Louisville woman arrested after alleged apartment leasing scam - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville woman arrested after alleged apartment leasing scam

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Rhonda Allen (Source: Louisville Metro Corrections) Rhonda Allen (Source: Louisville Metro Corrections)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Police say they've arrested a woman for running an apartment lease scam.

According to court documents, 44-year-old Rhonda Allen made a posting on the popular classifieds Web site Craigslist, advertising the lease of an apartment she had no right to lease.

RELATED STORY: Craigslist scammer allegedly creates fake lease, takes money for apartment, then disappears

From June 21 to July 9, police say Allen accepted a total of $990 from one victim who wanted to rent the apartment on E. Chestnut Street, near S. Shelby Street. The victim, who was living in Alabama, had nowhere else to stay. The individual allegedly paid Allen $40 for an application fee, and examined the apartment.  Police say Allen subsequently got a copy of the victim's credit report and even contacted his references and place of employment. It was then that she allegedly told the victim that he was approved for the apartment, and asked for a $750 security deposit.

Upon receiving the funds, police say Allen told the victim he could move in on July 15, but then asked for $387 -- half the amount of rent. The victim told her he could pay $200, which he supplied on July 9

Eventually, the victim traveled to Louisville from Alabama. Police say he then tried to contact Allen by phone to get the apartment keys, but she wouldn't answer. He later learned from the apartment manager that Allen is actually a tenant in that apartment building, and had no right to rent out any of the apartments.

When the apartment manager called Allen about the incident, Allen allegedly denied any knowledge of what had happened, but later called the victim, offering a refund. 

As of July 14, that refund had not been paid. A warrant was issued for Allen's arrest at that time. 

That wasn't Allen's only case of deception, according to police. Police say another victim, Ashley Twist, gave Allen a total of $2,600 for rental of the apartment -- and new flooring for it.

Twist met Allen in person.

"I signed the lease with her. The lease seemed totally legitimate, and I paid her upfront," Twist said.

He wrote a check for the first and last month's rent.

"In total, it comes out to $3,000," Twist said.

She met with Twist to let him move in, but had yet to give him a key to the apartment. She reportedly told Twist her mother had died, and she would give him a key when she returned.

When WDRB News first spoke with Twist, his belongings were locked inside. 

"I really don't know where she is, but she has since taken off," Twist said.  "I was just trying to be helpful and patient." 

When things started feeling fishy, Twist looked up the property records and found nothing is in Allen's name.

"We contacted the property management group, and he said this same person had done this to two other people in the past week," Twist said.

Allen was arrested on July 26 and charged with theft by deception.

Twist is now able to move into the apartment. 

"As soon as she turns in her keys, I will be the tenant of this apartment," he said. 

Twist plans to take legal action to settle the damage. 

"Do your research. Really pay attention to who owns the property. I did not and it's been a wild ride," Twist said. 

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