MIAMI – (CBS4) - A 27-year-old man accused of fraudulently collecting rent from numerous tenants in North Miami will not be prosecuted.
The state attorney’s office announced in court recently that they would not pursue grand theft charges against Benthola Sincere after one victim failed to present testimony against Sincere.
Police first learned about the fraud on January 7th when officers responded to a call at King Apartment Complex at 13055 NE 6th Avenue.
But on February 22nd, prosecutors were forced to drop the charges after the alleged victim in the case failed to appear. Police say other alleged victims also chose not to cooperate.
At the time, several people alleged Sincere misrepresented himself saying he was the property manager, entering into fraudulent verbal lease agreements with them and accepting cash deposits and payments, North Miami police said.
North Miami police were called out to evict the tenants who claimed to be victims.
Now, North Miami police spokesman Maj. Neal Cuevas said his detectives had a hard time obtaining statements from the alleged victims.
“When we came along and removed these people they were claiming that they were victims. Detectives questioned them further and they would not cooperate. For whatever reasons, they did not cooperate with police,” Cuevas said.
Cuevas added that his detectives suspect that some of the supposed victims may have had knowledge about the fraud, but none have been officially charged.
The state attorney’s office had tried to prosecute Sincere, but could not because the victim declined to give a statement.
“This case was No Actioned after the victim failed to appear for a Pre-Filing Conference,” SAO spokesman Ed Griffith wrote in an email to CBSMiami.com.
At the time, several renters were willing to speak to the media. Many who spoke to CBS4 told a similar story. Many said they believed they were paying their landlord. Instead, the renters who say they collectively gave Sincere thousands of dollars now 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 spoke to CBS4 was George Noriston, who was with his three-year-old.
“We’ve got nowhere to go. What are we going to do?” Noriston said.
It’s not known where the renters relocated to.