NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Manhattan woman says the family home she kept vacant in Queens is now being occupied by strangers who allegedly paid for it.

As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, Jennifer Merin said the home she spent so much time in as a child in Laurelton, Queens has been taken over by squatters who she claims filed a fake property deed with the city that claims ownership.

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“This is my house and they’re there illegally,” she said. “The city allowed, and even — I’ve been given to understand — facilitated the registration of false deeds.”

The Office of the City Register’s website shows two deeds for the home. One by Merin on behalf of her late grandparents and the other deed filed by Darrell Beatty.

But Beatty told Langford he doesn’t know anything about it.

Langford: “Are you squatting?”

Beatty: “No I’m not.”

Merin said she called police when she first learned someone had taken over her vacant family home, but was told she had to take the matter to housing court, where she said she obtained an eviction notice that has been appealed, Langford reported.

Langford: “So do you have any proof that you should be living here?”

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Beatty: “Yes, I do. You’ll see everything in court tomorrow.”

“It’s just astonishing and extremely painful,” Merin said.

In the garage out back, Merin said she found many of her family’s possessions dumped in a big pile.

“This garage was not empty. This garage had my car in it. The car’s been towed away. I have no idea where it is,” Merin said.

The case for eviction will continue in Queens housing court on Tuesday.

City officials were not available on Monday to provide details on the case because of the Columbus Day holiday.

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