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Cops: Real estate agent scams would-be renters in Hampton Bays

Melanie Williams, 54, of Manorville, was accused of

Melanie Williams, 54, of Manorville, was accused of scamming would-be renters in Hampton Bays, Southampton Town police said Thursday. Credit: Southampton Town Police Department

A Manorville woman was being held in lieu of $6,000 bail Thursday after being charged with taking deposits for the rental of her friend’s home in Hampton Bays, though the home was not available at the time, authorities said.

Southampton Town Police Lt. Susan C. Ralph said Melanie Williams, 54, a professional real estate agent, took deposits for the home from two prospective renters and when the move-in date approached, she told both victims the rental was “still not available.”

Ralph said the two victims notified Southampton Town police and Williams was arrested Sunday. She has been charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud.

A spokesman for the Southampton Town Justice Court in Hampton Bays said Thursday that Williams was remanded to jail after her arraignment Monday and that the bail had not been posted.

Williams was given a date of Friday to return to court.

It was not immediately known whether Williams was represented by an attorney.

Ralph said that the home Williams was offering for rent is owned by a friend of Williams who stays at the home part time. The friend does rent out the home, but it was not available when Williams took the deposits.

There may be more victims of Williams’ scheme who have not come forward, Ralph said, adding that police are investigating whether at least two other prospective renters were fooled by the scheme.

“We have the two initial [victims] and we believe a third and there could be a fourth,” Ralph said. “We’re asking anyone to come forward who might have tried to rent a place [through Williams].”

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of the alleged scheme or who thinks they might have additional information about the suspect was asked to contact the Southampton Town Police Detective Division at 631-702-2230.

Ralph said she did not know what realty company Williams works for or how much money Williams allegedly took from the victims.

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