The district attorney’s office said Dianne “Harmony” Brown illegally took over dozens of homes in Chula Vista, rented them out and turned a huge profit.
10News learned Brown was charged with 61 felony counts, which included burglary and drug charges as well as charges of filing false instruments.
Last month, Brown told 10News the company she and her husband operated, Prudent Constituents Association (PCA), was legitimate and above board. However, investigators said Brown illegally rented out homes she did not own. Some realtors told 10News she was pocketing up to $60,000 a month as part of the alleged scam.
Some realtors said Brown used a loophole to fraudulently file quit claim deeds with the county that allowed PCA to gain the rights to various properties.
Brown insisted she was helping previous homeowners by using the rent money to fund lawsuits against banking institutions on their behalf. “When the case gets settled that’s when PCA will split the award with the owners. If we can’t find the former owners, then the money will go into a trust with the state,” she told 10News in an interview in early January.
Brown’s husband, Dexter, was not arrested for his involvement with the company.
The Chula Vista Police Department and Chula Vista City Councilman Rudy Ramirez held a public meeting at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School and listened to concerned parents and realtors, who said squatters are terrorizing neighborhoods.
“They have showed me video of parties going on, urinating on their lawns, running across and peeking in the windows,” said realtor Terri Dillion. “These people… are invading areas of Chula Vista.”
Some at the meeting said police need to step up, while others blamed the banks. All said the system is flawed. “I’m going to file a lawsuit against [Bank of America] if they don’t get off their fat corporate ass and go and stand up as property owners and get those people out,” said homeowner Bill Gersten.
Steve Lemack lives by the Browns. He said at the meeting that they are still operating and believes he and his family members are not safe.
“The rest of the group is still in the house,” he said. “I’ve been threatened. My family’s been threatened… verbally and in writing. They’ve come to my house and threatened my grandkids and they’re still out there… the rest of the group is still there. They told my grandkids, ‘Get out of the house for a couple of days.”
10News has a video here: http://www.10news.com/news/30393744/detail.html