CLEARWATER — Two Clearwater women are accused of forging documents to fraudulently sell or rent homes in foreclosure, then pocketing the proceeds, authorities said.
Clearwater police arrested Silvia N. Lopez-Mateos, 37, of 618 Snug Island, and Adriana Abreu, 43, of 943 Narcissus Ave., on Monday.
Lopez-Mateos, whose alias is Lina Maria Alverez, was charged with grand theft, fraudulent use of personal identification and violation of probation on a grand theft conviction out of Palm Beach County. Abreu, who also goes by the name Andriana Cortes, was charged with scheme to defraud, grand theft and several counts of sale of security by unregistered dealer.
Clearwater police said employees at Integrity Title on Belcher Road contacted them and said they had been scammed out of $113,000 by a woman who forged a quitclaim deed to acquire a home, sold it and kept the proceeds.
Detectives learned that Lopez-Mateos was working with Abreu and that the two had fraudulently purchased at least eight homes, then sold or rented them for profit, police said. Detectives suspect there may be more victims, said Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts.
On Monday, when the two women went to another title company, Advantage Title on Belcher Road, to collect a $23,000 check for another property they obtained illegally, detectives closed in on them, police said.
Investigators seized the 2008 Chevrolet Suburban the women were in, the check and fake identifications.
On Tuesday, police searched Abreu's home and found additional evidence of the ongoing scam as well as stolen artwork worth thousands of dollars, police said.
Lopez-Mateos is on probation until 2020 in the Palm Beach case, an arrest report shows.
Pinellas County court records show Lopez-Mateos pleaded no contest to grand theft in Pinellas in September and was sentenced to 41/2 months in jail.
In 2008, Abreu was charged with grand theft after a man reported that she had taken $410,000 he gave to her to invest in the stock market. That case is ongoing.
In another case, Abreu pleaded guilty to a grand theft charge in October and is currently out of jail on bond awaiting her May sentencing.
On Wednesday afternoon, Lopez-Mateos was being held in the Pinellas County Jail without bail. Abreu was being held in lieu of $82,000 bail.