(WSVN) - Detectives called a South Florida family “tomb raiders” after they stole homes from dead people — and then resold them to unsuspecting victims. Now, a father, mother and son could be sentenced to life in prison. 7’s Brian Entin investigates.
Late Saturday night, just before 10 o’clock, in a fourth-floor courtroom of an otherwise empty Broward County courthouse…
Reading of jury verdict: “The defendant is guilty of aggravated white-collar crime.”
A jury finally reached a verdict for this father, mother and son.
Reading of jury verdict: “The defendant is guilty of criminal use of a deceased individual’s personal identification information.”
Illya Tinker, his wife Patricia and their son Darren handcuffed one by one convicted on 269 counts involving stealing and selling South Florida homes.
Joet Blair, victim: “They’re trading their suit for an orange jumpsuit, and I’m really happy about that. Really, really happy about it. Thank God.”
Nurse Joet Blair is one of the Tinkers’ many victims.
She was working two full-time jobs but still homeless and sleeping in her car when we met her in January and started investigating.
Joet Blair, January 2019: “This is how I lay down and I sleep. Like this.”
Through their company Global Management Consulting Group, the Tinkers sold houses to people like Joet.
But the Tinkers did not really own the homes, and their victims got evicted.
All of Joet’s belongings ended up on the front lawn.
Joet Blair: “I save all of my money. That’s my life savings. I have no money left. No money. I need my money.”
Brian Entin: “Ms. Tinker, will the victims ever get paid back?”
BSO detectives called the Tinkers “tomb raiders.”
They say the family stole homes from the estates of dead people and then forged fake documents for fraudulent resales.
There are dozens of victims.
Al Guttmann, prosecutor: “They’re in the business of stealing houses. It’s what I said in the opening, and I think that the evidence that has been introduced during the last two weeks proves that, I think, beyond every reasonable doubt.”
But the Tinkers say it was one of their employees who was running the scam, and they say they didn’t know about the illegal operation.
Herbert E. Walker III, defense attorney: “It’s not justice to prosecute and to punish the wrong person. My clients are victims as well because they were defrauded by someone they trusted and put in a position of trust.”
It’s an argument the jury clearly did not buy.
Now, this mother, father and son all face life in prison.
Brian Entin: “What would you say to the Tinkers?”
Joet Blair: “I hope they die in prison. That’s all I have to say to them. I hope they die in prison. They made my life a living hell.”
The Tinkers’ attorney asked for a mistrial because some of the prosecutors notes were found inside the jury room during the deliberations. The judge denied that request.
The family’s attorney says they will appeal the verdicts.
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