The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested two men Friday for falsely advertising themselves as representatives of unoccupied residences and renting them out for money.
Hyman "Devin" O'Neil, 22, and Leo Miller, 54, were charged with organized fraud after the documented owners of the properties learned that unknown individuals were residing in their homes.
According to JSO, investigators in the Economic Crimes Unit have reason to believe there may be more victims of this scam.
Officials want to remind the public to be aware of some common red flags that may indicate the listing could be phony:
- The residence is dirty, needs repairs or has signs of forced entry
- Only accepting of cash, money orders, or ask to wire money
- The request of deposit without seeing the rental first
Another tip before renting is to check with the bank and/or executor of estate that the property is, in fact, a rental. Research prices in the area and if the price is well below market value, you may need to do more exploration.
Also, check the company with the Department of Business and Professional Resources and verify real estate licenses at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/.
Anyone who believes they've been a victim to either of the two suspects or had previously attempted to rent property from them, please contact the JSO at 904-630-0500.