Craigstlist Apartment Scammer Sentenced to Two Years for Grand Theft

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 2011

CONTACT:
Stephanie Ong Stillman, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167
ADA Omid Talai DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-9272

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – District Attorney George Gascón announced that Rachael Marie Smith (DOB: 12/4/1980 CN 10021872), was sentenced today to two years for swindling 18 would be renters she found on Craigslist out of their first month’s rent and security deposits.

“Defendant Smith stole over one hundred thousand dollars from unsuspecting individuals who thought they secured a place to live in a competitive rental market,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “We hope this case sends a message that stealing people’s hard earned money can result in time in prison.”

Defendant Smith was a tenant in an apartment on the 5600 block of California Street in San Francisco. Even though she had no right to do so, Smith advertised her apartment for rent on Craigslist. When interested renters called, the defendant showed the apartment, and went through an application process. She then rented the apartment out to 18 victims, from whom the defendant took first month’s rent and security deposits (approximately $5,500) from each victim with no intention of actually renting the apartment. The defendant took a total of approximately $110,000.

Director of Law Enforcement Relations for Craigslist, William C. Powell, praised the efforts of San Francisco police and district attorneys for "quickly apprehending and prosecuting the swindler, and facilitating restitution for all of the victims."

On August 29, 2011, the defendant pled guilty to three counts of grand theft in violation of California Penal Code Section 487(a). As a part of the plea, the defendant admitted taking rent and deposit checks from all 18 victims with no intention of renting the apartment. Today, the defendant was sentenced to two years and will be required to pay restitution to all the victims in an amount totaling $110,000.

The conviction is the result of the diligent investigation by San Francisco Police Inspector Monroe. Assistant District Attorney Evan Ackiron prosecuted the case.

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George Gascon