Stuart neighborhood accuses group of squatting in home shortly after resident's death

Sheriff's office investigating who owns home

STUART, Fla. -- - There have been housing cases recently involving people squatting in mansions. But now a Stuart neighborhood is alleging someone is taking adverse possession to a new level by moving into the home of someone who just died.

Tucked in on the bend of the 4400 block of SE Village Road is the quaint home Rocco Conti lived in for years.

County records show he bought the home in 2001, took out a mortgage with Bank of America and paid taxes on it until he died September 10, 2012.

"Once he did pass away, they moved into his house," said a resident who lives near Conti's home.

The longtime neighbor did not want to show his face or use his name fearing retaliation. The "they" he was referring to are the people who now live inside.

"I know for a fact they're squatting. They have no relation to the man who owned this house," said the resident.

A man who came from inside Conti's residence, who would not identify himself, claims to have been the deceased man's caregiver up until his death. He said he had permission to live at the home but would not provide proof.

"I'm telling you, I belong here. I'm giving you that much," said the man who is now living inside.

According to county documents, when Conti died his estate took control of the home. The man living inside admits he is not on the estate and none of the people thought to be listed on the estate are taking responsibility currently.

"Just recently, in fact maybe just a couple of days ago, we were informed that the people inside the house may not belong there. So we have no way knowing that," said Christine Weiss with the Martin County Sheriff's Office.

MCSO said the home is currently under investigation and a deputy is working to determine whether the current residents need to be evicted.

The sheriff's office also released records that indicate deputies have responded to the home on more than 20 different calls ranging from disturbances and suspicious activity.
"I'd like to see them leave. I'd like to see then out of there," said the neighbor who accuses the current residents as squatters.

When reached for comment, Bank of America, the mortgage company, did not immediately respond as to whether it will take action on the home.

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