HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Homestead police are searching for a woman and two men who they said were involved in a real estate scam that targeted victims on social media.
According to a news release from the Homestead Police Department, there are multiple cases in which Priscilla Marie Contreras, 32, pretended to be a realtor and lured victims to vacant homes “via social media where Yordani Carriles Diaz (43 years old) and Deinoser Bravo (47 years old) would pose as homeowners and conduct money transactions with the victims.”
A man named Kenny told Local 10 News that he spotted the listing on Facebook with the seller’s information, and when he visited the Miami-Dade home, a woman named Priscilla and two others greeted him.
“We came through, we liked the property. I mean, everything looked legit,” Kenny said.
He said he signed a lease and handed over more than $5,000 for first and last month’s rent, as well as a security deposit.
On move-in day, which was Tuesday, Kenny who is also a father of two, said he arrived in a U-Haul when he saw other families pulling up to the property.
What Kenny didn’t know is that Contreras had access to the property, because court records show Contreras was the home’s tenant, fighting eviction.
Another victim of the scam was Maria Urra, who is 7-months pregnant and said she gave the trio close to $5,000 in cash after seeing the post on Facebook Marketplace.
“I am trying to look for a place where I could bring my baby when I give birth,” Urra said after giving them all of her savings.
The homeowners said Contreras stopped paying rent and she is on the radar of Homestead detectives.
“The Homestead Police Department does believe there are many more victims out there,” Capt. Fernando Morales said.
Police say Contreras pretended to be a realtor while Bravo and Diaz posed as homeowners.
They are now wanted in at least eight cases in an organized scheme to defraud in Homestead.
Police say they lured their victims with listings on social media and they do believe there are more victims.
Miami-Dade police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta confirmed that his department is also investigating several cases regarding rental fraud, but said they are still “in the process of identifying the subject.”
Anyone with information about the suspects or their whereabouts is asked to call the Homestead Police Department at 305-247-1535 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.