At least a dozen people paid rental deposits on the same house before the three scammers – one posing as a Realtor – took the money and left town.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – More victims are detailing how they got sucked into a real estate scam and lost thousands. Homestead police are continuing their search for the three suspects and now the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) is involved as well.
MDPD said several more victims have just come forward, which means there are now more than a dozen cases county-wide involving the three suspects, who are still on the loose.
“They think they’re getting the deal of a lifetime then suddenly it’s all snatched away in the blink of an eye,” said Kayla Vargas, a victim.
On Monday, six families showed up at 1522 SE 16th Avenue in Homestead, ready to move in. The police pull up, and they’re like oh this is a scam this is fraud, said Vargas.
Police say Priscilla Marie Contreras, Yordani Carriles Diaz and Deinoser Bravo are pretending to be Realtors and homeowners. The three suspects gave fake leases to as many people as possible before leaving town.
The worst part is they told everyone to come at the same time, said Vargas.
She said Yordani Diaz was actually living in the 16th Avenue Homestead property and let her sublease a room for the last two months. They were really kind to me, she explains. Everything was going well until she received a strange text from Yordani Diaz last week saying he’s moving out and she’d have to pay more money.
He reassured me. Don’t worry everything is going to be ok; we know the people moving in, said Vargas.
That wasn’t the case. Kayla was there when all of the families showed up to move in.
“A lot of people were crying. They were in shock. They were hugging each other. Everybody couldn’t believe what was happening,” said Vargas.
“When I saw all the families outside that house, I mean I felt very sorry for them,” said Marilis Carrasco, another victim. She lost more than $1,500 but was able to catch Priscilla Contreras in a lie before losing even more. Thanks to a friend in real estate, she researched the property and noticed the Realtor listed to represent it had the same name Contreras was using. She called the Realtor listed.
“She was like ‘hello, yeah, this is Nicole but who are you?’” said Contreras. That’s when she called police and reported Contreras for fraud, but, unfortunately, the damage was already done.
Vargas said, now, “I’m staying in between places. Sometimes I stay at my friend’s house, sometimes I stay at my boyfriend’s house. I’m basically couch hopping, sadly.”
Families are relying on police, hoping the alleged scam artists are caught and face justice for what they’ve done.
If you’re looking to rent a home, beware. The suspects have yet to be caught and the 16th Avenue Homestead property is still listed on Facebook Marketplace.
Anyone with information on the suspects is asked to call police immediately.
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