Victoria Gregersen, “White Collar Criminal”, Squats in Home in Fair Oaks, CA

A woman whom court records later identified as Victoria Gregersen, and termed a “white collar criminal” has taken over a house owned by Sandra Forbes, that was for sale in Fair Oaks, California, and refuses to leave, as described in this article:

http://fox40.com/2016/05/05/fair-oaks-homeowners-desperate-to-get-alleged-squatter-out-of-their-house/

As the sheriff says, many squatters know just how to manipulate and exploit the loopholes in the law (glaring loopholes, I should say, that badly need to be closed up) in order to perpetrate their crimes:

Locks were changed and furniture moved in. Effectively making the homeowners trespassers on their own property.

Despite many requests for the alleged squatter to leave, she simply wasn’t budging. Even producing what the Forbes’ say is a fake lease and a SMUD Bill.

Sgt. Tony Turnbull with the Sacramento County Sheriffs Department said Thursday that many squatters are highly educated, and they have learned the loopholes that will keep them from being arrested.

How incredibly hard it must be, to be the homeowner in this situation, as
Ms Forbes describes:

The woman is described by neighbors as a white-collar criminal. She’s clean cut, an active member of the community, talkative, even friendly.

One neighbor who chose to remain anonymous said, “She’s very nice, I was going to welcome her to the neighborhood.”

But to Forbes and her husband, the woman is a real life nightmare.

“To add insult to injury, she gets to live in the house and have her yellow rose bush, and cut down my trees, and do whatever she wants, and there is nothing I can do,” said Forbes.

The case is now a civil matter and will need to be settled with attorneys.

Update: the squatter eventually filed a restraining order against the property owner. See here:

http://www.newser.com/story/225195/accused-squatter-files-restraining-order-against-homeowner.html

This article identifies the squatter:

http://fox40.com/2016/06/02/outrage-grows-as-battle-with-squatter-in-fair-oaks-continues/

Talk about the victim being further victimized!!

How is it possible that legislators have not addressed this massively serious problem, that someone can break into a home (a criminal act) and squat there, and the police can’t do a thing, saying it’s a “civil matter for attorneys”?

Forbes began a petition to try to obtain legal changes so that others don’t have to go through this kind of nightmare.

The end goal is capturing the attention of California lawmakers, with the hope that homeowners will someday have more rights in what many call an unfair battle.

Advertisements

Casey and Tricia Bates Squat into Home when Family Goes on Vacation

In some places in California, apparently you can’t even risk going on vacation, because while you’re gone someone might break in, squat, steal your things and destroy your property. And then when you come to kick them out, who knows, as with so many other cases of squatting, the police might come and tell you that the squatters have a “right” to be there!

A woman in Olivehurst, CA went on vacation for 3 weeks, and when she came back, she found people living in her house. Casey and Tricia Bates were there, and were arrested by police. They did $8000 in damage while squatting in the house, destroying sheetrock and furniture, spray-painting the walls.

https://www.tmj4.com/news/national/squatters-take-over-home-during-familys-vacation

Here’s another scary story of a Tulsa, Oklahoma woman who went on vacation to Mexico, and when she returned home she found 10 squatters had moved into her home, and refused to leave:

Crystal Taylor says it happened to her at her home in Broken Arrow, located outside Tulsa.

Taylor came home from a vacation in Cabo to find 6 to 10 people were living in her home along with five cats and a dog. She also says the home was severely damaged.

“It was a shock,” she told Inside Edition: “I didn’t understand how people could do that. I was so furious. There was nothing I could do.”

http://www.cbs8.com/story/32865060/woman-returns-from-vacation-and-says-found-up-to-10-squatters-living-in-her-home

Tanisha Diaz and Kadijah Catley Squat and “Steal” Homes in Philadelphia: “If Y’All Want Us to Leave, you Have to Give Us Something.”

Two women in Philadelphia are accused of “stealing homes” — breaking into other’s homes by drilling out the locks, and squatting. They’ve been doing it all over town, apparently.

Their strategy is that they break in, squat, and then demand a payment from the homeowner in exchange for leaving.

The news team which covered this story, Action News Troubleshooters, tracked down a squatter who fesses up to her illegal involvement and explains just how easy it is for squatters to take over your home.

“If y’all want us to leave now, you have to give us something,” says a masked woman in their undercover video. The woman behind this mask is Taniesha Diaz, hiding her face after Action News busted her and others living illegally in a Northwood home.

And they can get away with this brazen criminal crap, because the laws are so idiotic, and so very stacked against property owners. Instead of receiving a firm kick to their heinies, the malicious squatters can depend on bad laws to protect them. Police, when they arrive, if they come at all, will slouch away saying that it’s a civil matter and they can’t do anything about it.

Regarding the most recently “stolen” home:

The four bedroom, two bath property has been owned by Matthew Waychoff for 10 years.

“The house was move-in ready,” said Waychoff.

That makes it the perfect place for squatters to move in. Waychoff says neighbors frantically called on him in the middle of the night saying burglars had broken in.

He says the squatters showed police a fake lease and officers refused to throw them out.

As is far too common with abuses and crimes perpetrated against property owners, the victimized homeowners have felt treated as if they are the ones who are the criminals.

Waychoff, and other homeowners like the McGees, said they’ve been victimized by squatters.
“We feel like we are the criminals,” said Don McGee.

But both said they’d been told there was little police could do. That was until law enforcement saw our report.

“That opened our eyes and gave us the probable cause with the DA’s office to go after her for the extortion and the other related offenses,” said Philadelphia Police Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum.

Police said after seeing our interview with Diaz, and the Facebook video we showed of her taking an expensive vacation to Miami, they had enough evidence to put Diaz behind bars.

“She just flat out didn’t care, and was bold, just bold,” said Rosenbaum. “I immediately contacted the District Attorney’s office, and was able to work with them and Detective Sullivan to get the arrest warrant together.”

Diaz and Catley are now to be charged with extortion, burglary and criminal trespass.

See more in the articles:

http://6abc.com/2nd-alleged-squatter-surrenders;-says-i-feel-bad/2774292/

And

http://6abc.com/squatters-taking-over-countless-philadelphia-homes/2335744/

Police say that they are seeking to change laws

Lt. Rosenbaum said police are now working on changing their policies so they can remove anyone illegally occupying a home.
They said they hope this case will serve as a warning to other would-be squatters.

Greg Harris Breaks into Home, Squats, Tells Girlfriend he bought it

Gregory Harris heard that his girlfriend liked the house, he decided to give it to her.  Not by buying it, but by breaking into it, changing the locks, moving in and then saying he owned it.  The ruse didn’t work though, and he ended up arrested…but considering how far squatters can get with their malicious acts, and how they often get off scot-free, it’s not entirely surprising he tried to simply steal the house.

Read more here:

https://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2016/05/05/posing-millionaire-man-steals-indy-house-girlfriend-police-say/83977742/

Harris again admitted to changing the locks and moving in, court documents said. When asked about being told to leave the premises by CastleRock, Harris told police, “This means nothing to me.”

Harris’ girlfriend told investigators that they had been dating since January. She said Harris told her he was a millionaire who bought her the BMW that was parked outside.

A check of the vehicle revealed that it had been stolen from Carmel, court documents said. ….Harris was read his rights and taken into custody at the scene. He remains in the Marion County Jail without bond.

CastleRock REO representatives told IndyStar that although they have had to deal with squatters in the past, they have never encountered anything like the situation with Harris, who they said seemed to feel justified in his actions. They would not comment on the investigation further.

Attempts to reach Harris’ attorney for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.

Laws on Squatting and Adverse Possession

In many regions, there are laws on adverse possession which allow squatters to obtain ownership rights to a property, if they squat there long enough.  It’s very important for property owners to understand this so as to avoid losing their property to squatters.

For instance, in Kenya, squatters can own a property if they squat on it for 12 years, as detailed here:

https://www.sde.co.ke/thenairobian/article/2001271130/why-kenyans-must-be-afraid-this-is-how-squatters-can-legally-acquire-your-land

This case of a Condo Owner in California who may end up losing his property to squatters, shows the need to oversee one’s property regularly.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-associations-squatters-20170715-story.html

This article indicates that some people are strategically seeking ways to exploit the law and squat to avoid paying rent:

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bnjb78/how-to-claim-squatters-rights-to-stop-paying-your-rent

The article explains the adverse possession law in California:

in California, if you pay the property taxes on an abandoned property for five years, the property becomes yours free and clear.

This article discusses the problem of squatting in Florida and California and how costly it can be to remove a squatter:

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=8737

Washington has passed a law which makes it easier to remove squatters in that state:

http://www.kiro7.com/news/local/new-washington-law-gives-police-more-authority-to-kick-out-squatters/521830853

Though many landlords may be tempted to use force to extract the squatters, it can be dangerous to physically threaten them, as one landlord discovered when he was charged with burglary after bringing a baseball bat and confronting people squatting in HIS HOME.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/pennsylvania/articles/2017-06-22/attorney-landlord-charged-with-burglary-in-squatter-dispute

Another article on that story:

http://6abc.com/news/property-owner-arrested-in-squabble-with-squatters/2129528/

Considerations on the problem in Nevada:

https://lasvegassun.com/news/2017/jun/26/county-pursues-new-strategies-for-squatter-problem/

Squatting is more of a problem in some areas than others. It’s a large problem in a corridor in the Central Valley of California, ironically the area where California’s “Bullet Train” would be built:

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-land-problems-20180204-htmlstory.html

For instance in Barstow:

http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/20170514/squatters-growing-problem-in-barstow

And in Sacramento

http://www.kcra.com/article/sacramento-realtors-say-squatting-is-on-the-rise/10309574

http://fox40.com/2017/07/06/city-code-enforcement-cracking-down-on-hundreds-of-abandoned-homes/

And in Fresno

http://abc30.com/home/squatters-becoming-a-growing-problem-that-one-fresno-woman-experienced-first-hand/1185761/

Homeless squatters can easily take advantage of vulnerable elders with cognitive impairments, as apparently occurred in this situation:

http://abc7.com/granada-hills-residents-at-odds-with-homeless-people-living-next-door/2441699/

Yahya Muhammed, Squatter and Thief, gets 11 to 23 Months in Jail

Yahya Muhammed, described by the District Attorney as a “career criminal” , broke into the East Norriton, PA home of an elderly woman who had been moved several months before into an assisted living facility. He and his sister, a fellow squatter, not only criminally entered and trespassed into the building, but they stole many of the items belonging to the elderly woman.

In constrast to many squatting cases where the squatter gets away with stealing accomodations for weeks or months, in this case Mr. Muhammed was arrested and convicted and given a jail term of 11 to 23 months. Glad to see some justice at last.

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20180312/squatters-who-paid-property-tax-at-east-norriton-home-sent-to-jail

Jackie Cole and Hilary Dauten Squat in Home After Homeowner Dies, Commit many Crimes: Police Say they Can’t Help

Jackie “Jack” Cole broke into the home of a woman who had recently died, and continued with his lifelong occupation: crime, crime and more crime. The police came to the house 19 times within a 3 month span, over a great number of crimes, but the one thing they would not do is just remove this illegal squatter from the home where he was squatting. They did remove squatter Hilary Dauten, but only because they arrested her on criminal charges.

This situation is one of the more tragic and disgusting stories about the problem with squatting in the US.

The family is beside themselves, upset that police refuse to do anything, saying that it is a “civil matter.” Police even refused to take action on a stolen vehicle report, when the squatter stole the dead woman’s car.

See the stories here:

http://www.koaa.com/story/37433724/mother-fights-to-save-daughters-belongings-after-squatters-invade-home-and-take-car

http://www.koaa.com/story/37580653/news-5-locates-dead-womans-car-stolen-by-squatters-police-ignore-us

Ogdenburg Landlord unable to Remove Squatters in Spite of Damage

A woman with property she manages in Ogdensburg, New York found out the hard way that when it comes to squatters, a landlord’s rights are quite limited.

“They of course left behind over 40 bags of trash, five 5-gallon buckets of human feces and urine, an unplugged fridge full of uncleaned fish and just pure filth,” said Lisa Gallagher. “My reason for speaking tonight is to let landlords know that when it comes to your property, you are very limited on your rights to secure that property. If you do not know how the system works and you are a landlord, please learn from my experience.”

Ms. Gallagher read a letter to the council, spelling out details of her plight involving an apartment — and two tenants she did not know — who had secretly moved into her place at 708 Washington St…..The day after the tenant’s 30 days was up, we went to secure the apartment and we were greeted by a male and female that were not tenants on the lease, and were told ‘we have no place to go and there is nothing you can do about it,’ and then slammed the door in our face,” Ms. Gallagher said.

She said she then contacted United Helpers because the original tenant was one of the agency’s clients, but was told nothing could be done to help since the original tenant had moved out as required.

As is too often the case, the City Leaders simply listen and aren’t interested in doing anything to try to afford property owners better protection in circumstances like these. While it may be true that city laws themselves can’t address this issue because the legal issues are state issues, it is still true that cities could lobby states to better protect property owners.

http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news05/woman-says-squatters-left-buckets-of-feces-urine-in-ogdensburg-apartment-20180317

Actor Randy Quaid, Squatter in California

Would you have thought that even a Hollywood actor might be a squatter? Think again!

Actor Randy Quaid, who starred in the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain, was arrested with his wife Evi Quaid,

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/randy-quaid-wife-evi-arrested-fleeing-canada-outstanding-warrants-article-1.188848

Quaid and his wife have been arrested in Vancouver having fled to Canada after missing a court hearing in California in a illegal squatting case.

CTV also reported the couple was scheduled to appear on Friday at a detention review hearing by Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board in Vancouver. The couple had also requested the hearing be held in private.

Board officials said they were prohibited from saying if the hearing involved the Quaids, but a government source who asked not to be identified confirmed they were expected to appear.

A California judge issued an arrest warrant for the Quaids this week after they failed to appear at a mandatory court hearing on charges they had been illegally squatting in a home that they had owned years ago.

Randy Quaid, who starred in the 2005 film “Brokeback Mountain” and who is the brother of actor Dennis Quaid, was arrested in September on suspicion of burglary and entering a building without consent. Evi Quaid was booked on those charges as well, as well as resisting arrest.

Earlier this year they were arrested on charges of failing to pay their bill at a California hotel. Evi Quaid was forced to pay $10,500 in restitution in that case and she pleaded no contest to defrauding an innkeeper.

Randy Quaid squatter

Feliciamae Farrington, Squatter in Florida

Feliciamae Farrington came to the door naked when police arrived to remove her from the Florida house where she was illegally squatting. I guess she thought this might pose an obstacle to her removal. It didn’t — the police still arrested and removed her.

http://www.mysuncoast.com/news/state/house-squatter-answers-door-naked-wrestles-with-deputies/article_4f44d558-3b29-11e7-95c7-93dcf024ecc3.html

Farrington is from Harvey, Louisiana. She’s been charged with trespassing, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. Jail records don’t list a lawyer.

Tales from the Landlord Side