Original Title: 'It's just been a nightmare,': Family can't evict illegal squatters from their home after they file for bankruptcy and exploit legal loophole
Yeah, I know about the Daily Mail. The source doesn't change the story so keep the epithets to yourselves. --cd3
By James Nye
Posted August 1, 2012
A Colorado family have been told they can't evict squatters from their Littleton home after the two strangers used a legal loophole to stay.
Danya and Troy Donovan had secured a ruling from a judge in Arapahoe County to evict Veronica Fernandez-Beleta and Jose Rafael Leyva-Caraveo from their home, which the squatting couple had been occupying for eight months.
However, by filing for bankruptcy, the squatters managed to halt a forced eviction the Donovan's had secured which was due to take place last week.
'The sheriff's office will not proceed with an eviction if there is a bankruptcy in question.' said Arapahoe County Undersheriff David Walcher to a local CBS television station.
Last August, the Donovan's moved out of their home to travel to Indiana with their two children.
Unemployed at the time and two months behind on their mortgage payments, the Donovan's left their home of 13 years behind, locked and prepared for the brutal Colorado winter.
In March of this year, Danya Donovan claims that she had a 'premonition' that something was wrong with her home and upon calling a neighbour discovered that someone had indeed moved into their home.
Returning home to evict the squatters immediately, the couple called the police who arrived at the Littleton home to discover Fernandez-Beleta and Leyva-Caraveo claiming an affidavit proving 'adverse possession' of the property.
This is a Colorado law which states that adverse possessors who stake their claim to a piece of land for 18 years without any dispute can become the owners of that property.
The reason why the squatters did not see the need to flee was because they thought they had legally bought the property.
They were sold a deed of adverse possession by Alfonso Carillo.
]Carillo, a real estate agent whose license has now been revoked, sold the couple the deed for $5,000.
Carillo has been connected to a number of similar cases, as CBS 4 discovered through court documents regarding the other homes, as the Donovan case is the latest in a long trend in Colorado.
He is now charged with criminal fraud and apparently focused his attention on targets who only spoke Spanish.
With the news of the latest setback in their quest to gain possession of their home of nearly 15 years, the Donovan's were despondent.
'It's frustrating. It's just one thing after another, after another,' Danya Donovan told ABC News. "
'We've lost two months' time. It has been an absolute living nightmare and an emotional roller coaster.'
While the legal fight has rumbled on the Donovan's and their two daughters have been staying in the basement of a relative's home in Greely, which is 65 miles away.
The family are struggling financially and have had difficulty in coming up with $500 in court filing fees and gas to drive to the clerk's office throughout the legal process.
Fernandez-Beleta and Leyva-Caraveo filed for bankruptcy on July 20th, which has caused the current delay.
'I am sad and confused and distressed,' Fernandez-Beleta told Denver station CBS4 in Spanish.
Because the case falls under civil and not criminal law, the police have not become involved in the case.
In fact, because of the Donovan's desperate attempts to ask Fernandez-Beleta and Levya-Caraveo to leave their home, the squatters took out a temporary restraining order against them.
It is alleged that Alfonso Carillo sold the home for $5,000 and that he defrauded the squatters through this sale.
'Anybody that told Fernandez-Beleta and Levya-Caraveo they could have that home for $5,000 by adverse possession, that's obviously fraud,' said local attorney Willis Carpenter.
Colorado law states that the minimum number of years for adverse possession to come into force is seven years, if the occupier has the deeds and been paying property taxes.
'Many states require 20 years or somewhere in between,' said Carpenter.
For the Donovans however, their nightmare has not finished.
'People who are even on an extended vacation need to be aware of this situation because once someone illegally occupies your home, you can't just have the cops arrest them,' because they need to be caught in the act of breaking in and entering, Donovan said.
'It's just been a nightmare,' she said.
'We just want to get settled and try to get on with our life.'
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