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Five ‘sovereign citizens’ charged after they moved into widow’s $1.5M home and claimed ownership

Five sovereign citizens charged after they moved into widows 15M


Five self-proclaimed sovereign citizens, including a dentist and sex offender, have been charged after they moved into a widow’s $1.5 million home after she put it on the market, changed the locks and filed bogus legal documents to claim ownership.

The homeowner, who has asked not been named out of fears for her safety, had listed the property and moved out after her husband – a prominent commercial real estate broker – died last year, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The squatters, which included an infant, moved into the $1.5 million mansion on Falls Road in Baltimore in June – putting up a chain across her driveway and signs warning trespassers to keep off the property while parking a Mercedes-Benz in the garage.

Cops have since arrested two of the squatters, Tessa Mona Modiri and Michael Lawrence, and hit them with charges including burglary, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Sovereign citizens believe a decades-old conspiracy theory claiming the American government set up by the founding fathers was secretly replaced, and that laws and law enforcement are a sham. 

Five self-proclaimed sovereign citizens, including a dentist and sex offender, have been charged after they moved into a widow's $1.5 million home

Five self-proclaimed sovereign citizens, including a dentist and sex offender, have been charged after they moved into a widow’s $1.5 million home

The homeowner, who has asked not been named out of fears for her safety, had listed the property and moved out

The homeowner, who has asked not been named out of fears for her safety, had listed the property and moved out

The squatters  put up a chain across her driveway and signs warning trespassers to keep off the property while parking a Mercedes-Benz in the garage

The squatters  put up a chain across her driveway and signs warning trespassers to keep off the property while parking a Mercedes-Benz in the garage

The mansion's listing described the home as a 'Telluride style resort lodge nestled on a hilltop site with vistas into lush woodlands'

The mansion’s listing described the home as a ‘Telluride style resort lodge nestled on a hilltop site with vistas into lush woodlands’

The three other squatters have also been hit with charges but have not yet been arrested, according to the outlet. They were identified as Ayyannaabe Cox, Cesar Tellez Zuniga and Kia Dyer.

The mansion’s listing described the home as a ‘Telluride style resort lodge nestled on a hilltop site with vistas into lush woodlands.’

The 2.5-story home includes a great room with vaulted wood-beamed ceilings and a stone fireplace. The home’s kitchen includes a deluxe butler’s pantry and an indoor pizza oven. The home also includes a wrap-around porch and a ‘magical treehouse’ as well as a guest suite and living space above 3.5 car garage. 

The Baltimore Sun acquired a slurry of lawsuits filed between Modiri and the homeowner detailing the saga, as well as the charging documents for the squatters.

DailyMail.com has reached out to the court clerks for Hartford County Circuit Court and Baltimore County Circuit Court to obtain the lawsuits filed.

DailyMail.com has also reached out to the Baltimore Police Department and the Baltimore County Police Department for more information about the arrests.

Modiri, 36, calls herself a ‘noncitizen national’ and court records list an address for her that’s shared with Renu Medspa – the website of which describes her as a dentist, the Baltimore Sun reported.

In June, Modiri filed a complaint against the homeowner claiming she hired a third-party real estate agency to short sell the property, which is legal in Maryland though the homeowner denies the allegations.

Modiri claims the home is hers because it was ‘clearly abandoned’ and alleges she entered it through a broken back door, the Baltimore Sun reported. Maryland law lets trespassers legally own a property by occupying it for 20 years, the outlet noted.

Cops said one of the squatters allegedly posed as a buyer’s agent to hire a home inspector and hired a contractor to install new security cameras.  

The 2.5-story home includes a great room with vaulted wood-beamed ceilings and a stone fireplace

The 2.5-story home includes a great room with vaulted wood-beamed ceilings and a stone fireplace

The home's kitchen includes a deluxe butler's pantry and an indoor pizza oven

The home’s kitchen includes a deluxe butler’s pantry and an indoor pizza oven

The home also includes a wrap-around porch and a 'magical treehouse' as well as a guest suite and living space above 3.5 car garage

The home also includes a wrap-around porch and a ‘magical treehouse’ as well as a guest suite and living space above 3.5 car garage

The squatters refused to come outside when cops went to the home and demanded they leave the mansion last month, the Baltimore Sun reported. Cops even tried to get them to leave by deploying helicopters and armored vehicles.  

Cops were finally granted a warrant when they identified one of the squatters, Warren, as a convicted felon during a traffic stop on June 23 when he left the property.

Warren was previously convicted for a number of sex crimes and for impersonating a lawyer, the Baltimore Sun reported.

He was arrested when cops searched the home and found a loaded handgun and ammunition in a safe. He has been hit with burglary and weapons charges and is being held without bail in the Baltimore County Detention Center.

Court records show Modiri has also filed a lawsuit trying to claim ownership of a foreclosed commercial property in Harford County.  

Sovereign citizens are often tied to crimes including tax evasion, squatting  or ignoring laws like holding a drivers licenses or registering their vehicles. 

Though sovereign citizens are not an organized group with leadership, some sovereign citizens have been classified as domestic terrorists by the FBI.  

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a national group that tracks extremism in the United States, notes that ‘sovereign citizens believe that they – not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials – should decide which laws to obey.’

‘Most sovereign citizens also don’t believe they should have to pay taxes,’ according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

‘They clog up the courts with indecipherable filings and, when cornered, many of them lash out, retaliating through acts of paper terrorism and, in the most extreme cases, acts of deadly violence – usually directed against government officials.’  



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