By Brian Maass & Dominic Garcia
BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) – A woman dubbed the “serial squatter” for continually renting properties, living in them but not paying, has been sentenced to six years in prison.
The Adams County District Attorney says Heather Schwab pleaded guilty to a charge of felony identity theft last month with Judge Byron Howell calling Schwab’s conduct “appalling.”
A CBS4 investigation in May revealed how Schwab and her husband would rent properties, move in without paying rent, then refuse to leave until they were evicted. In Texas, news reports said the Schwabs were evicted more than 20 times. They then moved to Colorado and left landlords in the lurch in Broomfield and Thornton.
“When the rent was due there was one excuse after another,” said one landlord who didn’t want to be identified. They tell CBS4 Schwab cost them around $11,000.
Days after CBS4 reported on the Schwabs, police arrested Heather Schwab.
She was initially charged with theft, forgery and identity theft in two cases in Adams County according to the District Attorney.
Schwab’s attorney asked for probation according to a news release from the D.A.’s office, but prosecutors argued for a prison sentence since Schwab has a lengthy history of committing similar offenses.
Judge Howell imposed the maximum sentence under the plea bargain.
“I am grateful they’re not able to take advantage of people and that they’ve finally been stopped. They did this for so long and took advantage of so many people,” said one of their victims who didn’t want to be identified.
Schwab’s husband, William, also pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft. He is scheduled to be sentenced in November.