Nathalie Heil told authorities she owns the house in West Palm Beach, Fla., through “adverse possession,” reports The Palm Beach Post. The home had been empty for years due to foreclosure, and the caretaker had not been by for at least eight months.
Heil used Craigslist to rent the home to April Wehle and Talia Williams last June. In all, Heil took in more than $13,000 in rent on the property before the caretaker, Kelly Keefner, the daughter-in-law of the owner, drove by and noticed the house was occupied.
Heil, who was arrested for grand theft and fraud, claims she filed to take over the house through a Florida law called “adverse possession,” but authorities say they’re unable to locate any such paperwork. Adverse possession allows squatters to settle in abandoned properties and eventually take ownership. A Boca Raton, Fla., resident, Andre Barbosa, is claiming adverse possession of a $2.5 million mansion in the city.