Arrest Made Over Housing Scam in the Bronx

Three would-be tenants seeking to rent an apartment were duped out of their deposits.

The outside of the house which contains the basement apartment where the crime is said to have taken place.

The outside of the house which contains the basement apartment where the crime is said to have taken place.

It was no April Fools joke when police arrested Monessa Samuels on three counts of larceny on April 1st.

The police say the 23-year-old Bronx resident duped three victims out of a total of almost $6,000. Posing as a real estate agent, Samuels placed an add on Craigslist for an apartment. On three separate incidents in February, according to police, hopefuls seeking to secure the apartment paid a deposit, after which Samuels would disappear, leaving the victims without their money and without their new home.

The basement apartment that Samuels was pretending to rent is located at 957 Van Nest Avenue in the Bronx. The semi detached two story-building looks empty. The blinds are drawn and the buzzers by the front door have been removed. The front yard is unkept and two newspapers lie on the steps, uncollected.

The disconnected door buzzer.

The disconnected door buzzer.

The landlord speaking anonymously on Bronx News 12 said that he had known about Samuels’ activities and is glad that she has been caught.

Samuels was arrested at 14:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Police said. It is unclear whether the arrest took place at her 6th floor apartment located on Prospect Avenue and 163rd street or somewhere else. Police would not answer any further questions.

A resident of the building who wanted to remain anonymous because he did not want to appear like a snitch, said he has seen Samuels and believes she has been living in the building for the past 10 months. He had no additional information. “I’ve got no knowledge of what she does or how she lives,”he said. Many of Samuels’ neighbors also said that they didn’t know anything about her or the arrest. But most of those approached were unwilling to comment at all.

According to court documents, Samuels has been released and has an appearance scheduled at the Bronx Criminal Court on May 11th. In the past 24 hours she has deactivated her Facebook account and could not be reached for comment. Her LinkedIn profile lists an attendance at the Mandl School from 2013 to 2014 but a person who answered the phone at the school would not confirm if she had attended or not.

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