Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cops Pinch Suspect In Foreclosed Home Rent Ripoff That Left Single Mom, Three Kids Homeless, Out $3K

In Naples, Florida, the Naples Daily News reports:

  • Earlier this month, Emanoel Thermitus packed up her family's things, paid her new landlord and moved into a rental house in Golden Gate Estates. With three young sons, Thermitus was looking to get out of a town house community where she said children as young as 12 and 13 often were arrested for drugs. "I got scared," she said. "I didn't want my kids to go through that, you know? Let me do whatever I can to get them out of there."

  • But about a week after the family of four moved into the three-bedroom house on Third Avenue Northwest, a Collier County sheriff's deputy called and told her she'd have to move out. Her landlord, 21-year-old Yoandry Leiva, didn't actually own the house and had no authority to rent it out, he said.

  • Deputies arrested Leiva, of the 8600 block of Wheat Lane, East Naples, on Thursday, charging him with three counts of burglary, one count of grand theft and one count of manufacturing marijuana. He also is a suspect in the fraudulent rental of a house at 5921 Green Blvd., where a marijuana plant and a stolen Yamaha motorcycle were found in the backyard.

  • Lt. Chad Parker, who works financial crimes at the Sheriff's Office, said the agency had only recently begun to see [this type of scam]. In those cases, renters must leave the property even if they've paid rent to someone because they are legally considered to be trespassing. "It's unfortunate because they have to get kicked out of a house," Parker said. "They're being victimized twice."

  • Out $3,000 and with no leftover savings, Thermitus said she and her sons now stay at a public park until 10 o'clock every night, when they have to look somewhere else for a place to sleep.

  • "I spent all the money I had," she said. "I don't know how, but I know if I pray, God will listen and I will be safe, but I don't feel safe alone with the kids."
For the story, see Man accused of renting house he didn't own; family left homeless.

For story update, see Good Samaritan offers home to single mother evicted from fraudulently-rented house (North Naples resident Paul Conti read about the family in the Daily News and thought about a home of his own. The property he'd bought in a foreclosure sale years earlier would be perfect for them, he thought, and so on Monday, Conti handed a key to a stranger and let her move into his empty house).

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