A 31-year-old Cheltenham woman pleaded guilty May 21 in a case where she rented out a house she did not own.
Shannon Lee, faces one count of burglary and other charges stemming from pending cases involving renting out other people’s houses.
“Ms. Lee took advantage of the homeowners and the tenant she illegally rented the house to,” said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks. “Going through financial hardship is difficult enough without having someone take advantage of your situation for their own personal gain.”
Alsobrooks said she is pleased Lee has been taken into custody.
“(Lee) needs to be held accountable for her selfish actions,” Alsobrooks said.
Police were first notified of the scam in May 2013, when the owner of a Cheltenham home in the 8000 block of Rheims Court discovered a person she did not know was living in her house.
The owner had not been living in the residence for about three years but had come to check her mailbox. The homeowner found she was unable to open her mailbox and her front door keys did not work, according to charging documents.
The home was scheduled for foreclosure, but the owner had not transferred ownership to anyone.
Lee approached the owner and identified herself as Shannon Bondoc from “Here for you now LLC,” a realty company. Lee, posing as Bondoc, said she purchased the residence at a tax sale in Upper Marlboro and owned the deed to the house, according to the documents.
The tenant had a 12-month rental contract from Lee for $1,650 per month. Lee advised the tenant to send future rent payments to Ideal Management Solutions LLC.
After the homeowner contacted police, an investigator obtained documents of land records and tax information and conducted interviews with the original owners and current tenant. The investigator concluded Lee was not the rightful owner of the home, valued at $225,000.
While Lee said she could produce a copy of the deed in her name, the investigator obtained a certified copy of the property deed for the home and found it was not listed in Lee’s name. The investigator also found the home was never subject to a tax sale.
The investigator found the address of the company was a P.O. box in Clinton. According to charging statements, Lee rented the P.O. bo x in the company name Ideal Management Solutions to conduct business as a realty company.
In June 2013, police obtained search and seizure warrants for Lee’s residence, her car and the P.O. box address in Clinton.
At the same time, Lee was listed online as an agent for Delta Exclusive Realty. The company had a physical address in Largo, but its mailing address was in Clinton. The investigation led to the discovery of three other Cheltenham homes in which Lee allegedly ran a similar theft scheme with these properties.
Lee is charged with forging documents in March 2013 to become the owner of a Cheltenham residence on the 8000 block of Grandhaven Avenue. The townhouse, valued at $200,000, had not been occupied for more than two years and foreclosure proceedings were in progress.
Lee allegedly changed the locks of the house and mailbox and rented out the home for $1,500 per month to new tenants, according to court charging statements. Lee told tenants she inherited the townhouse from her deceased uncle.
Lee is also charged with forging documents in May 2013 to become the owner of another Cheltenham home on the 10400 block of Westwood Place.
The residence had not been occupied for three years and was pending foreclosure. After gaining ownership, prosecutors believe Lee lived in the house, according to court charging statements.
In both cases, the previous owners did not know anyone was living in the houses and did not transfer ownership to anyone.
At the fourth Cheltenham home on the 9800 block of Sea Gull Court, Lee is charged with forging a “quit claim deed,” which can be used to transfer property to a family member or former spouse, to gain ownership of the residence.
Lee allegedly recorded the deed under the alias Shannon Blake, a name she used in a previous marriage. The deed stated Lee was the daughter of previous owners and said the title company was “Title America Land Services, Inc.,” according to charging documents.
An investigation revealed the original owners never had children. Lee’s brother’s address in Washington, D.C., was on the deed, and Title America Land Services did not have anything to do with the deed.
In May 2013, Lee sent a check request and invoice for $41,263.03 for services rendered from her company Ideal Management Solutions. Later in May, ARSC Federal sent a check in the amount charged by Lee to the address listed on the invoice. The following day, video surveillance showed Lee depositing the check from into her NASA Federal Credit Union account.
On the same day, prosecutors believe Lee sent another check request and invoice for $41,263.03 for services from her company. An ARSC Federal company investigation found the signatures authorizing the payments were forged and no one had information on Ideal Management Solutions doing any work for the company.
Lee’s sentencing for her guilty plea is scheduled for July 11. As part of the plea agreement in both cases, prosecutors will ask for six months jail time and probation, according to a press release.
Lee’s attorney, Louis Martucci, did not respond to requests for comment.