New Bedford Man Indicted In Alleged Rental Scam

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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A New Bedford man has been indicted on larceny charges after officials say he defrauded people looking for affordable housing.

Attorney General Maura Healey's Office says Victor Tiu Lopez posed as an apartment owner on social media between February and April of this year, and convinced prospective tenants to rent his apartments.

Prosecutors say Lopez would take rental deposits from mostly Spanish-speaking and immigrant tenants, and then ghost them, ultimately disappearing and failing to return their calls.

Officials said Lopez came up with excuses for why his clients couldn't move in, including "telling them that the apartments were still undergoing renovations...or telling them someone else ended up renting the apartment and offer to show them other ones."

Lopez is also charged with two counts of witness intimidation — the AG's Office says he allegedly threatened to kill a community organizer who had been helping Lopez's victims if he went to the police.

Officials said he got more than $22,000 from the scam, from 15 people.

Lopez is due back in court on October 3 to be arraigned.

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