Cops in trouble over real estate business

PHOENIX, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Two Phoenix police lieutenants have been suspended with pay pending an investigation into the real estate business they ran on the side, officials say.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office levied a $450,000 civil penalty Wednesday on Mark Tallman and Lee Brent Shaw, The Arizona Republic reported. State officials said Tallman and Shaw operated a sale-leaseback business that preyed on homeowners facing foreclosure.


Between 2002 and 2006, the lieutenants' company, Better Choice LLC, would approach owners at risk of losing their homes and offer to buy the property at a price well under market value, the state said. The owners could continue to live in the house, paying rent, with an option to repurchase at a higher price.

"If the owner-turned-renter violated any of the conditions, such as by making a late rental payment or being evicted, the option to repurchase the home became void and the individual was subject to immediate eviction," the Attorney General's Office said.

Sgt. Trent Crump, a Police Department spokesman, said Phoenix detectives are reviewing the case. Tallman and Shaw have been put on paid leave.

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