EXCLUSIVE: KFOR crew catches accused rent home scammer

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Several potential house renters said a woman on Craigslist has scammed them out of hundreds of dollars.

They called us to get some answers and what we found was shocking.

News Channel 4 talked to almost a dozen victims who said the woman who uses several aliases was kind, warm and trust worthy.

Ripping them off in front of their children and leaving them without a place to live was the last thing they saw coming.

"It's messed up our whole life right now. We don't even know what to do," Nora Auld said.

She and her husband Jimmy packed up their apartment weeks ago because they planned to move into a rental property they found on Craigslist.

"We met a the lady. She showed us the house and explained how everything was going to be renovated," Nora said.

They paid $200 up front and a week later they paid $300 more.

The Aulds were ready to get nestled last weekend but after paying the deposit, the woman emailed them saying the house was no longer available.

"I thought, OK, that's disappointing but then I asked when can we meet to get our deposit back. She never responded to meeting us. Then she finally emailed us saying she would put it in the mail."

The couple never heard back from the woman they know as Sharon Hill.

Our news crew decided to go by to the house, take a look at the property and see if we could find the owner.

When we got there, we found a sign on the window stating the house is already rented and several people have been scammed out of money paid to someone who is not the owner.

As the Aulds searched online for another house, they became suspicious.

Jimmy said, "We stumbled across another posting that looked exactly like the one we got scammed on."

During that time, they also ran into other people with the same problem.

"I saw people posting the same thing happened to them and they didn't get their deposit back either. She told them she was out of town and that's why she can't meet them," Nora said.

Not trusting Hill would return their deposit, they had a friend respond to the new post and meet her at a different rental property.

Our cameras were watching across the street when that friend went inside a home to meet her.

This is part of the conversation:

"Sharon Hill": "So is it just you or do you have a family?"
Renter: "It's me and I have a girlfriend."

Renter: "How much is the deposit again?"
"Sharon Hill": "It's $500."

Renter: "Do I need to fill out any paperwork I guess?"
"Sharon Hill": "Would you like an application?"
Renter: "Yes, please."

Incredibly, there is another family inside meeting with her at the same time.

The friend, who was posing as a potential renter, came out and moments later Hill peeks out the door.

Watching from another vehicle, Jimmy saw her face and went inside to confront her wanting to know when he would get his $500 back.

Hill ran to the back door and came out of the backyard to our cameras.

Families who realized they were part of her scam had several questions for her.

She never uttered a word.

Our cameras follow her to a silver Buick with no tag.

We went back to the house and talked to seven families who showed up ready to look at the home and some ready to pay a deposits.

That's when we learned she was also going by the name "Janet" to other renters.

We checked records with the county assessor's office, neither home is owned by someone with the same name as any of her aliases.

In part two of our investigation we tracked down the real homeowners.

One is a truck driver who lives in Meeker, the other, a well-known realtor in Oklahoma City.

Both are victims too.

See Part 2 of this story here

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