A con-man scam artist, ONE News first exposed last year, may be pulling exactly the same ruse just weeks before she is sentenced for her previous crime.
Last year ONE News revealed a sub-letting fraud, where a woman rented out flats she didn’t actually own. Now, after investigating another series of renting frauds it has been discovered the same woman may be up to the same tricks.
The woman, Esther Peters, was convicted last year for illegally taking money from people who thought they were renting an apartment.
She was convicted of obtaining money by deception and will be sentenced in July. She had been renting out properties which she didn’t own, and never handing over the keys.
9 months later, two Australian sisters tipped ONE News off about a very similar scheme.
Jessica and Jasmyn Karikas answered an ad for an apartment to rent in central Auckland. Everything looked promising, so they handed over $1,800 for rent and bond.
“A week later when we were supposed to move in no one was there to pick up the keys,” says Jessica.
The woman who had taken their money wouldn’t answer their calls – in fact she wasn’t in a position to rent the apartment because she didn’t even own it.
Police are now in possession of a photo of the woman concerned and although they won’t categorically confirm it is Esther Peters, they say the woman does look a lot like her.
Other Auckland property managers say they have been hit by the same scheme of rental scammers. However the difference this time is that the people responsible are Asian.
“After they have spent two or three days getting all the queries for the apartment they then cancel their phones and move on to another apartment,” says Auckland property manager Gavin Aitkin.