September 19, 2017
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Maine rental scam victim says anonymous donor ‘saved my family’

By Marissa Bodnar, CBS 13
Courtesy of CBS 13 | BDN
Courtesy of CBS 13 | BDN
Lorretta Pottle of Lewiston said a man who claimed to be a landlord stole $980 from her, but an anonymous donor gave her that much money and more to help find a new place to live.

As the investigation into a Lewiston rental scam grows, so does help for the victims.

Lorretta Pottle said all of the money she lost in the scam was replaced when a stranger donated $1,150 to her online fundraiser page after seeing a story about her on CBS 13.

“I can’t even find the words to thank this man enough,” said Pottle.

She’s breathing a sigh of relief.

“It honestly saves my family, it really does,” Pottle said.

She lost $980 dollars earlier in the week, when an advertisement for a three-bedroom apartment on Facebook turned out to be a scam. Pottle shared her experience with CBS 13 this week to warn other renters.

“He walked us through. He said he was the landlord, his grandfather owned it,” Pottle said.

Turns out, the building wasn’t his and that man took off with Pottle’s cash.

“I just want him off the streets. I don’t want him to do it to somebody else,” said Pottle.

Lewiston Police Lt. David St. Pierre said three people have filed complaints identifying the same Main Street address and the same suspect, who they haven’t been able to speak with.

“This individual seems to be knowledgeable enough that he’s putting together documents they’re signing, providing receipts, but he doesn’t have the right or privilege to do so,” said St. Pierre. “So it’s concerning to us that he’d take those steps to defraud somebody.”

They’re warning the public to beware of fraudulent advertising.

“Be wary of it,” said St. Pierre. “Check and double check your facts. Contact City Hall to see who actually owns the property.”

Pottle said that’s exactly what she’s doing. Her family has five days to find a new home before they’re evicted, but thanks to kindness from a stranger, they now have the means to do so.

“It’s given me part of my faith in humanity back, it really has,” Pottle said. “I had given up after he took everything that we had.”

 


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