Family scammed by craigslist rental

Posted at 6:30 PM, Sep 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 18:30:36-04

A Tampa mother and her three children are looking for a new home, after renting a foreclosed house leased by a con-artist.

"All I've been doing is crying for the last three days," Laquetta Adam said.

Adam found a notice of eviction on her front door on Tuesday. It said anyone in the home had until Thursday to get out. The problem, the former owner of the home's name was on it.

"I'm here now packing my stuff, don't know where to go." She said.

Adam's family is from Tallahassee. She and her three children moved to Tampa for a new start.

"A new start at life," she said.

They lived in a hotel for two months while they searched for an affordable place to rent. She found a home on craigslist, called the number and toured the house.

"I told him (the fake landlord) 'I love it'," she said. "Gave him my money. He gave me my receipt and gave me the lease. From there, I've been here since March, 1st.

She paid $4,500 for a deposit and 6-months rent. The landlord, known as James Sampson, acted like a landlord too.

He did repairs when asked. He even came to the home to plant flowers in the front yard, Adam said. But that treatment stopped after Adam called about the posted eviction. His number is now disconnected. The address he listed for himself on the lease doesn't exist.

Adam has been to court twice this week. She filed two emergency motions to stay on the property for a little bit longer. Both of those motions were denied by a judge. She says she called the bank too, asking to rent the home for a month. She says she even asked if she could potentially buy the home.

"They said 'no.' They just want off the property," she explained. "Some stopped by saying they were going to move us out this weekend."

We called and emailed Citi Mortgage and their attorneys. After explaining what was going on, they called us back. The bank is now extending the move-out deadline to October 7th while they investigate what happened. That timeframe could be extended further, depending on what they discover.