha Leverette was on a mission.

"The next morning at 8:05 I was down at the register of deeds office," she said.

And here's what she came away with.

"It was a transfer of deed from Edwina White to Donna White," she said.

Edwina White owned 690 Burlingame until she died. But despite sharing a last name, she never even knew Donna White,  the new owner. So Leverette dug deeper.

"I bought the certified copy of the death certificate," she said. "And so with that, I was able to contact the prosecutor’s office and say listen that is a fraudulent deed. There is no way it could have been executed by Edwina White in December when she passed in September."

She had found a smoking gun of sorts but it didn't end there. Prosecutors said Donna White had help from a county official. In addition to being signed after her death, the documents showed two very different signatures from Edwina White, but were notarized by Felecia Tyler.

Tyler didn't answer and Donna White drove away in her van but both face felony charges, with White looking at a maximum of 14 years if convicted. 

Now this whole alleged scheme was uncovered by someone who lives in the neighborhood. Which begs the question, why would they spend their own time, their money pulling this paperwork when they are not a detective, not getting paid to do this. The truth is they've had their eye on the property for some time.

But they wanted to do it the legal way.

"Absolutely," she said. "I have not made any qualms about the fact that I would like to buy that house."

And now she might get her wish and she's pretty confident the former homeowner is smiling down on the whole situation.

"She is probably saying 'Good." She was a good neighbor," Leverette said. "And I do miss her."


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