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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

MISS FORTUNE LOOKS BACK: The Arrest of Charlevoix Craigslist Rental Scammer David Lee Hunter

Exactly one year ago today, fugitive Craigslist rental scammer David Lee Hunter was arrested in Chicago.

The arrest came after a reader of this blog sent Miss Fortune a tip regarding Hunter's location, forwarded to the Traverse City Police Department for action by the detective assigned to Hunter's case.

Hunter had originally been arrested on November 5, 2012 and charged with six felony counts of false pretenses between $1,000 and $20,000 and released on bond November 21.  A bench warrant was issued for Hunter's arrest on December 21, 2012 after he failed to appear at a 1:00pm scheduling conference.

Police said Hunter signed a month lease on a Wadsworth Street in Traverse City during the summer of 2012. He then put the home up for rent on Craigslist and set up separate tours for potential renters.

Hunter claimed to be the home's legal owner — or that he was in partnership with the owner — and signed several one-year lease agreements with the potential renters. He collected six $1,000 payments intended as security deposits, police said.

All of the fake leases were supposed to start on October 15, and one of the renters contacted police not long after that when they began to suspect the deal was a scam. Hunter was in contact with all parties and repeatedly provided excuses as to why they couldn't yet move in.

Police checked with the vacation rental group that rented the home to Hunter, and a woman there confirmed that Hunter had no authority to rent the property at all, let alone for a period of time past his lease.

During Hunter's time on the lam, Miss Fortune heard from people all over the world who'd been victimized by Hunter—providing documents that verified their claims of fraud.

Miss Fortune was in the courtroom for Hunter's sentencing hearing, and watched as Hunter affirmed his plea deal in front of Grand Traverse County Circuit Court Judge Philip E. Rodgers, Jr.

Hunter plead guilty to two felony counts of conversion by false pretenses. In return, the Grand Traverse County Prosecuting Attorney agreed to drop the four additional felony counts.

Reviewing Hunter's version of the events, Rodgers said he didn't know if Hunter was "delusional of the smoothest con man he'd ever met".  Either way, Rodgers said Hunter was "not normal".

Courtesy MDOC
Rodgers cited Hunter's claim of being a "business partner" of New York City Michael Bloomberg as "delusional". Rodgers told Hunter that although he recognized his intelligence, there were no "Mensa cells" in prison. Rodgers told Hunter he could have applied himself to a business, "like Amway", and been legitimately successful.

Rejecting the 10-23 month sentence recommendation, Rodgers stated Hunter was "inconsistently eligible for boot camp" and sentenced him to 23-60 months in prison. In addition, Hunter will have to repay the remaining $8,079.32 in restitution to his victims.

Although this blog was the catalyst, it's likely that Hunter would still be on the run if it hadn't have been for those who read Hunter's story on this blog and reached out to Miss Fortune...and you all know who you are!

Just look what can happen when people work together.

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