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Kansas landlords have warned of possible identity theft, real estate scams

Property owners in more than a dozen Kansas counties have received a proposal letter and purchase agreement offering to buy their vacant properties, but county officials warn the letter could instead be a theft operation of identity.

Some owners received the following letter during the Christmas holidays from a “Tekoa Da Silva” with an Edmond, Oklahoma return address. This was received from an Ottawa County landowner:


My name is Tekoa Da Silva and I am writing to ask: May I buy your vacant land in Ottawa County? Attached is a “Purchase Agreement” which refers to the specific parcel of land and the amount of the offer.

I found the information on your parcel of land by looking at the Ottawa County public records. There is a website mapping tool called “GIS” map, if you want to look at the same record information. It can be found through the county appraiser’s website.

If you wish to sell, I can provide you with a quick, professional and easy transaction.

Depending on the situation, I may pay all costs associated with the completion of this transaction, including back taxes (within reason) and title/escrow fees with a local title company. The price we agree on is the amount of the check (or wire transfer) you will receive from the holding company at closing.

If you are interested in selling, please complete the enclosed “Purchase Agreement” and return it to the above address or simply call or text (405) 254-8857.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss this contemplated transaction and/or the sale of any other property you may own.


Tekoa Da Silva

The attached purchase agreement lists the property code, size and description, address, offer price and contingencies, and a date of February 15, 2023, after which the offer will be withdrawn.

Interviewed by the Hays Post, Ottawa County Sheriff Russ Thornton says he has made contact with the alleged “buyer”:

“I called and spoke to Mr. Da Silva or someone claiming to be him, regarding the letters. I have notified the Edmond City Police of Mr. Da Silva and the activity we are engaging in here in our county.

Sheriff Thornton adds a warning to landowners across the state:

“Firstly, Mr. Da Silva doesn’t have the funds to buy your land at the low offer he made or any other offer, to be honest. He admitted it to me on the phone. Secondly, the “Purchase Agreement Form” does not appear to be a legitimate document and would not be legally binding. Thirdly, the address he has on the letter and purchase contract is just a PO Box in Edmond OK; it is not a real business address.

“Whether the document is legal or not, Mr. Da Silva is asking for personal information that you should never freely give to people. The world we live in today is not as honest as it once was. This is not how normal business is conducted; why would anyone want to buy something invisible? We will do everything we can in our office to protect our citizens who are not familiar with these scams. We ask family and friends who can help educate and protect others from this type of activity to do so.”

TerriLois Mashburn, Leavenworth County records clerk, says her office joined the investigation after being contacted by homeowners in her county. He has a simple message for landlords who receive a similar proposition to avoid identity theft:

“THROW IT AWAY. Never answer ‘yes’ to any telephone question unless you initiated the call. Say ‘remove me from callback list’ and hang up”.

He says his office offers “Property Fraud Alert,” a free and confidential service that will alert landowners of suspicious activity pertaining to their property records.

Mashburn says in addition to his county, others affected so far include Anderson, Bourbon, Doniphan, Decatur, Gove, Linn, Mitchell, Ottawa, Pawnee, Rice and Shawnee.

Mashburn adds that cybercriminals also pose as property sellers in a similar fraudulent scheme and offers this warning:

“Stay paranoid because they really are trying to steal your property!”

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