NEW CANAAN, Conn. — Three people accused of renting out a New Canaan house they did not own have been arrested and charged in a real estate scheme dating back to 2011, police said.
Officers first heard of a possible scheme late last fall when a woman went to police headquarters and said she was renting a home through local real estate agent Ruth Jones, which Jones did not have permission to sell or rent, Sgt. Carol Ogrinc said Tuesday.
The woman had been living in the Braeburn Drive home since August 2012, and Jones had advised her to say she was an interior designer, the sergeant said.
The complainant had paid Jones a $24,000 down payment and entered into a contract to rent the home for $6,000 a month, Ogrinc said. Ruth’s son, Adam, and Lynda Silvestro signed the lease as the property owners as principals of Property Management LLC, the sergeant said.
Silvestro said Ruth Jones forged her signature, but the police investigation found that Jones had the right to sign Silvestro's name for Property Management LLC paperwork, the sergeant said.
Ruth Jones had a contract to sell the home, but it expired in 2011, Ogrinc said. She continued to post the home for sale and for rent on her website in February 2012 and August 2012 and showed the house about 27 times after the contract ended, the sergeant said.
The complainant first learned of the possible wrongdoing when she met a lawyer for the estate owner, who was checking on the home’s condition after Superstorm Sandy in late October, Ogrinc said. The lawyer was with a locksmith after seeing that someone was living in the home, she said.
Ruth Jones, 56, was charged with first-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny, third-degree burglary, and second-degree forgery.
Silvestro, 55, was charged with first-degree larceny, second-degree issuing a false statement, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny.
Adam Jones, 29, was charged with first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny.
All three turned themselves in on Aug. 19. Each posted $50,000 bond. Court dates are set for Aug. 29.
The investigating officer has consulted with the state prosecutor on the case, Ogrinc said.