The excitement of finding a new place to live turns to anger and tears for three renters. A craiglist ad brought a couple to a rental house in Council Bluffs where a man claiming to be the landlord showed them around.
"He said he owned this house," said Julia Blanchard, victim. "It was haunted and built back in 1972. And he grew up in it."
After leaving with their $900 deposit, the women realized his two receipts had different last names
"I said I knew right there we were scammed," said Kim Ruckman, victim.
The man named Shawn with two last names gave two receipts to the couple claiming to be the landlord. But the actual landlord's name is Mike Limmer.
The women claim to have a Facebook photo of the phony landlord and have since showed it to Limmer.
"I don't know this fool and have never run across either one of these signatures before," said Limmer.
Zach Ainsworth gave a man named Shawn a $300 deposit for the same rental house, but then said he couldn't reach him any longer by phone.
"I've never heard of somebody stealing money from somebody by pretending to be a landlord," said Ainsworth.
Out deposit money, the Ainsworths must move back to Colorado.
"I feel very deceived and sad I have to leave," said Ainsworth.
Though giving $900 to a phony landlord, Julia and Kim may still have place to live thanks to the house owner.
"I could throw them out yes, but what do I gain?" said Limmer. "Nothing. So we're going to work it out the best we can."
"Very thankful, very blessed that he is letting us stay here," said Julia.
The couple has a porch to sit on for awhile, but need their $900 back for future rent. They hope the phony landlord who fooled them will soon have a place to stay behind bars.
Council bluffs police are investigating. A detective tells WOWT 6 News he's tracking down the true identity of the phony landlord.