Houston-area 76-year-old and her daughter scammed in elaborate rental property scheme

State News

(KXAN)

HUMBLE, Texas (KXAN) — Kristi Martinez and her 76-year-old mother thought they’d found the perfect home to rent right before the holidays.

Martinez was told she could tour the home on her own and when she arrived, the lockbox on the front door worked, letting her inside. Satisfied with the layout, she decided to take it.

“He asked us for $1,500,” Martinez told KPRC in Houston.

She said the person, who she found through a Facebook listing, told her the money was for a deposit and rent. While some things seemed odd, other things still lined up — so Martinez wired the money directly to the account she was given.

She said it was the only money she had left.

But on move-in day, mother and daughter were met with a sad surprise.

“There’s no heat and there’s no hot water,” Martinez told KPRC.

As she tried to have the problem fixed, Martinez was met with the ultimate shock: police in the driveway, coming to tell her she and her mother were trespassing.

The person Martinez had been communicating with was not the property owner.

“I really like [the house], and I really wanted it,” Martinez said. 

While mother and daughter were told they could stay through Thanksgiving, the holiday, the heartbreak lingers.

Martinez told KPRC both the police and her bank are investigating.

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