Last week, the King County Prosecutor's Office charged Jessica Carde with 12 criminal counts, including four counts of first-degree theft, two counts of securities fraud, attempted first-degree theft, three counts of mortgage fraud and two counts of second-degree theft. She could end up serving more than five years in prison, that is, if police can track her down. Until then, the threat remains that Seattle homeowners could end up getting involved with Seattle's worst tenant.
So what exactly has Carde been up to and how does she screw over Seattle homeowners and landlords?
For the past five years, they say, Carde has engaged in an elaborate scheme to dupe home sellers out of their properties. Presenting herself as a legitimate — and wealthy — buyer, Carde would enter into lease-with-option-to-purchase agreements with homeowners, move in and then stop paying rent, according to an investigation by prosecutors and the state Department of Financial Institutions. "To stay in the home, Carde would engage in deceptive retaliatory acts against the homeowner to prevent or delay eviction, which in turn allowed her to maximize her time in the home, rent-free, until the homeowner was finally able to evict her," according to the court documents.
Carde would make threats against the lives of homeowners as well as accusing them of committing crimes in an attempt to keep them quiet and delay the inevitable.
Carde was featured in a Seattle Weekly story back in 2011 entitled, aptly, Homewrecker. Her exploits are now the stuff of legend, or nightmare, depending on which side you were on.