Craigslist rental con suspect has long history of fraud



Posted on October 7, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 7 at 11:29 PM

SPOKANE -- More people are coming forward claiming they have been ripped off thousands of dollars in a Craigslist rental con.  Now the lease on the property in question is leading back to a Spokane man with a history of fraud.

Some claim the man used the name of Jeff with various last names.  His ex-wife and the real owner of the property said the man's name is Jeffery Crutchfield.  They claim he signed at least one bogus lease in that name.

Five families have come forward taken by a possible Craigslist con on Monday.  They paid the deposits, then showed up to move in only to realize the man who rented them the house was not the actual owner.  These people were also caught up in the North Spokane home, signing a lease and paying a $1,400 deposit.
"He said the place wasn't ready so we went there to go see why it wasn't ready to see if our keys worked.  And our keys didn't work, nothing worked," said one alleged victim.

But what is different for them is a lease with the name of Jeffrey Crutchfield. 

"He wrote his real name and everything on our lease it's not like with the other people they didn't know his real name," said an alleged victim.

The actual property owners say Crutchfield was renting his property.  He had no idea Crutchfield allegedly rented out the house to five different people through Craigslist.  Crutchfield's ex-wife also confirmed he did not own the house.  Now the victims continue to text message the man they believe is Crutchfield. 

"we texted him 'cause that's the only way he communicated by texting.  He wouldn't call us," said another alleged victim.
Crutchfield told these people, and KREM 2 News, that he will return the money which is about $1,500 for each family.  But none of them have seen a penny.

A search shows Crutchfield has a lengthy record ranging from state fraud on a disability claim to a car accident that left a young woman paralyzed.  He is scheduled to be in court this month for a protection order filed by his ex-wife.