Rental scam leaves family homeless

Murrieta police say a man was taking thousands in rent for vacant houses he had simply broken into. Christopher Carlos Gonzales, 32, is accused of orchestrating an elaborate scam in which foreclosed homes were rented without their owners’ knowledge.

Christopher Carlos Gonzales

Murrieta police say a man tricked at least two families into renting distressed properties he didn’t own by breaking in, changing the locks and listing the homes on Craigslist.

Christopher Carlos Gonzales, 32, of Menifee, has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, burglary and theft. He is being held at the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley. Bail is $25,000 according to jail records.

Murrieta Detective Kelly Sik said he is looking for more potential victims. On the day Gonzales was arrested, he had five more appointments at two homes on his calendar, Sik said.

In one case, the homeowner, who was behind on mortgage payments and had moved out in hopes of arranging a short sale, checked on the house and found a woman he didn’t know cleaning the floors. She told him she had just rented the house, Sik said.

Lisa White said her family of six was excited about the five-bedroom home with the swimming pool in the back on Pinyon Street. She said the “landlord” told her it was owned by his father, who was battling cancer and had tried unsuccessfully to sell.

White said the man took her on a tour of the house, pointing to where the pool table used to be and where he and his brother wrestled as kids.


Original source.

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