More people fall victim to local rental ripoff - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

More people fall victim to local rental ripoff

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Posted by Sheli Muniz -email

 WELLINGTON(WFLX)--- A local scam that police say preys on people looking to rent homes.

It's claiming more and more victims and investigators are desperate to find the man they think is behind it. Brendon Martin and his wife Leanne say they got conned, by a man who offered to rent them a home in Wellington.

Martin said, "he showed it to us, it was extraordinary. Beautiful. Like, I guess, we looked it up. It was a 1.9 million dollar place. We decided we wanted it."

Leanne Callan said, "he was very polite, very outgoing, he had no problem, he got down and played with the kids and stuff."

That man was 44 year old Albert Linden. They gave him a $500 deposit, but they never did get a key to the house and now he has vanished. They'd like to find Linden and so would the sheriff's office.

Authorities say Linden has swindled at least 14 people in Wellington, by offering to rent them a house which he did not actually own.

PBSO Deputy Tom Turner said, "Mr. Linden has taken advantage of the system, He's taken care of people who, taken advantage of people who cannot afford to lose 5, 6, 700 dollars."

Leanne and her husband say they realized something was fishy when they saw Linden was still showing the house to other prospective renters, after he had taken their $500 deposit.

So they stopped payment on their $500 check, but the bank has told them it may be too late, and Linden could still cash it a few months from now and there would be nothing they could do.

Martin said, "think it's horrible. It's disgusting. It's hard enough in today's economy, and then to be ripped off by somebody like that."

That couple lost their money but one fellow was lucky enough to get his back. He got his hard-earned cash back with threats of violence.

Brandon Goss said, "We were looking for a house and we saw it on Craigslist." He said when he saw this home in Wellington was being advertised for rent, he felt it was a deal he couldn't pass up.

He was surprised somebody would let him rent such a beautiful house for only $800 a month.
Goss said, "I thought that it seemed a little far-fetched. But it just kinda seemed like he might've been a really rich guy and really nice." So he gave Linden an $800 deposit to hold the place.

Goss said, "When the move-in date came, he started giving me excuses as to why we couldn't move in. The floors weren't done, I broke my foot, I can't meet you."
Brandon says the whole thing started to seem fishy. Linden has been described as very smooth and very deceitful.

Linden kept making excuses and never gave him a key to the house, so Brandon finally asked for his deposit back and if he didn't get his money back  Goss said, "I really had full intentions of breaking his arm."

After making repeated trips to the house and looking for Linden, Brandon finally did get his 800 bucks back.

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