Tearful families left waiting again after 'housing scam' in Holiday

Some claim 'phony' landlord promised to repay
Posted at 11:11 PM, Apr 14, 2017

Several families tell ABC Action News they are still scrambling to find a home after they say a phony landlord swiped their cash and left them with no place to live. 

It's an update to a story ABC Action News first investigated on Thursday. 

RELATED: Renters claim 'housing scam' in Holiday, duped out of thousands of dollars




Ten families have since come forward claiming they responded to a Craigslist ad for a house on Woodfield Ave. in Holiday, but later discovered the house was promised to several others after handing over thousands of dollars in deposits and advanced rent. 

Michael Burke traveled from Alabama with his wife and two kids for a job in marine sales. 

After forking over nearly $2,000 up front, Burke soon realized his family's new home in Holiday was too good to be true. 

"Everything was spent, we have to start at ground zero now essentially," said Burke. "We came down here to look for a house and a happy life and apparently we just got to keep looking."

Burke says the man who posted that online rental advertisement promised to show up outside the house Friday night and repay some of the money. 

"We're here and he's no where to be seen," Burke told ABC Action News Friday night. 

A couple dozen people showed up Thursday night to get answers, waiting outside the house claiming they already paid thousands in deposits and rent in advance for an early April move-in date. 

Many of the same people were back at the house, waiting outside Friday. 

"This is his second chance," said Amiee Kobielnik, who spoke to him over the phone Friday.  "He stated 'oh God.' I said there you have it, you better get off the phone and speak to him."

Pasco County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating to find out who exactly is legally allowed to rent out the house.  We've been promised more information on this case to be released early next week. 

"He took our money and ran," said Jessica Burke. "Hard-earned money that we were going to support our family with, it's gone."  

"I would love the money back, but I would love to see him in jail," said Burke.