Craigslist Con Cost Home Seekers Thousands: Police
Allentown man placed fake Craigslist ads for South Bethlehem rental units he did not control, scamming five people out of hundreds of dollars each, criminal complaint says.
An Allentown man was charged last week with using Craigslist ads to scam Bethlehem apartment hunters out of thousands of dollars, providing fake leases for units he did not control, according to court papers.
Gamaliel Rosado, 29, of 1430 Lehigh St., practiced the alleged scam between Nov. 2 and Jan. 16, bilking hundreds of dollars each out of five victims who were seeking rental units in South Bethlehem, according to a criminal complaint filed by Bethlehem Police Det. Fabian Martinez.
According to the criminal complaint:
- Victim Jocelyn Caban responded to a Craigslist ad on Nov. 2 and made arrangements to meet a “Raul” on Nov. 4 to sign a lease for 524 Atlantic St. Caban gave “Raul” $900 and he provided her with a lease for the property.
- After getting the lease, Caban discovered that the property was owned by a Sandra Quiles, who did not place the ad nor give anyone permission to rent the property. Quiles told police that upon inspection of the property, she discovered that it had been broken into.
- Victim Lora Davis responded to a Craigslist ad for a unit at 627 Hellener St. on Nov. 10. The man on the phone made arrangements for her to meet a “Carl” at the property. During two separate meetings, Davis provided “Carl” with $700.
- On Nov. 16, “Carl” gave her a set of keys and a lease for 627 Hellener St. to Davis. After that meeting, Davis discovered that the property is owned by Christian Gonzalez.
- Gonzalez told police he does not know a “Carl,” did not place the ad and gave no one permission to lease the property, which had also been burglarized.
- On Dec. 27, Kendal Walker responded to a Craigslist ad for an apartment at 714 Broadway. On Dec. 28, his call was returned by a “Robert Dandi,” who arranged for Walker to meet his “nephew” at 502 Carlton Ave.
- On Dec. 28, Walker paid the “nephew” $1,050 and received a set of keys and a lease for 714 Broadway. Walker later discovered that the property is listed by Cassidan Realty as a foreclosed home.
- Victim Philip R. Stark also replied to the ad for 714 Broadway. Stark met with “Robert’s nephew” at Pete’s Hot Dogs on Dec. 29. Stark paid $550 as a partial payment for security and first month’s rent and the “nephew” provided him with a signed lease and a set of keys.
- Cassidan Realty informed both Walker and Stark that the property was not being leased, nor had they authorized anyone to lease the property.
- Victim Ada Pringle responded to a Craigslist ad on Jan. 8 for a property at 510 Seminole St. On Jan. 16, she made contact with a “Steve,” who made arrangements for her to meet his nephew at 502 Carlton Ave.
- During the meeting on Jan. 16, Pringle paid $1,050 in cash to the “nephew” who provided a set of keys and a signed lease. After that meeting, Pringle discovered that 510 Seminole St. is owned by Richard Jefferson.
- Jefferson told police that the property is up for sale and not for lease. He also said that the property had been burglarized and forcibly entered.
- On Jan. 8, Stark picked Rosado out of a photo lineup during a police interview. Another eyewitness told police that he had spent a lot of time with Rosado and identified the phone numbers listed in the phony Craigslist ads as numbers on the two cell phones that Rosado carried around with him.
Rosado was charged with theft and receiving stolen property, both felonies. He was arraigned Wednesday before District Judge Nancy Matos-Gonzalez and committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail.