Felon accused of using ‘fake’ deeds to take Volusia homes pleads no contest to fraud
Javon Walden facing 2 years in prison following News 6 investigation

Article Courtesy of  Channel 6 Click Orlando

By Mike DeForest

Published January 30, 2023



Following a News 6 investigation into a property fraud scheme involving bogus deeds, a convicted felon accused of illegally taking ownership of two Volusia County homes pleaded no contest to organized fraud Tuesday.

Javon Rendard Walden, 37, faces two years in prison followed by three years of supervised probation if a judge approves the terms of a plea agreement. He will also be responsible for paying restitution to the victims.

Walden is accused of using a fraudulent deed to give the appearance that he owned a home belonging to his neighbor, Charles Gadson, who died in November 2020.

The quit claim deed, which was notarized one week after Gadson’s death, indicated that Gadson appeared before the notary and signed the document.


Walden later sold the dead man’s home to a real estate investor for $70,000, county records show.

“The deed was 100% fake,” said Gadson’s sister, Carolyn Shank. “You just can’t take someone’s property like this and then sell it to someone else.”

Daytona Beach police investigated the real estate transaction, but prosecutors originally declined to file criminal charges against Walden, who previously served prison time for cocaine trafficking.

Shank contacted News 6 in 2021 after the state attorney closed Walden’s case.

News 6 soon discovered another Volusia County family was accusing Walden of taking ownership of their dead relative’s home using a fraudulent deed.

In that case, a quit claim deed filed with the Volusia County Clerk of Court appears to show Judith Hanger Swindle transferred ownership of her home to Walden in December 2020.

A signature purported to be Swindle’s appeared on the notarized deed even though a death certificate confirms Swindle died three years earlier.

After News 6 published a report about Walden’s questionable real estate transactions, the state attorney re-opened the case and charged Walden with organized scheme to defraud, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Less than two weeks before a jury was scheduled to hear Walden’s case, Walden pleaded no contest to the crime as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

“It’s an unfortunate circumstance,” Walden told News 6 in his first public comments about the matter since his arrest. “I apologize to anybody I might have caused harm to, whatever the case may be. But I’m not that type of person. I want you guys to know that.”

Shank, who sat in the courtroom as Walden entered his no-contest plea, is pleased that Walden will likely be sent to prison when the judge formally sentences him in March.

“Good riddance!” said Shank. “It’s going to be hell for him. And he deserves it because of what he did to me and my family.”

Shank has been tied up in litigation for more than a year with the real estate investor who purchased her late brother’s home from Walden and who is currently listed in county records as the property owner.

A civil trial is scheduled next month to determine whether Shank has a legal interest in the property and whether the investor will be compensated for property taxes and other expenses he’s paid since buying the home in 2021.

Many Central Florida counties offer free property fraud alerts that automatically notify citizens when an official record, like a deed or mortgage, is recorded under their name.