Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spokane-Area Man Pinched For Allegedly Running Rental Scam On Craigslist; Pocketed Upfront Cash Promising Lease-To-Own Deals On Houses He Didn't Own

In Spokane, Washington, Northwest Cable News reports:

  • Spokane Valley Property Crimes Detectives arrested 35 yr. old Eric Pittsley of Newman Lake, WA on February 1st. The investigation started when several victims called in to report being “scammed” by Pittsley. During the investigation, numerous other victims reported similar instances of being swindled out of money by Pittsley. To date, there have been at least seventeen different victims.

  • Some of the reports were from victims who would meet Pittsley and were told he was an auto repo man who could get various makes and models of vehicles.


  • Numerous other victims were scammed when they responded to a Craigslist ad that Pittsley had posted regarding homes for rent or homes he was offering on a Rent-to-Own program.

  • Pittsley did not own any of the homes he would advertise for rent. There were times when he would contact a victim directly from a Craigslist ad they themselves had posted whereby they were seeking a place to rent.

  • Pittsley would tell the victims he was a property manager who had several homes they could look at in different neighborhoods throughout Spokane County. He would give addresses of homes that were being lived in and some of the homes were in various stages of foreclosure.

  • He would tell the victims not to “bother” the existing tenants and to call him back once they looked at the homes if they were interested. When they called him back, he would tell them he is waiting for the existing tenants to move out. He would meet them at various locations such as hotels or coffee shops to get the victims to complete an application he had printed out and collect a small application fee.

  • Pittsley would later call them back and advise them they have been approved to move-in and that he needed to meet with them again to get the 1st month’s rent and a security deposit. Sometimes he would ask for additional months of rent be paid up front and would sweeten the deal by telling them, if they paid for several months in advance, they could get one month free. Many of the victims paid him in cash or money orders and often would get a signed lease agreement and a house key.

For the story, see Spokane man arrested in Craigslist scam.

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