Sovereign citizen members jailed for selling vacant homes

7:28 PM, Apr 20, 2012   |    comments
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  • Shot of Crawley talking to victim An Van Tran
  • Shot of vacant house the suspects tried to sell illegally
  • Mug shots of husband and wife suspects, Edgar Lee Rodgers and Diane Rowe-Rodgers

ATLANTA (WXIA) -- Like they say, "if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't".

At least twenty, maybe more, potential metro Atlanta home buyers have found out the hard way.

Atlanta Police say those would be home owners have become victims of a husband and wife team of fraud artists.

Edgar Lee Rogers and Diane Rowe-Rodgers are members of what's become known as the Sovereign Citizen movement.

They're people who think the laws of the United States don't apply to them.

Many self-proclaimed sovereign citizens have been found taking over vacant or foreclosed homes as squatters.

Police say this couple took the scam one step farther.

They're accused of trying to sell at least twenty homes that weren't legally theirs.

Sgt. Paul Cooper of APD's Major Fraud Unit said Friday that Rodgers would break into vacant homes and change the locks.

Then he would drive potential home buyers around offering to help them buy the home for only a few thousand dollars.

Cooper said Rodgers would take his victims to the courthouse and have them claim the property with false Adverse Possession documents.

"I suppose people were desperate; they wanted to believe it and he's very convincing; I mean, he's your consummate con man," Sgt. Cooper added.

Cooper said some of the victims actually moved in and spent money on repairs only to find out it wasn't legally theirs.

Police raided the Rodgers' home on Nelms Drive in Southeast Atlanta Thursday, seizing records and computers.

Sgt. Cooper said they found a list of homes and victims, but they think the true number could be even larger.

Rodgers and his wife are now behind bars charged with Racketeering and several counts of Theft by Deception.

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