Banks, police battle foreclosure ‘squatters’ in Grand County, elsewhere
December 15, 2011
A man arrested in Denver for rental and real-estate fraud has been under investigation here in Grand County.
Alfonso Carrillo, 50, who in October was charged with filing phony deeds on houses vacated through foreclosure and posing as the owner, is suspected of having at least three similar dealings in the Winter Park area.
The charges in Denver allege Carrillo took thousands of dollars in payments from unsuspecting potential home buyers, then gave them fraudulent deeds to properties. The allegations are he targeted Spanish-speaking home buyers, “who may be reluctant to work with law enforcement out of fear,” according to statements from the Denver District Attorney’s Office dated Dec. 5.
Carrillo has been released from custody on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to reappear in court on Jan. 6.
Another man, Rudy Breda, 53, is also wanted in connection with the alleged scam, according to the Denver District Attonrey’s office. He is accused of recording phony deeds with the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
Grand County cases
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In Grand County, both the Fraser-Winter Park Police Department and the Grand County Sheriff’s Office have been involved in three separate investigations concerning individuals illegally living in homes, all in connection with Carrillo’s dealings.
This summer, the Sheriff’s Office was called out to a home in Meadow Ridge in the Fraser Valley by neighbors who noticed people occupying a bank-owned home believed to be in foreclosure. The woman living in the bank-owned home presented the Sheriff with a paper-labeled deed, but through further investigation, it was determined the deed – with the name “Rudy Breda” on it – was “false and forged,” according to Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson.
“The Sheriff’s Office tried to establish this transaction was not true and these people were trespassing and stealing the house,” Johnson said. “The bank said they would have to look into it and have their legal department get back to us, and they have never gotten back to us.”
In another case, Winter Park Police arrested two individuals in late November who since late July had been sporadically living in a home pending foreclosure in the Rendezvous subdivision. German Jasso, 42, and his wife Laura Guitierrez, 41, of Fraser, moved belongings into the home and conducted renovation work. According to assessor and trustee documents at the time, the home still belonged to someone else. The home, the finished construction of which had not been completed, was in pending foreclosure with Bank of America, according to the initial police report in court documents.
In the course of a few months, Jasso conducted work on the home to try and obtain a certificate of occupancy, including installing a propane tank and changing locks on doors. He told police that he believed he had legal access to the home through a legal instrument called “adverse possession,” and said his real estate “consultant” was Carrillo.
But even after police repeatedly warned him to vacate the property, Jasso and family remained in the home. After police went to the home and changed locks to keep the family out, Jasso filed a civil protection order claiming that he had been wrongfully evicted by police.
According to Fraser-Winter Park Police Chief Glen Trainor, “State law is very specific about the time period” of adverse possession, or ownership of property through long-term use of it, which is defined as 18 years.
Jasso and Guitierrez were charged with theft, a class three felony, first degree criminal trespassing, a class five felony, and offering a false instrument for recording, a class five felony.
Jasso was arrested on Nov. 21 and released on a $10,000 bond. His wife was arrested later and released on Dec. 6 on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond.
“Most people legitimately don’t know it’s a scam,” said real estate broker Gary Glenn, who himself is dealing with a similar case in Lakota near Winter Park.
Glenn was hired by a national bank to market the bank’s-owned home in that subdivision, but cannot start because people have been living in it without any legitimate legal interest since last spring – again, orchestrated through Carrillo, according to police.
But banks are more tentative than owners who still have possession of homes to act on such situations for concerns of foreclosure liability.
The individual who moved into the Lakota home, described as a restaurateur in the Fraser Valley, gained access by way of a bogus $5,000 deed to a home, according to Glenn, where the next-door property is for sale for $400,000.
Through what’s alleged to be Carrillo’s coaching, the tenant gained access during the bank foreclosure process, which according to new federal laws kicks in a 90-day time period preventing a bank from evicting individuals. An eviction process took more time, and when the eviction notice finally was served to the alleged squatter, a proof of bankruptcy document was presented to the sheriff’s deputy, which Carrillo filed on behalf of the tenant, according to Glenn. This caused the bank to slow down its eviction while it now complies with all federal bankruptcy laws.
“We have to be totally legal while they’re being totally illegal,” Glenn said. “People gaming the system are intentionally taking advantage of laws intended to help homeowners.”
Meanwhile, the bank is paying HOA fees, taxes and legal fees as it strategizes how to get the people out of the home. By the time it’s over, the illegal tenant may have lived in the home for about 9 months, Glenn said.
In the end, it’s likely the bank consumers who end up paying for such crimes.
“You’d think it would be as simple as ‘I’m the owner, and you’re trespassing,’ but it’s not,” Glenn said.
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603