CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Freedom Park in Dilworth is surrounded by pricey homes, and someone wants a piece of those homes, filing liens for $500,000 each.
Homeowners don’t know who is filing the liens.
One homeowner told anchor Scott Wickersham she only found out about the lien because she was trying to take out a loan on her home.
"The closing attorney called us and said, ‘Are you aware of a lien of your home?’" said a homeowner who didn’t want to be identified.
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The homeowner and her neighbors received a letter in the mail from the "Cherokee Nation of Moors,” who called Charlotte the "Imperial City," saying the "empire of the aboriginal moors has been resurrected" and homes on their land owe a "sovereign soil tax" of $500,000.
"I thought it was ridiculous, just such an incredible claim," the homeowner said.
Three other neighbors spoke to Channel 9 about liens filed on their homes.
The paperwork lists 401 Hawthorne Lane as the address and asks to send the payment to Cherokee Nation.
The address was a UPS Store where the group has a P.O. box.
Wickersham called the Moorish Science Temple of America, who called the people filing the liens “paper terrorists.”
"So now they seek to prey upon the people who are paying taxes, who is trying to be law-abiding citizens,” said Shayk Ra Saadi El, with Moorish Science Temple of America. "None of it has anything to do with the Moors Science of America, but they use the key term Moorish to justify what they are trying to steal."
Wickersham emailed the person who filed the liens.
A response came from Empress Ninti El Bey, a name familiar to Channel 9.
El Bey threatened to sue Wickersham, just as she threatened to sue Channel 9 a few years ago.
Channel 9 investigated El Bey in 2015 after she laid claim to a foreclosed home in Piper Glen and even moved in.
She was later convicted of trespassing and breaking and entering.
This latest lien filing also lays claim to almost every home surrounding Freedom Park.
"If you just can file paperwork, I would think the people at the city would be more observant of what gets filed," said resident Todd Nutty.
The Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds said anyone can file a lien on a home as long as they pay the fee and fill out the paperwork properly, and if it happens to you, you won’t be notified.
"They are completely bogus," attorney Zac Moretz said.
In this case, Moretz said homeowners can feel better knowing these liens have no teeth.
"Anyone who has that filed on their property should not be worried that there is any validity to it at all, certainly not," Moretz said.
The register of deeds said if you think there is a false lien on your home, you can hire an attorney and get a court order to have it removed or you can file what’s called an "information sheet" with your records, indicating the lien is false and explaining why.
Mecklenburg County has an online database where you can search your name and see if a lien has been filed on your property.
Cox Media Group