(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) A real estate dealer went on trial accused of conning three families of Dh106,000 in a rent scam.
The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance heard that the Emirati man took the cash for rent from the Indian and Arab men after showing them apartments in a villa located in Al Shamkha area of Abu Dhabi and convincing them that they belonged to him.
The tenants had paid a total of Dh106,000 to the man for the year's rent.
Official court documents showed that the victims had contacted the house owner after seeing an ad for renting villa apartments in a newspaper and online.
One of the victims - an Indian national - said he saw an ad on a website about a flat being leased out in Al Shamkha area. He said he phoned the number that was on the ad and an Egyptian national sent him the location on WhatsApp, whiling telling him to call up the Emirati owner of the house if he wanted it.
The victim said after seeing the villa with his wife, they contacted the owner to complete the necessary procedures.
The man told them that his wife was ill and being admitted to Mafraq Hospital. The couple reportedly went and met the Emirati man near the hospital. The man showed them a copy of his passport and documents confirming ownership of the villa.
The victim said he handed the man Dh67,000 after he signed for him a lease agreement for one year.
"When I phoned him the following day to get the apartment keys, the man told me that he was in Al Ain city and that he would give me the keys the followingSunday," the Indian said in the court.
"The man, however, didn't bring the keys. I phoned him again and again but he didn't pick up my calls."
He said he also sent him WhatsApp messages and he told him to go to the apartment which was open but he found out it wasn't.
"I then realised that I was cheated so I reported the matter to police," he said.
The second victim - an Arab man - said he paid the Emirati Dh17,000 in cash and the man gave him a signed housing contract for one year.
The man said he moved to the villa with his family and stayed in the flat for a week during which he tried to contact the Emirati to carry out maintenance on some parts of the flat, but he never responded.
"A month later, I was shocked when another person knocked on the door and told me that he was the real owner of the villa and that he didn't know me," said the Arab man.
A third victim - also an Arab - said he had given the Emirati Dh22,000 to rent him an apartment in Shakhbut city. And after staying in the flat for a month, the real owner of the house came and told him to vacate because he had never received any money from him.
Prosecutors charged the Emirati with forging official documents and fraudulently taking tenants' money.
The Egyptian man, who allegedly helped him to publish an advertisement in a newspaper and online showing that the Emirati had houses for rent, was also charged in the case.
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