COLORADO (CBSDFW.COM) – The woman accused of racking up dozens of evictions in a rental scheme won’t have to worry about rent for a while. A Colorado judge sentenced Heather Schwab to six years in prison for felony identity theft.
It’s a scheme that started more than a decade ago in North Texas. Landlords across DFW say Schwab and her husband William would lie on applications and use bad checks and fake wire transfers to move into the homes. The couple would work the court system to stay for months rent-free, then move into another home and start the process all over again. The Schwabs brought along their school-age children and several pets. Landlords say the family would often leave the homes in poor condition, reeking of smoke and pet odors.
The evictions piled up so fast that some local attorneys dubbed them “serial squatters.” Days after our first report the Schwabs moved to Colorado, where they were evicted twice in a matter of months. After authorities caught wind of the Schwabs’ past they arrested them both.
Heather Schwab agreed to a plea bargain to reduce the number of charges to a single count of felony identity theft. Her defense attorney asked for probation but the judge sentenced her to the maximum of six years, calling Heather’s behavior “appalling.” Prosecutors said they believe the rental scheme started as far back as 1996.
William Schwab has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit identity theft; his sentencing is scheduled for November 13. Both are also wanted on charges in Texas and could be extradited after serving their sentences in Colorado.