Police: Fake Landlord Collected Thousands
NORTH MIAMI – (CBS4) – Police say Benthola “Benzoe” Sincere lied to several people who were looking to rent properties from him.
Tuesday, North Miami police announced they were on the hunt for 27-year-old Sincere for fraudulently collecting money from renters who believed they were paying their landlord. Instead, the renters who collectively gave him thousands of dollars find themselves in the streets. Each renter gave him $1,000 and they assumed they could stay there for as long as they needed to, police said.
One of those renters who finds himself on the street is George Noriston, who was with his three-year-old.
“We’ve got nowhere to go. What are we going to do?” Noriston said.
Another renter, Jerry Man Jean, said some people were awoken by the sounds of police banging on the door.
“I’m feeling bad as hell about this situation,” Jean said. “Some people was not even out of bed yet, next thing they know, boom it’s like a gunshot. But the next thing they know police downstairs breaking down people’s door all over telling everybody get out.”
Now, police are asking others who might have been victimized to come forward. Police first learned about the fraud on January 7th when officers responded to a call at King Apartment Complex at 13055 NE 6th Avenue. Several victims alleged Sincere misrepresented himself saying he was the property manager, entering into fraudulent verbal lease agreements and accepting cash deposits and payments, North Miami police said.
Police say he would change the locks in the apartments and illegally hook up their electricity.
“He meets these tenants late in the evening, he takes the cash and takes them up to an apartment that’s vacant, he changes the locks puts his own lock on the door and he also acts as though he’s a representative from FP&L and hooks up the electricity for them as well,” said North Miami Maj. Neal Cuevas who added that Sincere’s crime may have been more widespread.
Sincere faces several counts of fraud and grand theft.
North Miami Police Department is asking anyone with information on Sincere’s whereabouts or if they were victimized by him to call them at (305) 891-8111. Sincere may be driving a gold, 4-door Mercedes Benz bearing the Florida tag BEZ7G.