Olympic gold medalist Cindy Brown living in car after identity theft
“If I enter that property or go up on it I’m going to be arrested,” said Brown, who has been living in her vehicle since November
Olympic gold medalist Cindy Brown is living outside of her California home in her car. The retired basketball player is a victim of a bizarre identity theft.
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KTLA reports that Brown has been legally evicted from her Villa Park home after someone was able to utilize her signature to commit fraud. The case has been ongoing for over a decade.
“If I enter that property or go up on it, I’m going to be arrested,” said Brown, who has been living in her vehicle since November.
The 56-year-old said sheriffs came to her home with false paperwork stating they could remove her from the property and they did.
Brown was an All-American at Long Beach State and a member of the USA Basketball team. She earned a gold medal in the Pan-Am Games in 1987 before taking home Olympic gold in 1988 in Seoul.
Brown purchased the Orange County residence in the Villa Park neighborhood back in 1991.
According to a 2009 LA Sentinel article in 2004, she met a woman named Kela Holmes at a Long Beach, California nightclub who claimed to be a business manager. The two became a couple and Holmes moved into her home. At the time, Brown, who played pro basketball overseas, was worth about $2.5 million.
Not long after she began living with Holmes, Brown’s troubles began.
“She said that she was just out of the Army and I later learned that she was living in her car and I wanted to help her,” said Brown.
Brown told the publication back then that while acting as her manager, Holmes made $269,780 in stock funds with American Funds Group disappear by 2005.
In Jan. 2005, Brown filed a complaint with the Orange County Sheriff against Holmes but nothing was done. She said she lost $1 million in the real estate scam.
“They took my money and skimmed the equity and took off,” Brown told The OCR back in 2009 about the individuals she believes ripped her off.
“I’ve lost everything I worked so hard for.”
By 2008, Brown says she was targeted by police and her neighbors who she says had shown racist behavior toward her, calling her slurs related to her race and sexuality. Sheriffs were called to her home that year after a report of gunshots she believes was initiated by Holmes.
Brown says she was alone at home and no gun was fired but she was injured when sheriffs forced their way into the house.
Brown eventually filed identity theft charges against her former manager but says it was too late because Holmes already had her signature.
“Unless you are living it or next to it, it’s hard to believe this could be happening,” attorney Joan Jackson, who is helping Brown try to resolve the case, told KTLA.
Another attorney said a man acquired a fake loan document on Brown’s home for $380K back in 2005. He then went to a bank with a lost loan affidavit that included Brown’s signature claiming he had lost the loan.
The attorney said he believes someone at the bank was involved because the bank paid him the funds.
The bank then sold the loan to The Bank of New York Mellon which claimed they purchased Brown’s home fairly and were not responsible for any wrongdoing.
Brown went to court over the matter but lost because her attorney abandoned the case and failed to provide the fraudulent documents. The attorney was eventually suspended by the California State bar over the matter.
The Department of Business Oversight of California acknowledged that the loans were fake but that did not help resolve Brown’s issue. The bank’s attorneys were able to move the case from local to federal court and ultimately forced the eviction.
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Brown has a court date at the end of the month that could potentially get her back into her home.
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