CFA Investigation: Man accused of living in $800K home -- almost rent free

The owner of this home says a family has been living here almost rent-free.
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) This five bedroom, five bath $800,000 home in Flying Horse was a former model on the Parade of Homes. It features vaulted ceilings, a huge gourmet kitchen, a large master suite as well as a junior master suite.

Carrie Mitchell says when the economy took a dive, they couldn't sell it. That's why they were persuaded to rent it to a man who dropped by with his family and knocked on the door.

Carrie explains, "He said, 'This is the exact house we want. We know the layout. It's perfect for us.' He said, 'Well we want to buy it, but I'm working on all of these deals so can we have a lease with you and then we'll just pay you cash for the house.'"

Carrie says they were reluctant to rent, but thought it might be the best move in a bad market. Turns out it wasn't. She claims in these court papers the man who signed the lease, Noel Joe Riddle, continually had one excuse after another for bounced checks and non-payment. She says he still owes them close to $23,000.

Carrie is trying to get Riddle and his family of six evicted, but he’s delayed the process by filing for bankruptcy.

“I think it's a game for him. It's a con and he's getting better at it." …”And we can't get our house back. I mean that's the sad part," Carrie said.

Turns out this isn't the first time Noel Joe Riddle has lived in a pricey home without paying. You may recall our 11 Call for Action investigation from February 2013. These incident reports from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office show a family in Monument wanted Riddle out of their home, too.

The owners of this million-dollar home told deputies they were living out of state when they learned their vacant house was being occupied by another family who wanted to buy it but didn't have the money. Turns out Riddle had moved in his entire family without permission and without paying.

Erick Waggoner says, “To get a phone call that says, 'Hey Erick. Someone's in your house... is unbelievable.'"

I visited Mr. Riddle back then at the Monument home.

I asked, “I'm wondering why are you living here for free?"

“The owner at one time asked me to send him money because he told me the house was … he was putting it into foreclosure," Riddle told me.

But the homeowners say that wasn’t true, and after a lot of time and expense, they finally got the Riddle family to move out -- something Carrie Mitchell is hoping will happen soon.

Betty: "Hi Mr. Riddle, Betty Sexton again with KKTV. Just wanted to talk to you about living here."

Noel Joe Riddle: "This is not a good time, my mother-in-law is in hospice. "

Betty: "That was what you told me, like, three years ago when I saw you at the home in Monument."

Noel Joe Riddle: "No, I didn't."

Betty: “Well, I just talked to the family who owns the home and I guess you're trying to set up a meeting with them. Is that correct?"

Riddle shuts the door.

Carrie says they had no experience renting out a house and didn't thoroughly check out Riddle. Now, they just want him out.

“At this point we really just want him out so we can put the house back on the market and get it sold," she told me.

Just remember, background checks are critical and much more important than promises. They won't pay the rent.