SPRING HILL — Two men have been accused of selling three Hernando homes sitting atop sinkholes without telling the new owners about the problem, authorities said Friday.
In total, investigators said, the men profited $274,000 from the sales.
To sell the homes, Jerrelle Williams, 40, and William Johns, 48, created fictitious trusts and did not tell prospective buyers that sinkholes were under the homes, a Hernando County Sheriff's Office press release noted.
The fraud was discovered when the homeowners of one home discovered a sinkhole and reported it to their homeowners' insurance, according to the release. The insurance company denied the claim because it had paid a previous claim on the same property to a previous owner.
Investigators said evidence proved the homeowner who filed the claim and sold Williams and Johns the home in 2005 informed them of the sinkhole before they purchased it.
All three homes were sold in 2005. The addresses of the homes, and the profit the suspects reportedly reaped, are: 2283 Euclid Ave., $90,000; 1400 Arbuckle Road, $59,000; and 7475 Blue Skies Drive, $125,000. All of the homes are in Spring Hill.
With the help of the FBI and anonymous tips, Johns was arrested in Texas and Williams was arrested in St. Augustine.
Williams' bond is set at $100,000, and Johns' bond will be set at $50,000 when he arrives in Hernando.
John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or firstname.lastname@example.org.