Lawyer in Turkey: August 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Scammed through a Proxy

In my practice I see many cases of swindle in many various types. People can easily wander during the process of buying a property or can get scammed through deception or misguidance. And over and over again I keep wondering what the main cause of this kind of swindle is. Of course it is always about the money, but money is not the cause. It is the reason why people get scammed. My question is about the cause of scams singly. I think the answer is very simple: It is our built trust in our fellow human.

The story I am going to tell you now has affected me and I am sure you are not indifferent.

This lady has bought together with her husband a nice apartment in Alanya from a construction builder. In this period she met a sworn translator whose services they needed at the Tapu Office. He helped them very good and they stayed in touch. At the moment that the couple had divorced, the property in Turkey was assigned to the lady. Half of the house was on name of her ex husband and had fully come to her name. Again she used the services of the same sworn translator and also this time it went smoothly. The lady got the Tapu completely on her name. She was happy.

After a couple of years, she thought it would be a good idea to transfer the Tapu to her children, in case something would happen to her. Till now she always used the services of the same sworn translator, who also became a friend during the past years. Someone she trusted completely and it was clear that also this time she would ask him to take the job. On his request she gave him a notarized power of attorney; she signed a couple of documents and gave him the needed documents from the children.
After 6 months she was told by the sworn translator that her property had been sold to somebody else. At first she thought he was making a joke, but when she found out that he was very serious she went looking for a lawyer to look into her case and to claim her tapu. After 2 years her lawyer told her that it is a lost cause. And that is how I met this lady when she visited me in my practice for a second opinion.

Now the question arises whether this lady can claim her property back or not. The answer on this question depends on the evidence. Can she prove that this man, who she trusted completely, has scammed her? And what about the rights from the people who bought her property?

She gave this man a notarized power of attorney to sell and transfer the property on her behalf. She never thought about the fact that this power of attorney was drafted too broadly. In this case my advice to her would have been to give a power of attorney that only gives the right to sell and transfer the property on behalf of her children. THAT was her intention. This way the sworn translator would never be able to sell the property to a third party. The third party could never have relied on the power of attorney that he held. And because of this it is that the court has deemed the case not proven.

The sad thing about this case is that during the court case she found out that the sworn translator had pilfered her signature on a blank paper and later wrote on this paper himself that she had  received the complete amount of money from the sale. This lady not only lost her holiday home, she also lost her rights to reclaim the money from the sworn translator. And with this a dream and trust in a fellow human turned into a nightmare.
In Turkey it is easy to become a sworn translator. Don’t get me wrong, it is a respectable profession. As long the translator does what he should do, The Translation, I have no qualms.

But most of the time they also do consulting work or worse attorney work. There is no guild or order that effectively controls their actions or calls them to order. Be careful with the trust that you give away.