A Far Rockaway man has been charged with defrauding three people by renting them a vacant house that he did not own in North Woodmere, police said.
Vernon Glass, 32, went into the house on Rosedale Road on April 1, turned on the electrical system and changed the locks, Nassau County police said.
“The defendant then defrauded three victims by renting out the residence and collecting rent while acting as the building’s landlord,” police said in a news release.
But his defense attorney, Jason Russo of Bay Shore, said Glass is actually the victim, not the perpetrator, of the fraud.
Glass rented the house, from someone who pretended to be the landlord, for $1,100 per month in December, Russo said.
The fake landlord stopped collecting the rent in April, around the same time the property’s owner questioned why Glass was living there and started civil eviction proceedings against him, the attorney said.
Russo also said the three renters named in the complaint against Glass are his wife, mother and brother, all of whom were living in the house and sleeping when police arrived to arrest Glass Thursday. They, along with the couple’s two children, were forced to leave the home permanently, the attorney said.
“They named the family members living there as the victims he was cheating,” Russo said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Police declined to comment. Representatives for the district attorney’s office could not be reached.
Glass was arraigned Friday in First District Court in Hempstead on charges of burglary, larceny, criminal mischief and scheme to defraud, according to online court records. He was released on his own recognizance with certain conditions.