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 Craigslist rental scammer gets prison

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michibait
Master of Master Baiters


Joined: 15 Jan 2010
Posts: 793


PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Full story and video:

http://www.woodtv.com/news/local/ionia-county/craigslist-rental-scammer-gets-prison

IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) - Crooks who perpetrate phony online home rentals often get away with it because they're not even in the U.S. But one West Michigan man who tried it got caught -- and he's going to prison.

"This is a person standing before the court that frankly doesn't deserve any mercy from this court," Ionia County Prosecutor Ron Schafer said at Tuesday sentencing proceedings in an Ionia courtroom.

And Jeffrey Boelens didn't get any. An Ionia County Circuit Judge sentenced him to prison for between two and a half and 14 years. The prosecutor and the judge both cited Boelens' long criminal history and frequent cases of fraud.

Boelens' lawyer said the sentence was way out of line, but the prosecutor saw it differently.

"He's demonstrated time and time again if he's out, the public isn't safe. They're going to be ripped off. There's going to be scams," Schafer said.

In this case, two people gave Boelens $1,300 each to rent the Ionia Township house he owned and had advertised on Craigslist. But when it came time for them move in, he lied that the house had been suddenly foreclosed upon and kept their money.

"Then when he disappeared. We couldn't find him," victim Dawn Eastman said. "Finding him on Facebook and seeing he's winning $300 an hour at Gun Lake Casino while I'm sitting there homeless. I don't have a place for my kids to sleep. I don't have anything. I have no money. So yes, I was a little bit pissed."

Boelens told the victims in court that he felt so sorry, and that not only will he pay them back, but they're also going to have a new friend as well.

"I've had a lot of time to think now and I feel so very bad for all of you and as soon as I'm released I'm going to make restitution with all of you," he said.

But then the judge reminded everyone that investigators found a letter Boelens wrote to his wife with detailed instructions on how to scam people on Craigslist.

"His whole statement was a fake as he is. It was a lie," Eastman said.

Eastman was one of the people who lost the rent money to Boelens. She moved back to Ionia County from North Dakota to find she had no place to live.

"We didn't know what to do. We were homeless. I moved over a thousand miles to be here and I had no home," she said. "I was out money, moving expenses, a home. We couldn't find a place to live. We had to re-home our Chihuahuas. It was a horrible experience."

There may be other victims out there who haven't complained. Eastman says that on Facebook, Boelens wrote he was showing the house to many people even before she tried to rent the place.
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Capone
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Joined: 16 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Great result, but all too rare. Thank you for posting, fellow mittenite.

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Gigglesworth
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Joined: 18 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:38 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Another reminder of why we do what we do. Thanks for sharing this. I'm glad he got caught.
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Basinga
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Joined: 02 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:45 am Reply with quoteBack to top

michibait wrote:
"I've had a lot of time to think now and I feel so very bad for all of you and as soon as I'm released I'm going to make restitution with all of you," he said.


A miracle of justice! The man's reformed! Quick, let's get onto the parole board and lobby for an early release! This man deserves a pardon!!

*bang*

Oh crap, my sarcasm generator just exploded...
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