New Details: Palm Springs Couple Fighting Rental Scam
New details in a KMIR6 investigation -- a family tries to rent a home in Palm Springs and is scammed out of a 500 dollar deposit. And a KMIR6 viewer gives the family money to help them find a home. Video by kmir6.comvideo
New clues into the identity of the woman police say scammed a couple.
After the family paid the deposit to a woman, they tried to move in.
The property owners said they never heard of any agreement; the family was out 500 dollars and a place to live.
Engaged couple, Jonathan Merchain and Nadine Guerrero, found a condo for rent on a Facebook page.
A woman called Adriana Flores gave them a tour of the condo. They gave her a 500 dollar deposit.
"Then Monday came around, there was a no show, there was a come later, the contractor is not done, Tuesday I showed up there was a for sale sign," said Merchain.
The property was listed to real estate agent, Lorena Martinez. Her husband owns the condo, she works for Moist Realtors based in Yucaipa.
Her boss, Lonni Granlund, told us how Lorena and Adriana knew each other.
"She had worked with her about five, six years ago in another office, and the lady came to her and was like 'I just got a new job in Palm Springs, and I just need a place for two weeks,'" said Granlund.
Lonni says Lorena was shocked Adriana falsely listed it, and showed Lonni her text messages.
"Said to Adriana several times, what's going on, these people say you're trying to rent it, I just put the property on the market, what are you doing, and they have not been able to find Adriana anywhere," said Granlund.
So while Lonni says her company is not to blame, she still wanted to give back to Jonathan and Nadine.
"Felt really bad for the people so I just gave them the money back, I just, I don't want them to be homeless, I want them to have a place to live, they're just the sweetest nicest people," said Granlund.
"She gave us our refund, it was a long discussion, it's kind of something still think about and see where we go from there, but it was very generous of her to do that," said Merchain.
And a very generous KMIR6 viewer stepped forward.
Wayne Patterson of Cathedral City met the family, and gave them money because of little baby Vince.
"It hurt the baby, the money, the 500, it hurts them too I know, you take stuff away from the baby, and that I can't tolerate," said Patterson.
"I'm giving them the full 500 dollars, plus 50 dollars for him, so they can do what they need to for him," said Patterson.
"We're just very thankful that there's people like Wayne out there, not just for us, we just want a home for our son," said Guerrero.
Palm Springs Police are investigating the case and looking for Adriana Flores, the woman the couple says stole their money.
The real estate owner told us all of her phone numbers are turned off.