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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Man charged with property rental fraud in florida keys

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a man who is accused of defrauding renters of vacation homes in the Florida Keys.
So far, a sheriff’s spokeswoman says 20 victims have made allegations against John David Williams, 52, of Tavernier.
Tourists would travel to places they thought were rented out to them by Williams, only to find tenants already staying at the properties, the sheriff’s office says.
Williams is in a Key West jail, unable to make bond that is more than $200,000, his lawyer said. He was first arrested in this case in October, and was arrested for additional charges this month.
“I can only say that we’re waiting for information from the sheriff and state attorney’s office about the documentation they may have to support the charges,” said Nicholas Mulick, the attorney for Williams. “I do know that he had a number of clients who owned residences that he facilitated the rental of.”
On Monday, the sheriff’s office said that most of the victims came from out of state, and that at least one was from outside the U.S.
Detectives allege Williams set up multiple Internet rental sites with various business names and used several identities while renting the properties to tourists who wished to visit the Keys for vacation.
The sheriff’s office says Williams ran a legitimate business and rented homes near mile marker 96 through ads on the Internet.
But investigators say property owners complained that homes were double-booked, and renters alleged that their deposits were not returned or that Williams ignored them.
Williams has been charged with multiple felony offenses, including 19 counts of grand theft as well as several counts of computer crime to defraud, obtain property, misleading deceptive advertisements and fraud by impersonation.
Some of the companies the sheriff says Williams may be connected with include Vacation Rental Properties; Resort Property Management; Tropical Resort Vacation Home Rentals; Keys Dreams and Keys Realty.
He may have also used the name “David Osborne,” say investigators, who ask anyone with information to contact the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detective division at 1-305-853-3211.
“The victims we have spoken to unfortunately have very negative feelings about the Keys, understandably,” Sheriff Bob Peryam said in a press release. “We want to let them know that this is a terrific place to visit and that we don’t tolerate this kind of activity. The vast majority of rental businesses in the Keys are completely legitimate, but the actions of just a few… make it much harder for them to do business and that hurts everyone in Monroe County.”

From: http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/crime-and-safety/2011/11/21/man-charged-with-property-rental-fraud-in-florida-keys/

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