NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police were searching for a man who tricked people into giving him cash for apartments he had no business showing, Demetra Ganias reports.

The alleged scam started in January and stretched over the next month. Police said the man posed as a real estate agent at half a dozen Brooklyn apartments.

Most of the homes involved in the fraud that Ganias visited appeared to be vacant, with one having a padlock on the door.

“They would just take the money and run. That’s pretty bad.  Not good,” one resident said.

“That tells me we’re living in a time where people just don’t have no concern for other folks. I mean, it’s terrible,” said Dennis Reading of Bed-Stuy.

Police said the suspect would find listings online, re-post them as the realtor, and set up appointments to show them. After meeting with prospective renters, police said he would have them sign contracts and ask for the first month’s rent as a security deposit in cash.

It’s not just a mention on Craigslist that tells people the apartment is vacant.  A Century 21 sign makes it obvious even to strangers that the apartment is empty.  And neighbors here say one month’s security deposit is a lot of money to lose.

“You got to also do a background check. You you can’t just give anybody the money, you know?” said Damian Richards of Bed-Stuy.

“That’s a whole lot of money. In these days and times, yes it is,” said Dennis Reading.

Police described the suspect as a black male in his mid 30’s, standing 5’6″ tall, and weighing around 150 pounds with a grey oversized Yankee cap.

Police were urging renters to check out a prospective landlord before signing any lease or handing over money.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1 800 577 TIPS (8477). Tips can also be submitted to the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Comments (12)
  1. Yeye Vargas says:

    Criminals will always be in out midst. Just deal with it and in the process of time we will have the most powerful police state in the world

  2. J. Smithy says:

    If you give someone cash without verifying everything is in order beforehand, you deserve to get ripped off. It’s an expensive financial lesson and one the “victims” need to grow up and learn from.

    That’s not to say I don’t find it wrong. I want the thief to get caught. The point I’m trying to say is that people need to wise up. I bet most of these people are naive out-of-towners who don’t know any better. If so, I got a bridge over the Atlantic I have to sell for $1k a month for 1 year. It comes with a toll booth to Europe so you can get your money back in 10 years.

    1. Nena Vidal says:

      No. That could have easily happened to the average typical New Yorker. I’m constantly watching the news seeing those special reports like “Shame,Shame Shame” or “Help Me Howard.”

  3. edy says:

    Welcome to NY…capital of all scams and nothing legit. The saddest part is that
    it’s the most expensive place to live with nothing to show for it.

  4. scottny says:

    whether it’s a scam or not, there is no business more profitable or corrupt than NYC real estate…bloomberg has homes in 3 or 4 other places, so should you…

  5. Hot Properties Goup, Inc. says:

    If you do not know the broker/agent always request to see their pocket card that will show you their license number and photograph that can be confirmed on the state website. It looks a bit like a drivers license. All agents are required to have the license pocket card with them when doing business. It is not uncommon to provide borkers with cash as a downpayment however you need to know you are working with a ligit company.

  6. Beamplane says:

    The Yanks are all about money, and so are these criminals.

  7. cautious says:

    Snake move,wonder why new yorkers dont trust nothing.

  8. brooklyn4ever says:

    The Yankee’s must be proud at how 95% of these losers are sporting their logo on their heads when they are either drawn, in photo’s or on TV in handcuff’s.

  9. D. williams says:

    That’s Spike Lee

  10. nyc says:

    Why are so many criminals wearing NY Yankees caps ?

  11. john wiemers says:

    times r hard ’nuff rent is high n appmts hard to find this ass shuold be caught and made to spend a year in a shelter wich is where some of his vics probobly had to go.

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