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Georgia woman stole luxury homes in broad daylight, officials say

October 5, 2011 |  6:52 am

Foreclosure sign 
A lemons-to-lemonade business plan for the Age of Malaise: You find a swank home, foreclosed and empty. You fix up the place -- hang some curtains, cut the grass.

You set up a property management company, sign up tenants to a lease, employ a law firm to deal with any niggling questions.

That, officials say, was the enterprising -- though totally illegal -- business plan of a woman named Susan Loraine Weidman of Cobb County, Ga., who authorities believe set up the scheme to essentially pilfer three million-dollar homes in suburban Atlanta in broad daylight, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The property management company, leases and law firm were all fake, DeKalb County Dist. Atty. Robert James told the paper.

Weidman was arrested Tuesday after being indicted on racketeering charges by a DeKalb County grand jury. She reportedly claimed ownership of the homes in court documents, in one case claiming the "apparent abandonment" of one home after finding it empty in December.

In an earlier interview with a TV station investigating her case, Weidman struck a Robin Hoodish tone, alleging that the banks had issued predatory loans to the previous owners.

"What right does [a] bank have to be collecting on houses where the mortgage was predatorily loaned to begin with?" she asked in the WSB-TV interview.

Two of Weidman's "tenants" were also included on the indictment.


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-- Richard Fausset in Atlanta

Photo: Some people see a foreclosure sign; other people see an opportunity. A Georgia woman was among the latter, authorities allege. They say she simply took over three empty homes, pulling in tenants and letting a law firm deal with the legal questions. This photo was taken in Stockton, Calif. Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press