ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A family moving from Michigan to Central Florida got duped renting a home in West Orange County. Deputies are now investigating the case as fraud.
“There's bugs all over the place, nobody has cleaned this up. Nobody has lived here in ages,” said Nathaniel Saunders.
Add that to no power and no running water, but those problems seemed minor compared to what they soon came to realize.
“He noticed the ‘for lease’ sign in the corner which I didn't notice before. That's when it hit me” said Shaunte McArthur.
First thing the next morning, the couple called the man the number of the “for lease” sign leaning against the neighbor’s fence.
“We called the number and found out the person we'd been communicating with had no affiliation with the property,” said McArthur.
They’d been duped out of their $800 deposit and a place to live. The couple found the listing for the property on line. McArthur had already moved down the previous week to start her job, so she called the number. The man on the other end of the line told her she could see the property that night and gave her a lock box code.
“I went in looked around. I told him I thought it was feasible to live in and I wanted to move my family in,” said McArthur. She says he accepted her rent application, and asked her to wire him the down payment. “He gave me the okay to keep the key and move our stuff in,” said McArthur.
After she thought she secured the home, McArthur gave her boyfriend the green light to pack up their two-year-old and everything he could to fit into their car to make the 16 hour drive from Detroit.
McArthur was able to get a job transfer allowing her to help care for her elderly ailing father. She never imagined she’d end up dealing with this stressful situation.
“Its going to be pretty difficult to try to get a down payment for another place to live. I went into my 401k. I took everything in there to move down here. It's just evil, evil to pray on a family like that."
Since Saunders served in the Air Force, they’re hoping they can find a local veterans group to help them out as they try to find a new place to live.