Sentencing Delayed For Woman Accused In Rental Scam

Dianne "Harmony" Brown To Be Sentenced Sept. 24

Sentencing was delayed another month for a woman accused of masterminding an elaborate South Bay home rental scam.

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Dianne "Harmony" Brown, 46, was supposed to be sentenced Monday for five felonies stemming from the scam.

Prosecutors originally charged her with 61 felonies. They said she filed 31 fake deeds on foreclosed homes in Chula Vista. Prosecutors said she would then rent them out and pocket the money to the tune of upwards of $30,000 a month.

In June, she pleaded guilty to the five felonies as part of a plea agreement. However, she dodged going to jail by firing her attorney on Monday.

"I am in the midst of looking for a new attorney because I don't feel that I've been very effectively represented at this time," she told Judge Leo Valentine Jr.

She was not alone. Brown's husband, Dexter Brown, is also charged in the scheme. He also fired his attorney Monday and avoided sentencing.

Deputy District Attorney Sophia Roach questioned their motives.

"There seems to be some larger scheme at play to withdraw pleas," said Roach.

Brown took it a step further asking the judge to throw the case out.

"I haven't had a preliminary hearing," she said. "[I] haven't had a chance for any of my evidence to be presented nor victim because there is no victim, if the complaint can simply be dismissed?"

Roach argued, "She is not here withdrawing her plea. She is not here with other counsel. She has not made a Marsden motion and I do think that she should be sentenced in compliance with the plea bargain today."

"I am abiding by the rules," said Brown. "I just really want justice to take place."

The judge delayed sentencing until Sept. 24 for both Harmony and Dexter Brown. It could be a gamble for the defendants if they decide to change their pleas to not guilty. If they lose, they could be sentenced on 61 felonies instead of five.

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