A Bronx man scammed thousands of New York City renters of over $100,000 using fake websites, according to officials from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office.
Officers arrested Robert Guzman, 42, in Bronx Wednesday. He was charged with mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, authorities said.
Authorities said Guzman allegedly posted apartments in the city that were supposedly available for rent on two websites he operated, amazingapartmentrentals.com and equityproject.net.
The Bronx resident would charge an “application fee” to view the apartment listings, according to a criminal complaint filed January 24, 2017 by a United States Postal Inspection Service employee.
After the victims paid the application fee, they were not able to view the apartments for rent, the complaint said. Some of the apartments listed were not even in New York City, while others were not available for rent.
“Mr. Guzman took advantage of the need for affordable housing by allegedly devising a scheme to defaud those who could least afford to lose their hard-earned funds to a scam,” said USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett.
Between 2013 and 2016, Guzman defrauded more than 2,000 people of over $100,000, according to the complaint.
The case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s General Crimes Unit.