A 58-year-old US woman is on the run after tricking homeowners into letting her squat in various luxury homes over the past five years.
Jessica Carde faces a series of theft charges stemming from her mansion-hopping scheme in Washington state, in which she convinced at least three wealthy homeowners she would eventually buy their grand properties.
Police in Seattle said Carde created the illusion that she was a millionaire in search of a new home, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.
She allegedly posed with made-up business cards and fake mortgage approval letters from a bank.
Carde would suggest lease-purchase agreements where she would pay small sums to the homeowner over time until she eventually purchased the home outright.
But after a few payments she would claim her identity had been stolen, cutting off her supposed lines of credit.
Whenever the hoodwinked homeowners grew suspicious and moved to evict her, Carde would turn to authorities and make false police reports against them, which would buy her more time.
In one case she claimed a homeowner threatened to burn the house down around her.
The crime spree began in 2006, after she and her husband lost their $650,000 home in a foreclosure, police say.
In some cases she also targeted individual men to lend her sums of money which she had no intention of paying back, police claim.
She convinced one elderly benefactor to hand over $142,000 and even tried to obtain a power of attorney letter to have control of the man's finances, until his family stepped in.
Police have now formally charged Carde with four counts of first degree theft, three charges of mortgage fraud, two of securities fraud, two of second-degree theft and one of attempted first-degree theft.
Author: Erin Tennant, Approving editor: Mark Worley