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Phony landlord had more victims, police say

Search reveals other complaints about apartment scam

Toronto Star, August 20, 2002
by John Deverell

The con man who scammed two students by pretending to rent them a downtown condo has at least nine such victims, police say.

A search of police records revealed the other complaints against a man who showed Toronto condos and apartments he didn't own to prospective tenants, then made off with their deposit cheques, said Toronto fraud detective Chris Gordon, who was assigned to the case five days after the most recent complaints.

Ryerson University students Daniella Constanzo and Vanessa Neshevich, say they were bilked of $900 trying to rent a condo at 120 St. Patrick St. from a man who called himself "Robert Reid." Alyssa Nguyen, said she lost $1,000 trying to rent the same place.

Another woman, Julia Landry, told The Star yesterday that she also lost $1,000 after responding to the same Star classified ad near the end of July.

Constanzo and Neshevich say their most serious gripe, beyond losing hard-earned cash, is that Reid's deception ate up the time they needed to find an affordable apartment. They have since taken rooms separately.

One Star reader, Rahim Moosa, said "Reid" pretended to rent him a condo at 270 Queen's Quay W. last March and appeared to be well-known to staff and residents of the building.

Moosa dogged Reid and recovered $2,200 of his $2,400 deposit, but heard from condo staff that others were not so lucky.

One resident at 270 Queen's Quay W., realtor Wes Hardy, told The Star that Reid had rented an apartment in the building. When the owner decided to sell it using Hardy as the agent, Reid was co-operative.

Hardy said he provided him with a few meals and gave him some clothes. Their friendship ended when Reid started charging drinks to Hardy's bar tab.

Malcolm Marcus, manager of TSE Property Services, said he too has complained to police about Reid's activities.

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