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People in search of a nice Memphis apartment often turn for help to property management companies that can offer a variety of rental possibilities. Sometimes the assistance is not what it might seem, however.

Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies recently arrested a man accused of posing as a leasing agent in order to get potential renters to give him their rental deposits. A Memphis TV station reports that he has been charged with two counts of theft of property of $1,000 to $2,500, as well as two counts of criminal simulation.

Sheriff’s deputies say the 46-year-old Midtown man has been posing as a leasing agent for three years. He is accused of tricking property management companies into believing he’s a licensed agent so that they would hire him to recruit potential renters.

The potential renters then give him their rental deposits. He then disappears with the money, according to WMC’s investigative report.

In fact, a Shelby County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson credited the station with spurring cops into making an arrest. “The fact that (WMC) actually dug it up and followed up on it was enough for us to get warrants and go after him,” said the spokesperson.

The station had aired an investigative report three weeks before the arrest in which the suspect was confronted with a court order fining him $5,000 for five violations. In each violation, it was alleged that the suspect had pretended to be a leasing broker, collected a rental deposit and vanished.

He has never had a real estate license, according to the news report.

A man who said he had been duped by the suspect into giving him a nearly $1,300 deposit said he’s glad an arrest was made. He was reimbursed for his loss by the property management firm that had hired the suspect.

Clearly, the man arrested faces potentially severe punishments, including jail time and fines, if convicted.

An experienced Memphis criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights and freedom.