Willard Horne Jr., 34, Norfolk, Virginia, was indicted on one count of Theft, with an elderly specification, and one count of Receiving Stolen Property. Horne is alleged to have stolen $85,000 from an 87-year-old woman by claiming that her home at 1446 E. 23rd Street, Cleveland, Ohio, was worth no more than $15,000; however Horne really had sold the home for $85,000. He faces a maximum sentence of 9 ½ years in prison.
Horne contacted the victim’s relative, who was authorized to sell the house by a power of attorney. The victim was living in a nursing home and wanted to sell her house.
Horne claimed that he wanted to rehab the house and sell it. The victim and her attorney signed a number of documents including a trust agreement for the benefit of the victim. Horne conned the attorney into believing that he could gain no more than $15,000 for this property because of its condition and location. However, Horne sold the property in July 2006 for $85,000, did not tell either the attorney or the victim about the sale, and did not give either of them the proceeds from the sale.
At closing, Horne represented that he had the authority to close this deal by deceiving the title company to accept the verbal authorization of someone on the telephone who represented herself to be the victim.
In addition, Horne presented a fictitious lease of the property to the buyer, who was purchasing it for investment purposes. The buyer borrowed $76,500 in believing that the lease payments would cover his mortgage payments, but there was no tenant who had signed a lease. The property is now in foreclosure.