Woman convicted of stealing Fort Myers house
A 40-year-old woman was convicted of multiple charges including second-degree grand theft on Thursday, according to the state attorney’s office.
Barbara Jean Harris called the Fort Myers Police in June of 2016 to a home she said she purchased, the state attorney’s office said. She claimed the locks were changed and there was furniture in the previously vacant home.
She showed officers documents that said she owned the property and the property appraiser’s website confirmed Harris as the owner, according to the state attorney’s office.
Harris asked the person with her to pick the lock and requested the officers check the property for squatters, the state’s attorney office said. Once inside, the home alarm went off and Harris claimed she forgot her alarm code.
Shortly after the alarm sounded, the actual owner of the home arrived and turned off the alarm, the state attorney’s office said. The homeowner had lived there since 1999 and never sold the property to Harris.
Harris filed a false deed for the house and used herself as a notary and a fake witness, according to the state attorney’s office. She used a previous name to make the notary signature look different from who the deed was for.
Harris faces up to 40 years in prison at her sentence hearing on March 5th.