I-Team: Trial Dragged Out in Foreclosure Rental Scam Case - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Trial Dragged Out in Foreclosure Rental Scam Case

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Eric Alpert Eric Alpert

LAS VEGAS -- Eric Alpert, the discredited ex-Realtor at the center of housing scam allegations, has been facing a court trial and legal problems for years.

The complaints against Alpert keep piling up, nearly four years into his court trial.

Over the years, he has racked up a number of negative customer reviews.

Nicole Phillips, who rented from Alpert, said, "I feel awful inside. I felt like I had really been had."

Alicia Jackson, whose house had been broken into, said, "Basically, just because the home is abandoned, he felt that he could rent it out."

Another Alpert renter, Patrick Edgar, said, "We wanted to lease that house, but there was still stuff in there and he told us to put it in the garbage and give it couple of weeks and if they don't get it, you can throw it in the trash."

Metro and North Las Vegas police spokespeople said Alpert would break into vacant or foreclosed homes and then rent the houses to unsuspecting tenants, despite not owning them, or have any authority to rent them out.

The I-Team found Alpert's company rented out at least 54 homes, and may have been taking in $100,000 a month.

Alpert bailed out of jail after his 2009 arrest.

Prosecutors quickly began questioning witnesses in court.

"He mentioned that under Nevada statute, that he could claim our property since it was abandoned," homeowner Camille Acoymo said on the witness stand.

Deputy district attorney Michael Staudaher: "But you hadn't abandoned your property?"

Acoymo: "No."

Staudaher: "So, he tells you he can come into your house and just take it?"

Acoymo: "Yes."

Acoymo's testimony was in January 2010.

Alpert is now on his third defense attorney and each change further delays the court system.

This March, prosecutors got word that Alpert was continuing his alleged scams.

Court records show a judge ordered Alpert to not "engage in the same kind of conduct."

The prosecutor on the case told the I-Team they're interested in hearing about the latest scam allegations coming in on Alpert.

But prosecutors face a problem growing with time.

Many of the witnesses -- the renters and the homeowners -- have moved out of Nevada and are difficult to find.

Prosecutors are asking the judge to allow testimony collected years ago into the criminal trial -- whenever it might begin.

Alpert's defense is considered precedent setting. The defense attorney at the time claimed Alpert has the right to all those properties under what are essentially squatter's rights.

In other words, any foreclosure is up for grabs. Just put a note on the door, wait two weeks and it's yours.

Alpert's third attorney said he just got the case and doesn't expect the 2009 charges to be heard in court before February 2014.

Alpert faces $200,000 in fines and an effective life sentence in prison if found guilty on all charges.

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