MIAMI – A Miami woman who passed herself off as a landlord on Zillow scammed at least four prospective tenants out of thousands of dollars, collecting security deposits for a property she didn't own, police said.
Julia Rosario, 55, faces multiple counts of third-degree grand theft and organized scheme to defraud.
According to police reports, Rosario duped the unsuspecting victims who replied to an advertisement for a rental property on Zillow, identifying herself as Nadia Abreu and claiming to be the owner of 529 NW 23rd Place.
Police said Rosario would show the victims the house and then collect various cash deposits, even providing them with receipts. The victims signed a lease and prepared to move in, only to receive bad news in the form of a text message.
All four victims received a message, claiming to be from their landlord's husband, that Abreu had been killed in a crash and that the rental agreement was canceled. However, when the victims tried to get their money back, they never heard from anyone again.
When the victims went to the home, they found it vacant with notes from other victims of the same scheme.
Investigators determined that Rosario rented the home from the rightful owner but abandoned the property in late February and prematurely ended her lease for unknown reasons.
Rosario "was never authorized or permitted to rent or sublease the property by the owner and their representatives," the reports said.
Police said Rosario scammed the victims out of about $8,000. Investigators believe there may be other victims.
Del Rosario was arrested Thursday and booked into jail.