More victims in alleged Craigslist home scam

There are more stories about people getting scammed on Craigslist.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - There are more victims in an alleged Craigslist scam in Grand Rapids. 

WZZM 13 first reported the problems back on Dec. 5. Three people came forward saying they each gave a man claiming to be the landlord $1,100. 

Shortly after the story aired, two more people came forward, including Jessica Nester. “I thought I received the greatest Christmas present anybody could get. A home." Nester works long hours as a cook at a local restaurant and says she gave the man her entire paycheck.  "I'm out $1,100 and I don't know what to do."

►Related: Craigslist renters rent the same home

Jessica responded to a post on Craigslist. All of the people signed a lease, paid a deposit and first month’s rent for the home in the 1100 block of Davis Avenue. 

The receipts are signed "Mike Hite." Jessica says he claimed to be the landlord and owner of the home.

On Dec. 5, she tried to move-in, but the real landlord was there. "She looks at me, like, who are you? I'm the new tenant. She said no, I'm the landlord. I was like oh no, we have a problem."

Turns out Michael Hite is the tenant. "She told me Michael Hite has been in jail since October, so he couldn't have done this."

The victims eventually identified the man they talked to as Robert Tyler III. He had been living at the Davis house with his girlfriend. She told Jessica she was moving out. "Him and Kristen (the girlfriend) were together when he did all this. So, I thanked her for moving out, so I have a place to live." 

Tyler and his girlfriend have since moved out of the house. 13 On Your Side was able to reach Tyler on his cell phone.  He wouldn't meet with us, but told us the deals he made were legal. He says he was providing a service by helping them find a home. 

He also says he never claimed to be Mike Hite and didn't sign those receipts.

"It's a huge deal. It took a lot for me to come up with this. I basically handed this man my entire paycheck that day. He left me broke, with no place to live," says Nester. 

Grand Rapids Police are investigating the cases as potential fraud.  

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© 2018 WZZM-TV


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