COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Alleged squatters in Colorado Springs were also running two businesses and a website dedicated to helping others become squatters, police say.
The suspects are identified as business partners, Bryan Jensen, 31, and Ethan Eaton, 34. Police say the pair runs American Home Ventures, LLC and Austin Home Ventures, LLC and www.hopeforyourhome.com.
"With your property and our vision, ideally we should partner up on the property, split the proceeds amongst ourselves, all while attempting to prevent it from going into foreclosure," the website says.
The website also promises, "Whatever your situation, we can provide you with a free, no obligation consultation and create a plan of attack tailored specifically to your situation and your property."
Jensen and Eaton were living in a home near Homestead Park, west of North Powers Boulevard, and had filed affidavits with the El Paso County Clerk saying they were there under "adverse possession."
"Adverse possession" is the process by which a property can change ownership without payment and is legislated in Colorado by Colorado Revised Statute 38-41-101. That law requires 18 years of adverse possession to accomplish ownership.
"They apparently have assisted several people in doing this in the Colorado Springs area," Colorado Springs police wrote in a news release.
In this case, the District Attorney determined the business partners had not accomplished adverse possession and instead should be charged with first-degree criminal trespass, a felony.
"It was useful in this investigation that the suspects set up utilities in their own names, which made it possible to establish a date range for the trespassing," police wrote.
Police found that one of the victims in this case lives in Massachusetts and another lives in Japan. Real estate agents helped officers to locate and communicate with them.