Three Central Floridians were arrested this month after deputies say they performed scams that targeted Craigslist users.
On Dec. 5, deputies said 42-year-old Kerry Widman of Cape Canaveral was arrested for attempting to lease-to-own a residence in Cocoa Beach.
The Craigslist advertisement identified a home requiring a $5,000 down payment and a $750 monthly payment. Widman represented herself as the owner and prepared a fraudulent warranty deed and lease for the property, requesting a cashier's check as payment, according to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.
Widman was charged with scheming to defraud, criminal use of public records, uttering a forged document and grand theft. Deputies said Widman was released from the Brevard County Jail after posting an $8,000 bond.
On Thursday, 24-year-old Cedrick Davis and 22-year-old Ned Guilford were arrested for attempting to rent a beach front condo through a Craigslist ad.
Deputies said one suspect claimed to be a real estate owner and the other suspect represented them self as a property manager.
The suspects prepared a fraudulent lease agreement and accepted a check for $1,800 to rent the Cocoa Beach condo. The condo in question was actually occupied by the true owner, who deputies said had no idea of the scam.
Davis and Guilford, both of Cocoa, were charged with scheming to defraud, uttering and grand theft. Deputies said they are both currently incarcerated at the Brevard County Jail Complex on $6,000 and $15,000 bonds respectively.
"These cases demonstrate the power of partnerships where we combine investigative resources of federal, state and local law enforcement with our community awareness and information-sharing programs," said Sheriff Wayne Ivey. "Through aggressive enforcement and information efforts, we want to make sure identity theft and fraud doesn't happen to you."
Deputies said people should be cautioned and skeptical of any ad that requires Green dot and/or prepaid credit cards, money orders, cashier's checks or cash as payment. Customers are warned not to send funds electronically or through the mail. Ownership of property that is being purchased, rented or leased should be verified by the prospective buyer, deputies said.
Anyone who feels they may have been a victim of a scam or may need information concerning identity theft or fraud is asked to call the Sheriff's Office Economic Crimes Unit at 321-633-8410.