Suspect accused of directing worker to dispose of victim's property from residence

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FARMINGTON — A Flora Vista man has been charged with forging a signature on real estate paperwork and ordering an employee to remove the victim's property from a residence and dispose of it.

Scott Bird, 58, was charged Wednesday in Aztec Magistrate Court and accused of second-degree felony counts of forgery, larceny and disposing of stolen property, and a third-degree felony count of residential burglary, according to the criminal complaint.

The arrest warrant states Bird is accused of forging a signature on a real estate transaction for a residence on County Road 3263 west of Aztec, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

He is also accused of having a worker enter the residence, remove the victim's personal belongings valued at $21,946 and dispose of it at a county dump, the affidavit states.

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Bird declined to comment, referring questions to his attorney Steve Murphy.

Murphy stated the alleged incident is a civil matter and not a criminal matter. He added he didn't know why an arrest warrant was issued for Bird and why Bird was charged with residential burglary.

According to Murphy, Bird was trying to help the victim, who couldn't make payments on the property, by taking ownership of the property and helping the victim avoid defaulting on mortgage payments.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office investigated the case.

The sister of the victim spoke to a deputy on Nov. 8, telling the deputy her brother was ill and had moved into a senior center in Ignacio, Colo., and was going to surrender the property to Bird, according to court documents.

When the sister filed an "agreement to release escrowed documents" signed by her brother and notarized with Executive Escrow Services in Farmington on Nov. 8, she was told the document allegedly had been filed by Bird on Nov. 6 with the victim's signature.

A detective for the sheriff's office met with the victim, diagnosed with stage 4 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and advanced lung cancer, and his sister, according to court documents.

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While reviewing a copy of the Nov. 6 paperwork, the victim told the detective the signature on the document was not his.

The detective obtained a sample of the victim's signature and compared it to the two set of documents.

The detective believed the signatures on the Nov. 8 paperwork were legitimately signed and the Nov. 6 documents have "several differences" in the handwriting, according to court documents.

The sister told the detective her brother made a payment on the residence on Oct. 6, and when she and her husband visited the residence on Oct. 21, her brother's personal belongings had been removed from the residence.

While speaking to the detective, the sister said the woman who notarized the paperwork was an employee of Vectra Bank in Farmington and that Bird was a president of Vectra Bank, according to court documents.

The Daily Times has cited Bird as a regional president for Vectra Bank.

When detectives asked Bird on Nov. 20 about the signature on the Nov. 6 set of "agreement to release escrowed documents," he told them, "I signed it," according to court documents.

The detectives visited the bank to speak to a female employee who notarized the Nov. 6 paperwork allegedly filed by Bird with the alleged forged signature. She and another woman are not being identified because they have not been charged in connection with the case.

The case remains under investigation, according to Detective Lt. Kyle Lincoln.

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Bird told detectives he bought the real estate contract from the property owners who were selling the residence to the victim, according to the affidavit.

He added the sister was supposed to come down to handle the paperwork and that he believed he wasn't going to get the victim's signature due to the victim's medical condition.

Bird also told detectives he directed a female worker involved in his real estate business to remove the property from the residence and dispose of it. The female worker told detectives she entered the residence through a window because Bird didn't have the keys, according to court documents.

She stated the locks were changed on the residence, and she took everything out of the residence and disposed of it at a county dump.

Bird made his first appearance in Aztec Magistrate Court Wednesday and was released on his own recognizance, according to Murphy.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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