Five people in Maryland are facing charges after they allegedly moved into a widow’s on-the-market house, changed the locks, and filed bogus legal documents to claim ownership of the $1.5 million home, the Baltimore Sun reports. The incident appears to be the latest home-squatting effort by people associated with the “sovereign citizen” movement, a conspiratorial scene that claims most laws are fake and that believers can seize property or avoid arrest by citing secret legal codes. One of the five Maryland defendants, Tessa Modiri, is a licensed dentist in the state, the Sun reported. Modiri reportedly refers to herself as a “noncitizen national” and has filed court documents attempting to take ownership of the home and another house in the area. Another defendant, Michael Warren, holds multiple convictions on sex offenses, as well as a conviction for impersonating a lawyer. The group allegedly moved into the for-sale Maryland mansion last month, going as far as to change the locks, install security cameras, hire a moving company, and park a Mercedes-Benz in the garage. The incident follows similar cases in Washington and New Jersey in recent months, during which self-proclaimed sovereign citizens allegedly attempted to seize, or even moved into, other people’s homes.
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