Allegations of organized fraud and perjury have landed a former county commission and sheriff candidate in jail.
Luke A. Frazier, 27, is accused of posing as the owner of a home off Newhope Road and forging documents to verify his ownership.
Frazier, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, signed official documents representing himself as the property owner. He also collected rent from a pair of tenants, detectives said.
The investigation began after the tenants complained of a leaky roof and overflowing septic tank, according to an agency media release.
The renters tried numerous times to contact Frazier, but those calls went unanswered, authorities said.
The tenants moved out and Frazier made no attempts to track them down and collect their unpaid rent, according to the sheriff's office.
As a result, the suspicious tenants reported Frazier to authorities.
Frazier ran for Hernando County sheriff in 2008. He lost to then-Sheriff Richard Nugent by a 47-point margin.
Deputies said Frazier's criminal activities related to the Newhope property began in March 2007, when a Quit Claim Deed to the property was filed. The deed was granted to XRX Corporation with Frazier as its CEO, according to the sheriff's office.
The deed was granted because the property owner's signature was on the deed, but detectives later discovered the signature had been forged. They said they knew it was forged because the name was spelled incorrectly.
In April 2012, the renters who complained about the roof and septic tank were contacted again by detectives. They identified Frazier in a photo pack as the person who leased them the property, said Denise Moloney, a sheriff's office spokeswoman.
The renters had paid Frazier a total of $4,500 while they lived on the property, deputies said.
In August, a new tenant at the property called the sheriff's office to report his home had been burglarized. Moloney said Frazier is the suspect in the burglary.
On Sept 4, detectives interviewed Frazier.
They confronted him also about the forged documents, at which time Frazier's stories had "numerous inconsistencies and he simply was unable to answer many of the questions (detectives) asked him," said Moloney.
Three weeks later, Frazier tried to have the tenant evicted from the property. He went to the courthouse and signed documents stating he was the property owner, deputies said.
As a result, he was charged with perjury.
Moloney said detectives are still investigating the burglary and more charges are possible.
During the sheriff's race four years ago, Frazier was dogged by reports about his criminal record, which included arrests on charges of sexual battery, organized fraud, resisting arrest and solicitation to shelter an unmarried minor. His battery and fraud charges were dropped, but he was sentenced to community service for the resisting arrest case and was sentenced to 30 days in jail for the solicitation case, according to news reports.
In 2004, Frazier finished third out of six candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the District 1 county commission seat.
Jeff Stabins won the Republican primary and local businessman Don Whiting finished second, but Frazier garnered more votes than eventual County Commissioner Rose Rocco, planning and zoning board member Anthony Palmieri and future school board candidate Richard McDermott.
Frazier at the time was a 19-year-old cell phone salesman who ran on a pro-private sector platform.
When he ran for sheriff four years later, he filed as a Democrat.