Sheriff’s deputies in Clay County, Florida arrested a couple for allegedly using forged documents to pose as the owners of a $1 million estate, First Coast News reported.
Authorities said 24-year-old Justin Dean and 23-year-old Jenna Dean were living on the 200-acre property until they were tipped off by a local attorney who found a deed listing Justin Dean as the owner. At the time, the attorney was compiling a title search on behalf of an Ohio couple planning to buy the property legally.
“They were upset because they were coming for a closing and then they had to come meet with us,” deputy Steven Dugger said at a press conference.
The Deans were charged with forgery, grand theft, and unlawful filing of a deed and later released on bail. Gawker reported that, according to a Facebook page for their horse grooming business, they claimed to have closed the business after accepting a job offer in another state.
The suspects allegedly “acquired” the 7,400-square foot home in June, after filing a false quitclaim deed listing them as the owners after bidding $1,000 for it. Quitclaim deeds are often used for properties sold in public auctions, or in property transfers between family members. The home had been in foreclosure since 2011. Dugger said the document was “made up of pieces of other deeds.”
WJXT-TV reported that the document was also dated Sept. 1, when both the local courthouse and banks were closed.
“I don’t know how they come up with this stuff,” Dugger said. “I’m surprised at the stuff that we have to investigate every day. It amazes me that someone who makes horseshoes for a living is purchasing a $1 million home. It’s incredible.”
Investigators began looking into the Deans’ activities in September. By that point, the couple was boasting about their living situation online.
“This is the house we just bought,” Jenna Dean allegedly posted on Facebook. “We have a lot of work to do, it’ll take some time but Rome wasn’t built overnight.”
The Ohio couple reportedly purchased the six-bedroom home, which includes a swimming pool and double two-car garages, for $1.4 million.
Watch First Coast News’ report, as aired on Wednesday, below.