Mansfield minister previously arrested for moving into neighbor's home

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on November 3, 2011 at 11:57 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 4 at 8:56 AM

MANSFIELD - News 8 came across Minister Tony Brown while looking for a squatter who took over a vacant home in an upscale neighborhood in Mansfield.

Authorities say utilities at the home are in the name of a group called American Vet Services. Brown told News 8 on Wednesday he "originated American Vet Services."

But he said he knew nothing about the squatter.

Someone named Paul Roper paid $16 and filed a claim of ownership. He claimed title under a little-known Texas law about adverse possession.

News 8 has learned that nearly 60 people filed for adverse possession in Tarrant County in recent months - an unheard of number.

Brown said he doesn't use it.

"No, that is not what we do," Brown said.

But according to police reports, Tony Brown actually took over his neighbor's home while she was away in September. Brown is out on bond for burglary.

He declined to comment on the arrest to News 8 Thursday.

According to the arrest affidavit, the woman who lives in the house came home from an out-of-town business trip and found that Brown had moved in and changed the locks. She said he offered to give the house back to her for $2,000.

Police say when they questioned Brown, he said he was in fact the new owner, and that he had filed an affidavit of adverse possession.

State records show Tony Brown founded Believers in Faith International Ministries this summer. The registered address is a drop box in a mail store not far from the house in question.

The Tarrant County constables are now going through the list of adverse possession files.

"If we can focus on the aspect of an organized crime, we will do it," said constable Clint Burgess.

Whether or not it's criminal, it can cost property owners thousands of dollars in legal fees to untangle the mess.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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