Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Ah Yes, the Old Fake Home Invasion, Shoot Yourself Scam; a Classic

There are all kinds of scams out there: the omnipresent grandparent scam; the finger-painting scam, so popular in the posh kindergartens these days; and, of course, the fake baby funeral scam.

And there's the classic, shoot yourself and your significant other in a faked home invasion to get settlement money from the property manager scam; an oldie, but a goodie.

Suspect Victims

Doug Teixeira and Lindsey Pelton, of Deltona, Florida told officers two men entered their apartment and demanded to see "Javier," and they had the gunshot wounds to prove it. Pelton had a wound and fractured bone in her lower left forearm and Teixeira had bullet entry and exit wounds in the rear and front of his left calf.

But deputies were skeptical from the start -- the home smelled of bleach, they found dried blood in the home and garage, and even found a sock full of the same caliber of bullets with which the couple had been shot. "If this incident just occurred and they called police right away," Sheriff Mike Chitwood said, "why would you have dried blood and why do we have bleach all over the house." Chitwood's theory is that the couple planned to use the shooting to gain a settlement from the property management company that manages their home.

Dang, Dad

Pelton's father, Carson Tyler, wasn't much help either. When he called deputies to get information about the case, he told detectives he paid the rent at the house, not the couple. When deputies informed Carson that Pelton and Teixeira reported the robbers stole $7,000 from a safe, Tyler responded that neither of the two "have two pennies to rub together" and Pelton had probably "never seen $7,000 in her life."

Both Texeira and Pelton were charged with providing false information to law enforcement, and Texeira also picked up a charge of tampering and destroying evidence. The conning couple could be looking at a decade behind bars, all for one of the oldest tricks in the book.

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