Thursday, August 9, 2012

Accused Vacant Home Hijacker Pinched For Allegedly Renting Homes She Didn't Own; Servicemember/Homeowner Away In Iraq On Active Duty Among Victims

In Yakima, Washington, KIMA-TV Channel 29 reports:

  • KIMA learned a suspected bogus landlord is now behind bars. Yakima police told us they've been on her tail for months. Detectives said she ripped people off by renting homes she didn't own. Action News discovered why it took the city so long to catch her and how you can keep it from happening to you.

    It's normally a given. When you meet with a landlord you assume the person actually owns the property. But that hasn't always been the case. Jade Chester's neighbor on Lincoln Avenue is a service member who was fighting in Iraq. Chester became concerned when a woman rented out the solider's property.

    "She rented out this back house," said Chester. Problem is police said Lashawne Rojas never had permission to rent out the Lincoln Avenue home. That home isn't the only place where she's done this city codes has a list of other homes and apartments here in Yakima.

    "She broke into five buildings that were vacant, changed the locks, came here opened up accounts and rented them out to people and collected rent," said code enforcement manager, Joe Caruso.

    City codes and police have been trying to find Rojas since March. They tell Action News Rojas went so far as to put water bills and at least one house deed in her name, using false documents.

    "I called YPD numerous times about her, but the problem was, we couldn't get a hold of the home owner," said Chester. The difficulty of tracking down that service member overseas allowed this issue to persist.

    It wasn't until Chester’s neighbor returned that Rojas was finally locked up forgery charges. It's likely this bogus landlord wasn't the only one taking money from tenants around town.

    "This is what's happening to our home owners here in Yakima,” said Chester. “It could happen to anybody it's an epidemic problem."
For the story, see Bogus landlord behind bars.

No comments: