Two Maryland women allegedly broke into vacant homes with plans to rent them out after posing as homeowner representatives, according to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.
Sherrie Hackett, 42, of Bowie and Julia Turner, 50, of District Heights have been charged with fraudulently renting homes.
Both women allegedly targeted people with bad credit or no credit. They reportedly contacted prospective renters either in person or online offering a deal on rental homes which would not require a credit check. However, renters had to pay in cash and give at least two months’ rent up front in addition to a security deposit. Renters would then contact the women on a monthly basis to pay rent in cash or money orders, according to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.
Since March, two families signed paperwork with the suspects, believing it was a legal lease agreement. The victims include families with children who had been living at various addresses, including motels, and were searching for a more permanent home.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office also reports that the vacant homes had been broken into to have the locks changed. Hackett and Turner allegedly gave the renters new keys to homes with working electricity and running water.
Detectives believe the women could also be responsible for additional home rental frauds. Hackett allegedly used several aliases and she is also known by her nickname, Pebbles.
Both women have been charged with forgery, fraud, theft and identity theft. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with additional information or those who believe they may have been victims of this fraud to call Detective C. Gilroy of the Criminal Investigations Division at (301) 609-6484.