Shalena Earnheart, who claimed ownership of a dead woman’s house and tried to take control of her estate, was charged with several felonies in connection with the attempted takeover.
A Clark County grand jury last week indicted Earnheart, 27, on nine counts of theft, forgery, burglary and other charges. Court records indicate she was arrested Monday morning at Las Vegas Mobile Park in the northeast valley.
It appears she was at the mobile-home park on house arrest, according to Officer Laura Meltzer, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department.
Earnheart is scheduled for an arraignment May 14.
The indictment comes five months after Earnheart filed a deed with the county showing the late Carole Barnish supposedly transferred ownership of her house to Earnheart. Not long after, Earnheart launched a probate case for Barnish’s estate, filing a will that Barnish supposedly drew up and that gave Earnheart her bank accounts and other property.
Overall, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in a story published March 3, the situation involved forgery accusations, several calls to the police, alleged break-ins, a trashed house, “shady characters” trying to sell everything inside, and a court warning that things looked a little “hinky.”
Earnheart was charged with forgery March 5 in Las Vegas Justice Court and arrested about a week later. That case was dismissed at prosecutors’ request when the new indictment was handed down, court records show.
Clark County assistant public defender Daren Richards said Wednesday that his office has not been appointed to represent Earnheart in the new case, but he expects that to happen at the arraignment.
Earnheart filed the deed for Barnish’s house at 809 Palmhurst Drive, in the western Las Vegas Valley, on Dec. 5, more than three months after Barnish died. She then filed the probate case for Barnish’s estate on Dec. 20, claiming in court papers that she was Barnish’s “only help” and “constant companion” for many years.
The deed and the will both included Barnish’s purported signatures and were supposedly stamped and signed by notaries. But Barnish’s signatures on the documents don’t match, and the notaries both said in affidavits and to the Review-Journal that they never touched the documents.
One said she hadn’t notarized any documents since she retired in 2009, and the other said she was “shocked” to learn her name and stamp were used.
Multiple neighbors also told the Review-Journal that they had never seen or heard of Earnheart until she took title to the house. According to a longtime neighbor who had power of attorney for Barnish, Earnheart tried to sell the home “multiple times.”
Last week’s indictment alleges, among other things, that the deed and the will were forged; that Earnheart essentially stole Barnish’s house with the deed; and that Earnheart entered the home to commit larceny.
A lawyer for the administrators of Barnish’s estate had claimed in court papers that Earnheart and her associates had “repeatedly broken into and completely ransacked” Barnish’s two homes in Las Vegas, taking jewelry, cash and other items.
Frank Odeh, owner of Cash for Collectibles, confirmed to the Review-Journal in February that he drove to the Palmhurst house after getting a call that the home was filled with collectibles.
But when he showed up, he said, the place “was literally filled with trash,” and the “shady characters” inside wanted to sell him everything in the house.
He said he found nothing of value and didn’t buy anything.
Contact Eli Segall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.