Because of Johnson’s involvement as a civil attorney, the district attorney’s office has recused itself. A special prosecutor, Trey Bunch, has been appointed.
Randy Taub, an attorney for Hicks, who is the true owner of Palma and Castro’s homes on Pine Street, said his client played no role in the fraud scheme and didn’t know any of the people involved.
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Hicks had been renting the two houses, Taub said, but at some point his tenants stopped paying rent and he got behind on his mortgage. Later, squatters moved in and damaged the homes, making it harder for Hicks to repair the houses and get paying tenants. Hicks filed for bankruptcy, but his mortgage lender didn’t foreclose for years, Taub said. That’s what allowed the families
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