Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Tuesday that a Santa Maria jury returned guilty verdicts in a real estate fraud case.

The defendant, Nicholas Baucom, now faces up to seven years and eight months in prison.

On three different occasions Baucom attempted to record a forged deed transferring residential property to himself from an unsuspecting homeowner.

The homeowner resided out of the area and Baucom was squatting in the vacant home.

An employee of the Santa Barbara County Clerk Recorder’s Office reported this suspicious activity to the District Attorney Real Estate Fraud Unit.

The Real Estate Fraud Unit investigated the case and learned that Baucom had previously been convicted in Brooklyn, New York, for recording forged deeds transferring residential property to himself.

The jury found Baucom guilty as charged of all eight felony counts, including three counts of commercial burglary, three counts of attempting to record a forged deed, one count of forgery of a deed, and one count of forgery of a notary stamp.

Dudley commended the DA’s Real Estate Fraud Unit for their outstanding investigative work and prosecution of this case and stated, “real estate fraud negatively impacts our community as well as homeowners who fall prey to criminals who will fraudulently take advantage of vacant homes. The District Attorney’s Office will continue to investigate and prosecute real estate fraud to protect Santa Barbara County’s homeowners.”

Sentencing will be on Aug. 25 in Department 6 before the Honorable Judge John McGregor.