SQUATTERS: Mooches Won’t Leave Soldier’s Vacant Home

Published on April 25, 2014

NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) – When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Sharkey and his wife are now living in Hawaii where he is currently stationed. They plan to move back into their New Port Richey home someday. But, right now they are fighting to get their house back.

They say strangers broke in, changed the locks, moved in and they refuse to leave.

“I want the people out,” said Sharkey. “They’re criminals living in my house.”

Sharkey was shocked to find out that the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office says it can’t do anything about the squatters.

Here’s where it gets complicated.

When 8 On Your Side went to check out the situation, we found a man named Julio Ortiz and his girlfriend, Fatima Cardoso, living in the soldier’s home. They offered no apologies. They say they know Sharkey doesn’t want them there, but they’re not leaving until they’re ready.

“I don’t want problems,” Ortiz said. “We’re not doing anything wrong.”

Read more: WFLA