Thursday, April 26, 2012

Atlanta Cops Pinch 'Sovereign' Pair On Theft By Deception, Racketeering Charges; Duo Accused Of Hijacking F'closed Homes w/ Adverse Possession Claims

In Atlanta, Georgia, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:

  • A husband and wife associated with the so-called sovereign citizens movement were arrested Thursday for allegedly trying to sell stolen vacant Atlanta homes. Edgar Lee Rodgers and Diane Rowe are accused of filing false adverse possession documents – essentially claiming squatters’ rights – to homes that were vacant, likely due to foreclosure. Rodgers and Rowe are being held in the Fulton County jail awaiting bond hearings on racketeering and multiple theft-by-deception charges.
  • Police say the couple ascribe to the sovereign citizen philosophy that they are subject to the rule of common law – that is, legal precedent established by judges – and are immune to federal, state and local laws.
  • "The irony of it is that while they were out convincing people to buy homes using adverse possession, they both paid a regular mortgage," said Sgt. Paul Cooper, head of the Atlanta Police Department fraud unit.
  • Rodgers called himself Immanuel Hood and went around recruiting people to take over homes using adverse possession, police said. He was charging upwards of nearly $9,000 to walk people through his process for adverse possession, promising them they could own homes in as little as two weeks for sums as low as $2,000. "He was literally hosting tours of homes," Cooper said. At least 19 homes across Atlanta were targeted.
  • Georgia's adverse possession laws allow for a person living in a home for 20 years or more -- with the owner's knowledge and express permission -- to take possession of the home. Rodgers' method fell far short of the state's requirements, authorities said.
For more, see Police: Man gave tours of stolen homes.

No comments: