Squatters moving into upscale mansions

Sept. 23, 2010 at 7:20 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- With high-end foreclosures rampant, squatters have moved from low- and middle-income neighborhoods to occupy million-dollar mansions, authorities say.

Actor Randy Quaid and his wife Evi, who were arrested Saturday after they were found occupying a guest house on a million-dollar property, may be a poster couple for what appears to be a growing trend of people moving into abandoned, sold or foreclosed-upon mansions under the control of banks, MSNBC reported Thursday.

In this era of the collapsed housing bubble some squatters are taking advantage of those mansions shown nothing more than benign neglect.

In Malibu, Calif., Wells Fargo executive Cheronda Guyton crossed the line when she used to throw parties in a $14.9 million beach house.

Adding insult to injury, the property's former owners had lost the home to foreclosure after they were victimized by now-jailed Bernie Madoff. The estate was claimed by Wells Fargo, MSNBC said.

When residents within the gated community witnessed the soirees, they got Guyton's name from security guards and turned her in. Wells Fargo fired Guyton in September 2009.

"People are seeing all the negative news (about the housing market) and just deciding to be more gutsy and stay in riskier places," Kruse said. "With all the vacant homes, (they figure) their chances aren't that bad," Realtor Adam Kruse said.

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