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  • Writer's pictureKeith Gantenbein

Colorado "Landlord" Arrested For Phony Rent Payments

A Wheat Ridge, Colorado woman was arrested for renting out a home through Craigslist last week. A woman who identified herself as Lisa Sandoval, advertised the home for almost $1,800 a month, a steal considering the home had four bedrooms.

And a steal it was. Lisa Sandoval’s real name is Michelle Copeland, 39. Copeland had no rights to the home at all. In fact, the home had been vacant for almost 5 years.

When Francine Neilsen saw the advertised home, she jumped at the price, called the number and set up a meeting with Copeland at the home. Francine was working 6 days a week to support her two children and mother. Her credit had suffered, making it almost impossible to rent anywhere. She had been homeless on and off for the past few years. Francine said the house was perfect, and thought it was almost too good to be true. Francine handed Copeland almost $900 in cash towards the first month’s rent. Copeland, in return, gave Neilsen two keys and a lease.

Francine and her two children happily moved in. The next day, the police showed up. Neighbors had called the police thinking there was a possible break in.

Francine showed the police the lease. The police set up a sting operation to catch the phony landlord. Francine called Copeland offering the rest of the rent. When Copeland arrived to pick up the cash, the police ran her car plates. The car plates were stolen, Copeland’s name was phony and she has no right to rent any home.

Francine is out the cash, but says she’s staying the month because she paid for a month. The house goes up for auction next month. Copeland was in court last week and scheduled to be back in court September 11th. She’s facing burglary, felony theft and computer crimes.

There are always people out there who prey on victims developing elaborate schemes. Our email accounts are filled with spam and phishing messages trying to find out our personal information and our bank account information. Even social media has banner ads enticing us to make money with fantastic deals. Popular Craigslist offers free ads making it easy to set up a scam. The old adage “when something seems too good to be true, it usually is” should always be in the back of your mind.

If you have a real estate issue, including foreclosure defense, HOA issues and real estate disputes, in Colorado, contact our real estate attorneys at 303-618-2122. Gantenbein Law Firm's attorneys are also experienced in tax, business, wills, trusts and estate planning, and credit dispute. To discuss the best options for your case, schedule a consult with our attorneys. For more information, visit our website.

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