Realtor charged with defrauding would-be tenants
USA Today Network
13 February 2017
A Bonita Springs Realtor faces charges that he scammed tenants out of thousands of dollars.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office on Friday arrested John Joseph
Hayes, 57, and charged him with fraud to obtain property worth more
than $20,000. Deputies allege Hayes collected $26,649 from three future
tenants beginning a year ago.
“I don’t have any comment at this time,” Hayes said Monday.
Judith Hocher, of Michigan, filed a report with the Sheriff’s Office in
December. She claimed that she paid Hayes $5,352 on March 5 to rent a
condominium on Fourth Street in far north Collier County between Jan. 1
and April 1, 2017.
Last March, Hocher said, she paid Hayes the 50 percent deposit, unaware
that he had made arrangements with another tenant, Marcia Dickinson, of
Ohio, during the same time period, arrest reports stated.
Hocher in July paid Hayes another $5,352 and said she learned about the other renters when she arrived to move in.
The third victim, Judith Hartlieb, of Illinois, filed a related report
against Hayes with the Sheriff’s Office. Hartlieb told investigators
she paid Hayes $5,241 to rent the condo from Jan. 14 to Feb. 25, 2017.
Hartlieb told detectives Hayes emailed her three days before her
arrival only after she had contacted him, asking for the key.
Hartlieb said she met with Hayes at the condo when he told her he did
not have the money to pay her back at that time, reports stated.
Dickinson paid Hayes $10,704 to rent the condo from Jan. 1 to March 31,
2017, arrest reports showed. She sent the payment in a check to an
address in Champaign, Illinois, the report said. Dickinson told
authorities she did not stay at the condo because of a dispute between
the condo homeowners association and Hayes.
The would-be tenants said they located the property on a website.
When deputies found Hayes about 1:30 p.m. Friday, he was at the condo and told them he owned it and leases it out as a rental.
Hayes remained free Monday on a $10,000 bond. He faces a March 6 court appearance.
Others who believe they are victims in this case may call the Sheriff’s Office to file a report, at 239-252-9300.
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