Home News Cincinnati Tenant Fabricates Racist Texts, Pleads Guilty to Lying to Federal Agents

Cincinnati Tenant Fabricates Racist Texts, Pleads Guilty to Lying to Federal Agents


Cincinnati, OH – A Cincinnati woman has admitted to fabricating racist text messages from her landlord and lying to federal agents about housing discrimination, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Dermisha Pickett, 33, faces up to five years in prison for her actions.

Fake Texts Led to Investigation:

The case unfolded in February 2023 when the U.S. Attorney’s Office received text messages purportedly sent by Pickett’s landlord, claiming he refused to rent to Black tenants. The FBI and HUD launched an investigation, revealing the landlord owned over 100 properties, including many rented through HUD’s housing assistance program.

Pickett’s Fabrications Exposed:

Pickett met with investigators, providing fabricated messages and claiming the landlord refused her rent due to her race. However, phone records and forensic analysis revealed no such texts were exchanged. Investigators believe Pickett used mobile apps to create them.

False Claims Undermine Real Victims:

U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker condemned Pickett’s actions, emphasizing how such fabrications undermine legitimate reports of discrimination and discourage victims from coming forward. He added his office remains committed to investigating potential civil rights violations.

Consequences for Tenants and Landlord:

Special Agent in Charge Shawn Rice highlighted the potential impact on other tenants. If the fabricated claims had been true, the landlord’s participation in HUD’s program could have been revoked, displacing dozens of families.

Facing the Consequences:

Pickett pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal officers. Sentencing is pending, with a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison.