Jenks Police Arrest Woman For Land Lease Scam

Tuesday, August 11th 2015, 7:05 pm
By: News On 6

In a new twist on an old scam, Jenks Police arrested a woman they say was leasing hunting land. The problem is, someone else owns the land and it's not for lease, only for sale.

Jenks officers caught the suspect with a sting operation.

A Jenks police officer went undercover, pretending to be the brother-in-law of a man interested in leasing the property he'd seen on Craig's List. As soon as the woman leasing the land, signed the lease and took the $2,000, the officer handcuffed her.

"It's only for sale, it's not for lease," said Dean Anderson of Whitetail Properties.

Anderson is the agent trying to sell 507 acres of land in Okfuskee County for his friend Joel Wiland. He posted photos of the property on the Whitetail Properties website. Then he learned someone took those photos and posted them on Craig's List, offering the land for lease for $2,000. 

Thankfully, a man who was interested, called Dean to verify.

"Your owner is wanting to lease it also? And, I'm like, 'nooooo,'" Anderson said.

Dean had the guy text the woman and set up a meeting. Dean contacted Jenks Police, and an officer went along, undercover.

 "She was anxious to get the money, she was excited and when she took the money, they had another officer watching from a distance, another officer in an unmarked car and they nabbed her and took her to jail," said Dean Anderson, Whitetail Properties.

Morgan Turley was booked into jail for obtaining money by false pretense.  She's already on a deferred sentence for a 2014 felony shoplifting case, accused of stealing jewelry from Sears. She's in trouble on that case, because she got charged in February for stealing from Kohl's.

Dean and Joel want to warn anyone else who leased this property to know it was a scam.

"It makes it kinda scary too when you think these people that might've leased it, and they all show up together to go hunting, and they all have guns and all think they have the property leased and the owner shows up too, it could be very bad," Dean said.

The scam is common when it comes to houses for sale in cities.Now people in rural areas, who normally do business with a handshake, need to make sure whoever they're doing a land deal with actually owns the property.

"In Oklahoma, you want to be able to trust everybody and take them at their word," said property owner Joel Wiland.  "It's a shame to have to say to somebody, you  have to prove you are who you say you are. We want to believe the best in everybody. To now have to keep our defenses up all the time is not how we're supposed to live."

Turley has already bonded out of jail on this case. She has not been charged yet. I went by her house and left my phone number but haven't heard back from her.