HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – A con artist was finally caught after being under investigation for months, authorities said.
Harris County Precinct One Constable Alan Rosen said investigators spent the past nine months investigating 44-year-old Sammie Flakes, who is accused of fraudulently selling properties of people who died, as well as homes belonging to the elderly.
"He would file a lien, he would get it notarized, and then he would file it with the Harris County Clerk. Of course, the clerk's not out there looking at the property or doing a title search on the property or anything like that. So, he was getting away with it - up to $935,000 is what we've discovered thus far,” Rosen said.
Rosen said Flakes knew how to search for his victims.
"He would go and drive around and look for properties that were either abandoned or not maintained. And he would start doing research on it to find out if in fact the person had passed away," Rosen said.
Rosen believes there may be more victims out there and that Flakes likely committed the crimes long before authorities learned about it.
If you suspect you might have fallen victim to Flakes, head to your county’s appraisal district website and search your property online.