Supporters have raised $20,000 for an elderly couple facing eviction after they say their grandson stole the deed to their home and sold it.
Hank and Helen Kawecki, 88 and 87, respectively, have to vacate the 2,000-square foot, $850,000 home they've lived in for more than half a century in Thousand Oaks by July 27.
As of Monday evening, nearly 400 people donated money on a GoFundMe.com account to help "Save Hank and Helen's Home." Others have stopped by to donate food and help the couple pack.
Doug Emerson, a neighbor who set up the account, said the couple's grandson convinced them to turn the deed over to him with the promise of supporting them financially for the rest of their lives.
"Instead the grandson mortgaged the property to the maximum with three loans and defaulted on all the loans," Emerson wrote on the page. "The grandson then sold the home without Hank and Helen's knowledge."
Emerson said he helped the Kaweckis hire an attorney who filed a lawsuit in Ventura County Superior Court.
"However, the lenders went through the foreclosure process and that could not be stopped," Emerson said. "They are now being evicted with no money and no place to go."
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The Kaweckis' attorney, Ed Elrod, convinced a judge to grant an extension for the eviction.
Helen Kawecki declined to comment by phone on Monday.
In an interview, Emerson said he learned about the sale of the Kawecki home online and told them about it.
"They were kind of shocked," Emerson said, adding he is also helping the couple find alternate housing. "I don't know if they really understood what they were doing."
He helped them file a police report and a criminal investigation was launched.
Ventura County Sheriff's Department Detective Cyrus Zadeh said investigators are looking into a person of interest.
"Regardless of what has occurred or why the Kaweckis are in this situation, it's definitely unfortunate," Zadeh said. "You have some elderly people that are losing their house."