MIAMI – Miami police accuse two women of bilking multiple prospective renters out of thousands of dollars for a Little Havana apartment they never got to live in.
According to an arrest report, the victims realized they were scammed after they all showed up at the same time to get their keys.
In the report, a detective said one of the victims had seen an ad in Diario Las Americas, a Spanish-language newspaper, for a one-bedroom apartment at 1400 NW Third Street and contacted the number listed.
The report states a woman named Hamanda replied and instructed the victim to meet her on Feb. 28 at an office on Southwest Eighth Street and bring $4,050 cash for the security deposit, plus first and last month’s rent.
Hamanda allegedly told the man, who was under the impression that she was a realtor, that he would get the key the next day.
Police said when the man arrived, Hamanda wasn’t there, but two other victims were, saying that the same apartment had been rented to them by two women named Hamanda and Natalia.
The victims went to the Southwest Eighth Street office to try to see if they could locate the two women, police wrote. After hours of waiting, they realized they had been scammed.
One of the victims had taken a photo with Hamanda, police wrote. They later picked Hamanda and Natalia out of a police lineup.
“Hamanda,” it turns out, was actually 21-year-old Valerie Meza-Faublack, an unemployed Venezuelan national who resides in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood, the report states.
Police wrote that “Natalia” was actually 19-year-old Alejandra Martinez-Gonzalez.
Meza-Faublack was arrested after meeting detectives at Miami police headquarters Wednesday. She faces charges of third-degree grand theft, organized scheme to defraud and acting as a real estate broker without a license, all felonies.
According to the police report, Martinez-Gonzalez remained at large at the time of Meza-Faublack’s arrest.