Jacksonville Pair Face RICO, Organized Fraud/Schemes Charges In Alleged Adverse Possession Real Estate Hijacking & Rental Scam Peddled Online; Cops To Prospective Tenants: Stay Away From Websites Like Craigslist When Looking For Houses!
In Jacksonville, Florida, WJXT-TV Channel 4 reports:
- Two people were arrested  for gaining adverse possession of seven properties and renting them out to families, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced at a news conference [...].
One of those families who was victimized may have been military and new to Jacksonville, police said.
Rosemary McCoy, 55, and Elton McCall, 38, are charged with racketeering, organized fraud, engaging in schemes, conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and trespassing.
The duo told tenants they had a property management company named Going Global, which was just a cover, police said. They said the two have been collecting monthly rent of $700 to $1,000 since October after advertising the houses on Craigslist.
Most of the properties were bank-owned and had been or were in the process of foreclosure, police said.
- Channel 4 spoke with one of the victims of this scheme, a renter who asked Channel 4 to keep his identity a secret. "they did everything legitimate," said the renter. "Had a lockbox on the door, gave us a tour through the house."
This renter couldn't believe it when he heard from Channel 4 that his landlords, who he pays each month, don't own the house he's been paying rent for since September 2012. The renter also didn't know that the McCoy and McCall were arrested. [...] "Everything seemed legit?" asked Channel 4's Scott Johnson. "Everything," answered the renter, who police tell us is just one of many who were scammed by McCoy and McCall.
Police said investigators have been keeping a close eye on adverse possession applications at the city clerk's office, which is where they became suspicious. Investigators said McCoy and McCall also collected utility payments, water, cable, etc., and they operated the utilities in their names.
- McCoy and McCall recently applied for adverse possession of an additional six houses, police said. Investigators are urging potential renters to stay off of websites like Craigslist when looking for houses.