ROSELLE — A Roselle man is charged with posing as the owner of two foreclosed borough homes in order to rent them to tenants, then collecting thousands of dollars in rent payments during the course of more than six months, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Wednesday.
Barton K. Hodge, 37, is charged with two counts of third-degree theft by deception. He was arrested Tuesday afternoon by Roselle Police Department detectives, moments after collecting rent from one of his tenants.
Earlier this year Hodge entered the foreclosed properties without the knowledge or permission of their rightful owners, then claimed to have made renovations to them before advertising them for rent, according to the investigation. Thereafter, Hodge entered into lease agreements with two different families and started collecting security deposits and rent payments from them, investigators said.
Hodge is accused of collecting a total of more than $15,000 from the families renting the properties on East Second Avenue and West Fifth Avenue in Roselle before a joint investigation conducted by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Prosecutions Unit and the Roselle Police Department resulted in his arrest.
Hodge is being held on $50,000 bail. Any other potential victims in this case, or anyone with more information about Hodge’s activities, are being asked to contact the Special Prosecutions Unit at 908-527-4673 or the Roselle Police Department at 908-245-9200.
The charges against Hodge are merely accusations; he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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