ABC Local 10 News recently reported that six suspects were taken into police custody yesterday in Broward County after they were accused of “stealing distressed homes, including the estates of 18 dead people.” Apparently, the suspects would sell, rent, or live in these homes using power of attorney and would gain access to the deceased homeowners’ bank accounts and Social Security checks so it appeared as though the victims had given them permission to manage the homes. They also used quit claim deeds to take ownership of the properties. A quit claim deed is a legal document that transfers the ownership of property from one person to another.
The six suspects who were detained have been identified as Catherine Lichtman, Mircho Murdjeff, Gillian Solomon as well as three family members, Illya Tinker, Patricia Tinker and Darren Tinker. Police also identified a seventh suspect by the name of Compton Maycock-Beckles, but he was arrested back in 2016 on grand theft and fraud charges. It seems the team operated under various company names including Global Homebuyers, Prestige Home Buyers, and Global Management Consulting Group.
How did law enforcement officials learn of this scam?
Detectives first became suspicious when they discovered back in 2016 that Maycock-Beckles was living in a home that had been foreclosed on that belonged to someone else. The original owner of the home told detectives that he never gave Maycock-Beckles permission to live in the home. The owner also happened to be employed by Global Management Consulting Group and he also said that he never gave his employer the right to sell the residence located in Weston, FL.
Another red flag that caught the attention of detectives was several notaries had their notary stamps as well as their signatures stolen which can be used to authorize deeds and other property transfers. After further investigation, police were able to recover enough evidence to arrest all six suspects that were currently living in the South Florida area. Joy Oglesby, who is a spokeswoman for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, stated that the suspects had taken ownership of 44 homes located in various cities throughout Broward County. The Palm Beach Post reported that some of the cities where these homes are located include Weston, Lauderhill, and Tamarac.
If these suspects want any chance of getting their charges reduced, they will need to hire an aggressive criminal defense attorney in Broward County, FL to represent them.
The suspects are currently facing more than 600 felony charges some of which include grand theft, identity theft, and organized scheme to defraud and unlawful filing of false documents. The Palm Beach Post also highlighted that Solomon and Illya, Patricia, and Darren Tinker remain in custody at the Broward County Jail on a $3 million bond each. Lichtman and Murdjeff are being held at the jail on a $900,000 bond each.
Based on the number of charges these individuals are facing, they will all want to consider retaining a Broward County, FL criminal defense lawyer as these charges carry some serious jail time.