Fiona Ma for State Assembly
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Fake landlords could be sent to state prison

Imposter landlords could be found guilty of a felony and sent to state prison, under a bill that was introduced by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) and one other lawmaker.

The proposed legislation – AB 1800 – could affect criminals who swindle rent or deposits from would-be tenants by incorrectly claiming to own a home or work as its landlord.

Under current law, such infractions are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a six month stint in a county jail.

If AB 1800 becomes law, the crime would be elevated to grand theft and perpetrators could be sent to state prison.

“With the state’s record foreclosures and economic downturn, more and more scammers are taking advantage of innocent people,” Ma said in a statement. “If stealing a pig or dog is grand theft under current law, it should be grand theft to steal the roof over someone’s head.”