Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trio Face Racketeering Charges In Alleged Vacant Foreclosed Home Hijacking Scam; Suspect: 'Nobody Told Me Snatching Empty Houses Was Illegal!'

In DeKalb County, Georgia, WSB-TV Channel 2 reports:

  • A DeKalb County grand jury has indicted three people on charges of racketeering, after a yearlong Channel 2 investigation exposed their alleged scheme to take over foreclosed homes. Decatur police arrested Susan Weidman, the woman at the center of the investigation, at a home on Champlain Street Tuesday morning.

  • A Channel 2 investigation in May revealed a bogus court document Weidman is accused of filing, claiming the home was abandoned and that she now owns it. It's actually a foreclosure owned by Chase Bank.


  • The indictment alleges Weidman recruited Ian Greye to pose as a renter at the home. Prosecutors said Greye and Weidman used a fake lease between them to keep law enforcement from forcing them out of the home for several months.

  • "When law enforcement would question why they were there, they would present the bogus lease and say, ‘Well, we have right to be here,’” DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said.

  • He said Weidman ran the same scheme in Forsyth County. Matthew Lowery was charged as the alleged “renter” of a home on Shade Tree Way in Cumming. Another Channel 2 investigation exposed that portion of the story just last week, including questions as to whether Chase Bank wanted to pursue criminal action against Weidman for that case.

  • Chase Bank ultimately decided to allow DeKalb County to prosecute both cases together, along with a third property on Spalding Hills Drive in Sandy Springs. The racketeering indictment cites burglary, theft by taking, and mail fraud, among other charges. "That enterprise was for the purpose of taking homes. It's complicated, but it's simple," added James.


  • Even as officers led her away in handcuffs, Weidman insisted she thought what was she was doing was legal. "I feel a little bit entrapped, that if this was illegal, why didn't they put something in writing and explain that to me?” she told Fleischer.

For more, see Subject of Ch. 2 house-stealing investigation indicted on racketeering charges.

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