From the Times of Trenton:
Brazenness is the hallmark of con artists and nowhere is that more evident than with shameless real estate scammers who rip off unsuspecting renters and property owners.
A case in point was the recent arrest of a dozen people by Mercer County authorities on charges of running a complex rental scam.
Authorities say the accused would move into homes that were vacant or being foreclosed, change the locks, turn on utilities and live rent-free. Sometimes they would create leases and rent the properties to others, causing a lot of confusion for real estate agents and police who are called in to sort out the situation.
Often, the scam goes unnoticed until a bank inspector or property manager stops by to check on the home or to show it. That’s when they discover someone living in the house that should be empty.
“These are brazen criminals who educated themselves on squatters’ rights and took advantage of the civil court process,” Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri said when he announced the arrests and charges on April 6.