THREE Willaura properties were used as part of a Victorian sergeant's elaborate, fraudulent bid to build an investment empire.
"Energetic fraudster" Rosa Rossi misused her job as a police officer to take over strangers' properties between April 2016 and June 2017.
She changed locks on six vacant properties without the owners' knowledge, including three in Willaura.
The other properties were in Malvern, Chadstone and Brooklyn.
Rossi, 57, rented some of the properties out and used false documents, along with her job as a police officer, to cover her tracks.
She misused the force's database to get information about vacant properties and at one point went to a suburban Melbourne council office in uniform to demand an owner's number.
More court and crime news, click here
When a concerned neighbour called police after spotting Rossi at one Willaura home, she said she was an officer, had keys and was buying the property.
Rossi eventually resigned from Victoria Police and pleaded guilty to nine charges including of obtaining property by deception, perjury, and unauthorised access to police information following an anti-corruption investigation.
The County Court of Victoria was told on Friday that Rossi was depressed at the time and embarked on the fraud in a misguided attempt to build a property investment portfolio.
Judge Martine Marich said Rossi was an "energetic fraudster" and described the attempt to acquire the properties under a legal process known as adverse possession as "somewhat delusional".
Adverse possession allows someone to obtain ownership of a property if they can prove they have possessed it exclusively for at least 15 years.
One of Rossi's Willaura victims, a disability pensioner, said he felt angry, stupid and used.
Rossi reassured him she was a police officer and convinced him to sell her the property after she was sprung at his home.
The sale fell through when Rossi couldn't get a loan and her lies unravelled.
"It didn't seem right to me that a police officer would be up to anything fraudulent," the man said.
"I was gutted. I felt like a fool.
"I still don't know why she did this."
Prosecutor Peter Pickering said Rossi acted ruthlessly, misused her position of authority and deserved to be jailed.
She remains on bail working on a farm and as a hairdresser, and hopes to line up a job with Coles, the court was told.
Rossi is due back in court on June 12.
Did you know you can receive updates straight to your inbox? To make sure you're up-to-date with news from across the region, sign up below.