Craigslist scam: Part 2
OKLAHOMA CITY — Still on the hunt for the accused Craigslist rent home scammer, we set out to find the real homeowners.
When we tracked them down, they were not only shocked their homes were being used in a scam but also appalled at how bold this woman acted.
We brought you exclusive video of victims in a rental scam confronting the woman they met on Craigslist.
They say she took their money with no intention of renting them a home.
Victims describe her as a petite, redhead with blue eyes and likely in her fifties.
She told some families her name was Sharon Hill, she told others her name was Janet, Alice and Annie.
Kala Hobbs is one of many victims to get caught up in the alleged scammer’s web of lies.
“She called all of my references, my job and then called me back and said everything looked good,” Hobbs said.
Like a dozen others she gave Sharon Hill a cash deposit.
“She told me she didn’t like checks because she’s had plenty of hot checks. I thought that was understandable and then I said what about a money order. She said she had plenty of money orders that turned out be fraudulent.”
Sharon was adamant about taking cash.
Hobbs said, “I said the only way I’ll give you cash is if I had some sort of statement saying I paid you. She gave me a receipt and a signed copy of the lease.”
Hobbs expected to move into a house on Linda Avenue.
But in a pattern played over and over, the home suddenly became unavailable once the mysterious Sharon Hill had the deposit.
Neither home she was taking money for belonged to her.
We tracked down the real owners.
“I was shocked, surprised. I couldn’t believe it, still can’t believe it,” Valerie Reavis said.
She is a well known realtor in Oklahoma City.
She owns the home on Linda Ave.
She had no idea her property was being used in a scam.
“I feel sorry for everybody that got involved and had their money taken,” Reavis said. ”She was very likable and soft spoken lady.”
That sweet demeanor and tone duped homeowner Mark Herlacher too; we traveled to Meeker to find him.
Surprisingly, he told us he actually met the woman face to face when she told him she needed a place to rent. He knew her as Alice.
“I interviewed her and she seemed like a good person to rent to because she said she would watch after the house and take care of it while I’m gone.”
But before moving in she disappeared.
During their rental conversations Herlacher told her he was a truck driver and they talked about what days he was gone during the week.
He believe that gave her the window of opportunity to use his home in the scam.
Herlacher said, “It’s a shame I’m live in the house. If you look in the house, you can tell someone lives here.”
But now we know while he was out of town, she showed the house to at least nine people.
Last week, after being caught in this sting, she left quickly without locking the home to potential intruders.
“We’ve placed new locks on the door now.”
Herlacher said she used his spare key he had on his backyard fence.
He said the only items missing when he got home was a large flat screen TV and soda from the fridge.
As for Sharon Hill, Janet, Alice, Annie or whatever she’s going by now…police are on the lookout.
A fraud alert has been placed on Craigslist under the various names she’s used along with her cell phone number and email address.
If you know her real identity or her whereabouts call Oklahoma City Police.