Thursday, August 27, 2015

SC Man Wanted On Suspicion Of Breaking Into Vacant Foreclosed Homes, Then Pocketing Cash By Renting Out Premises To Unwitting Tenants Turns Himself In; Faces Burglary, False Pretenses Charges

In Goose Creek, South Carolina, WCSC-TV Channel 5 reports:
  • A man accused of renting homes in foreclosure in Goose Creek turned himself in [...] while insisting he did not commit a crime.

    Goose Creek Police say 39-year-old Earl Johnson Jr. allegedly has been renting out foreclosed homes in the city and has been collecting rent from tenants. He faces charges of third degree burglary and obtaining a signature or property under false pretenses, according to Goose Creek Police Capt. John Grainger.

    Johnson was escorted to the Berkeley County Detention Center by Elder James Johnson, who is not related to the suspect, and Charles Tyler of the National Action Network.

    "They obviously put me on the news like I was a murderer, that's why," Johnson said. "I didn't commit any crime, I reserve my right and that's what I do."

    Goose Creek police say they received multiple calls from potential victims of Johnson's alleged scheme of fraudulently renting homes over which he has no legal rights to unsuspecting tenants. Some victims have been referred to surrounding jurisdictions, Grainger said in a statement.

    Goose Creek Police say Johnson also goes by the name of Elder Noble.

    Investigators are asking anyone who has rented from Johnson to contact them.
Source: Fraud suspect turns himself in, claims innocence.

In a related story, see Real estate agents offer tips to avoid rental fraud:
  • A man accused of illegally renting Lowcountry homes he didn't own is facing new charges. Now real estate agents warn that it's a situation that happens far too often.

    For $800 a month, Nancy Bowman and her sister, Tina Capreole, believed they were renting to eventually own a beautiful home in Goose Creek. It’s a home police say Earl Johnson broke into and illegally rented out for cash.

    ***

    Bankruptcy Attorney Kevin Campbell is the rightful owner of the property. He’s trying to sell the home before it goes into foreclosure. "Not only did they rent the property to this lady who's gonna lose the property but they gave her an option to purchase," Campbell said.

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