Contractor accused of stealing thousands in Syracuse rental fraud case
A home repair contractor is under arrest, accused of renting out an apartment he had no business leasing.
The property manager said Brian Lynch took deposits totaling several thousands of dollars.
Eric Flynn, with Apartment Medic leasing, said an apartment on Roberts Avenue in Syracuse needs a little work before any tenants move in.
However, he said that did not stop 49-year-old Brian Lynch from taking deposit money from potential renters with the promise it would be theirs at the beginning of January.
"He had no authorization to show the apartment. The apartment was locked. He had broke into the apartment and then represented himself as an agent that was authorized to lease the apartment," Flynn said.
Flynn said Brian Lynch was a contractor working on the apartment above and said he was let go because of his work performance.
About a month and a half later, Flynn said he got several calls from people who thought they had rented the apartment.
"Wondering why we had listed because they had rented it, others had called in because they were looking to find out when they would be able to move in. Some were calling in because the keys they had weren't working," Flynn said.
Melanie McGovern with the Better Business Bureau said she has heard of similar cases in Central New York but potential renters can protect themselves.
"You want to be able to talk to the person, meet them at the property, go look at it. You know, make sure that it is vacant or that it is going to be vacant soon. Do a search for the address, again see if it's listed other places," McGovern said.
McGovern said renters can also contact the county clerk's office to see who owns the property.
Flynn said he knows of at least ten people that were expecting to move into the apartment.
"A lot of these people would have given notice to their landlord that they were going to be moving, then the landlord in turn, gets their old apartment leased, so they're almost being forced out. So, this has the ability to create some people being homeless," Flynn said.
Flynn expects he may hear from more people expecting to move into the apartment.
Syracuse police officials said Brian Lynch was arrested for Petty Larceny and Scheme to Defraud 2nd in two cases and Grand Larceny 4th and Scheme to Defraud 2nd in another case.