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Fraudulent real estate agent rents out vacant property

A suburban Washington, D.C. woman posing as a real estate agent has pled guilty to Maryland authorities to renting out a home she neither owned nor managed.

The D.C. crime blog reports that Prince George’s County prosecutors are also investigating whether she pursued her scheme with three other properties. They charge that Shannon Lee would allegedly find empty homes and rent them out to tenants without the knowledge of the actual owners.

According to the state’s attorney office, the scheme unraveled in May 2013 when the owner of the property discovered that the locks had been changed and someone was living at the house.

Through information provided by the unauthorized tenant, the owner was able to find Lee, who told him that she was a real estate agent and had purchased the house at a tax sale.

A Maryland Real Estate Commission spokesperson told D.C. Crime Stories that Lee was not a licensed agent.

Local authorities said the house had not been sold at a tax sale. Instead, they allege she broke into the house, changed the locks and had been renting out the property for $1,650 a month.

The state’s attorney said of the case: “Going through financial hardship is difficult enough without having someone take advantage of your situation for their personal gain.”

The owners of the home had vacated the property in 2009 while it was pending foreclosure, the Washington Times reported.

Prosecutors said Lee falsified paperwork to transfer the deed to her name. She now faces six months in jail.



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