Suspects in Largo Rental Scam Arrested in Las Vegas
The Las Vegas police were investigating them for another rental scam, according to Largo police.
LARGO – Two suspects wanted in a $28,000 rental scam in Largo have been arrested in Las Vegas.
Nicole Johnson, 30, and David Johnson, 32, were being investigated by Las Vegas Metro Police for another rental scam when it was discovered that they were each wanted by the Largo Police Department, which had outstanding warrants on them for charges of felony scheme to defraud. The Johnsons were taken into custody and are awaiting extradition to Pinellas County.
The Largo Police Department said that, in June, officers began investigating an ongoing scheme to defraud involving a rental house at 1091 Lexington Court.
Officers said the Johnsons portrayed themselves as the owners of the residence and entered into multiple lease agreements with at least 12 individual families. The Johnsons received large deposits from these families, ranging from $1,000 up to $4,300 per victim. The total loss involved is believed to exceed $28,250.
Police were called when four families showed up at the same time to take possession of the home. One of the families had traveled from Indiana with all of their possessions in a U-Haul trailer. Because of the relocation expenses and the money collected by the Johnsons, this family had exhausted their resources and were fortunate enough to receive a small amount of cash from neighbors at the scene to pay for gas to cover the return trip to Indiana.
Multiple other families were forced to scramble to find a place to live, having packed up their previous residence in anticipation of moving into the Lexington Court home. Police said all the families took significant financial hits because of the Johnsons’ actions.
The Johnsons trolled Facebook and other social media sites seeking out families looking for rental properties. They would directly solicit those families, contacting them by online texting or Facebook messenger with
the opportunity to rent a house in a desirable neighborhood.
The families were given in-person tours of the home, provided with printed and signed lease agreements and given receipts for deposits, officers said. Almost all the families did their due diligence and researched the home and the people involved. The names provided by the Johnsons to the families matched tax records and property appraiser records, lending a high degree of legitimacy to the scam.
The Johnsons stalled the families and coordinated the move-in dates for the involved families to coincide with the Johnsons’ departure from the state. At this point, police said, it appears the Johnsons fled to New York only days before the families were scheduled to take possession of the rental property.
Anyone who believes they were defrauded by the Johnsons should contact the Largo Police Department Investigative Services Division, Detectives Young (727)587-6757 and Detective Allred (727)586-7475.
Largo Police | Crime | Arrests | Tampabay News
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