Johanna Persson sat on the grass outside the building in tears, devastated after she and her fiancé learned they had lost their 11,800-kronor ($1,400) deposit and would not be picking up the keys to their first home together after all.
“It’s awful. I have never felt so stupid and so conned,” she told newspaper Sydsvenskan.
“This was supposed to be our first apartment. We thought he owned it,” she added, referring to the man who had responded to the pair’s posting on the buy-and-sell website Blocket.
In fact the man had been subletting the apartment. The owner booted him out at the end of July after receiving the first reports of the scam.
All of the would-be tenants left in the lurch on Wednesday had signed contracts and paid a deposit into the scammer’s bank account. Some had even coughed up a month’s rent in advance.
Roland Forsblom, the head of the housing association where the apartment is located, totted up how much he believed the man had earned from the 23 people he had conned over the course of the summer.
“There’s 400,000 kronor that we know about,” he told the newspaper.
The police have so far received five reports of fraud in connection with the apartment in the Slottsstaden district.
“I can’t understand how we haven’t been able to prevent this. My advice to others is to ask the board [of the housing association] for documentation from the apartment registry, where you can see who owns the apartment.”
READ ALSO: How to avoid fraud in the Swedish house-hunt
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