GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - At least four renters may be the victims of fraud after they signed leases and paid rent on a home listed on Craigslist.
Each person says they jumped at the chance to rent what they thought was a decent, affordable home in Grand Rapids for $550 a month. They soon discovered that they weren't the only ones planning to move in.
"I heard the door open. I'm like, this isn't happening", says Henry House. A woman walked into what he thought was his new apartment.
"He's like 'why do you have keys to my apartment?' I'm like, why do you have the keys to my apartment? Why are you in here?", says Marisha McFarland.
Both planned to move in to the Davis Avenue home on Dec. 4. Both say they signed leases, paid the first months' rent and were given a set of keys to the house.
As they reviewed the paperwork, they discovered Jaleeiah Davis was also on the lease. All three found the listing on Craigslist.
"I was apartment searching. I was in a one bedroom. But, I'm six months pregnant so, I wanted a 2 bedroom for my daughter."
They all say that the man they talked to went by the name Michael Alan Hite. A quick property search shows the real owner is Victoria Zwart.
She says Hite is the tenant and currently in jail.
She found out other people were living in the home. "We were trying to evict everybody here", says Zwart. One of them is Robert Tyler the third.
McFarland, Davis, and House all identified the man as Tyler, who they say, was posing as Hite. They paid him a total of $1,100 each. "He signed Mike Alan Hite's name, not Robert Tyler the third, which is his real name", says Davis.
Tyler has since moved out of the house.
When 13 on your side talked to him on the phone, he declined an on-camera interview, but says what he did, was legal. He said he was providing a service and what they gave him were "fees" for finding them a house. He also denies signing Mike's name to those receipts.
"We feel bad because a lot of people got hurt. That's a lot of money", says Zwart.
Davis says, "That's why I'm really mad. You just don't mess with people's livelihoods like that. I worked hard for that money".
We also asked to speak to Tyler's attorney. He said the attorney told him the documents were legal and binding. Tyler wouldn't give us the man's name, but said he would have him give us a call. So far, we have not heard back.
In the meantime, Grand Rapids Police are investigating this as a potential case of fraud.
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