VISALIA – A Bakersfield man posing as a real estate agent on Craigslist will have to pay back more than $1,700 in rental deposits he scammed from Visalia residents and serve 210 days in jail.
On March 29, Judge Brett Alldredge sentenced Juan Manual Martinez, aka, Eddie Martinez, 35, of Bakersfield, to 210 days in jail plus restitution for real estate fraud in Department 4 of the Tulare County Superior Court. On Dec. 11, Martinez pleaded no contest to one felony count of grand theft, one felony count of attempted grand theft, and one misdemeanor count of petty theft.
In November 2016, Martinez falsely advertised on Craigslist to rent a home in Visalia. When inquiries were made, Martinez arranged to meet at the house and conduct a walk through. Without the owner’s permission, Martinez made arrangements to rent the property and collected deposits totaling $1,735 from the victims.
When one woman took her children to see their new home, a rental management company employee at the property advised her that the home had not been rented. The same rental company was contacted by another person who had paid a deposit to Martinez but then saw the property management sign at the house. The company advised them to contact the Visalia Police Department. The investigation revealed that Martinez had also fraudulently made an agreement to rent the property to the second renter.