Police: Man renting foreclosed home could have hundreds of victims

by: Craig Lucie Updated:

COBB COUNTY, Ga.,None - Cobb County police say there could be hundreds of victims involved in a foreclosure leasing business first uncovered by Channel 2 Action News.

Investigators said John Harris broke into homes across metro Atlanta, changed the locks and then leased them.

Channel 2's Craig Lucie broke the story and detectives told him this could be a massive investigation.

Lucie has tracked down 12 victims, including Kimber Taylor of Austell.

Taylor told Lucie she just found out about Harris' arrest and said things seem odd from the beginning.

She said someone with New Life Granted came by twice to change the locks on the home she leased from the company in August. Taylor said she received a phone call from Bank of America this week.


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"I didn't know about the house being in foreclosure," Taylor said.

Cobb County police said that's how many people who have done business with New Life Granted find out they're not a customer, but a victim.

Investigators said Harris and New Life's staff would find homes before they went into foreclosure, change the locks, lease them, pocket thousands and they have been doing it for months.

"We believe that there are going to be possibly hundreds of victims," Sgt. Larry White with the Cobb County Police Department told Lucie.

The victims are in DeKalb, Gwinnett, Henry, Fulton, Cobb, Clayton and Carol counties. Jennifer O'Hara is one among 19 on a growing list on a detective's desk.

"I'm disgusted. This man has my security deposit. I've been paying rent for a house that is not even his," O'Hara told Lucie.

Lcuie stopped by the $500,000 Smyrna home Harris was living in with his children, and police said it's a foreclosure as well and never belonged to Harris.

"We do anticipate additional arrests as investigation unfolds," White said.

Some affiliated with New Life are already being taken away for questioning, including the woman Harris shared the Smyrna home with.

"I just saw the police sitting there locking her up," a neighbor told Lucie in front of the home.

Lucie sat down with Harris on Oct. 7 and asked him if New Life Granted was an honest company.

"I can tell you this. I'm not doing anything unethical to the people in the properties," Harris explained to Lucie.

A Cobb county investigator is meeting with more victims over the weekend. They are asking anyone who signed a lease with New Life Granted to call them at 770-499-3900.