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Woman pleads not guilty to renting out someone else’s Palm Desert home

A Desert Hot Springs woman accused of renting out a Palm Desert home that didn’t belong to her pleaded not guilty to a felony grand theft charge.

Lisa Marie Peirson, 40, is accused of drafting lease agreements under a false name last year for a home on Hedgehog Street and taking a $1,500 deposit from renters to stay at the residence, which actually belonged to a woman living in the Bay Area.

Law enforcement was alerted last March when a woman calling from San Francisco contacted deputies and said her neighbors had informed her that strangers were moving items into her home, according to an arrest warrant declaration. The homeowner told deputies that no one should be in the home, as
the previous tenant had moved out two months prior.

One of three people renting the home told deputies that she had paid Peirson — who went by Maria Maldonado — the deposit, and also signed a lease agreement, the declaration states.

The renter told deputies that she tried to subsequently contact Maldonado to pay her first month’s rent and replace a water heater, but was unable to reach her. It was later revealed that Peirson was in custody at the time on an unrelated matter, but was released before deputies could contact her in connection with the Palm Desert investigation.

Sheriff’s investigators said the lease agreement Peirson allegedly signed had “several” discrepancies, including misspelling the name of the actual homeowner.

Prosecutors charged her with grand theft and a warrant was issued for her arrest last summer. She was arrested out of the county, though jail records do not indicate if it was in connection with the alleged grand theft or a separate case.

She was booked into the Riverside County jail in Indio on Monday.

Peirson, who’s being held on $50,000 bail, is slated to return to court this Friday for a bail review hearing.

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