Most of the time, you hear about a thief stealing from a house. This time, the thief allegedly stole entire houses. After an investigation by local detectives, a warrant issued on September 1 lead to the arrest of an alleged house thief in San Gabriel Valley. V.H. Ho was arrested at about 6:30 am at his home and is believed to have been carrying out a complex scheme to steal homes from the elderly and deceased and sell them to unsuspecting investors.

According to officials “The scheme was perpetrated by way of the suspect committing identity theft on either the deceased owners of the property or living elderly victims, forging the victims’ names on various fraudulent real estate documents, and having those documents recorded at the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office.” The suspect would then attempt to sell the properties to real estate investors who knew nothing about the alleged fraud. The scheme had apparently been going on for the past 3 months, if not longer. It’s currently unknown how many people were victimized by the suspect, nor how much money was made in real estate deals on stolen properties.

Authorities described the scheme as “elaborate,” and it just goes to show how much damage someone can do by committing identity theft. Investigators added that “Los Angeles County residents should also be aware that every time a real estate document gets recorded with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office a notice gets sent to the property owner advising them of such.”

Schemes like this are rare, and when they occur the victims are often left shocked. When a person dies – particularly when they don’t have a will – it’s often unclear to whom their property belongs, making them enticing targets for fraudsters and charlatans. As far as the suspect in this case is concerned, it’s likely he faces a lengthy prison sentence.