DENVER (CBS4)– A woman accused of taking part in a plan to take over homes under foreclosure and then sell them to others has appeared in court.
Maria Elena Carrillo has been charged with racketeering, forgery and attempting to influence a public servant. She is one of three people accused in the scheme.
She is specifically accused of taking thousands of dollars for a home in Commerce City that she didn’t own.
It is part of a much larger alleged scheme involving at least more than a dozen homes along the Front Range and into the High County.
“They actually found abandoned or foreclosed homes that they could change the locks on and move people into and tell people, ‘Give me a month mortgage payment and you can have the house,'” said Denver District Attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough.
Her husband, Alfonso Carrillo, is believed to be at the center of theinvestigation. He remains behind bars awaiting trial because he is unable to make bond. He’s also accused of 18 counts of theft and forgery and felony racketeering.
“I’m innocent. You haven’t said that I am innocent. I haven’t been found guilty and you are saying lies,” said Carrillo during a recent interview with CBS4 On Your Side Investigator Rick Sallinger.
A third man charged in the scheme, Rudy Breda, is still at large after being indicted earlier this year.
“They often targeted Spanish-speaking folks who didn’t have documentation to be in the country or for other reasons may have been reluctant to report to law enforcement,” said Kimbrough.
The indictment charges the Carrillo’s business as being part of a criminal enterprise.
Two people found squatting in a home had been under indictment but those charges have been dismissed. The Denver District Attorney’s Office has decided they were victims, too.