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On the surface, it’s just another story about deed theft in Philadelphia.

In early 2014, Norman Johnson sold his three-story Reed Street rowhouse in the fast-gentrifying Point Breeze neighborhood. The fetching price: a modest $15,000.

The problem: Johnson had been dead for more than a decade by the time he supposedly signed over the deed.

Grifters forge and commit bogus transfers with alarming frequency and few consequences in Philadelphia. It’s a rampant problem that local law enforcement largely ignored until recently, often leaving rightful owners fighting long and expensive court battles to reclaim legal title to their properties.

But in this case, the accused forger would go on to build a prosperous career — in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Billy Penn identified the accused perpetrator as state…

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