13News viewer helps rental scheme victim

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by Janet Roach

WVEC.com

Posted on November 30, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 2:40 PM

PORTSMOUTH -- Paula Jones now believes that there is plenty of good in this world.  A couple of weeks ago, that was not the case.

Jones was ripped off in a rental house scheme.  She responded to a "for rent" sign at a home at 1500 Effingham Street in Portsmouth.  When she met the landlord, who identified herself as Sharon Wilson, she wasn't allowed to go inside because Wilson told her the house was being renovated. 

Jones paid a $1,200 deposit anyway, on what appeared to be just the house she was looking to rent.  When she got the keys weeks later, the house was completely trashed with no signs of any rehab work being done. Profanity covered the walls, holes were in the ceilings, junk and dirt were everywhere.  Later, Jones discovered the lease was fake and the inspection report on the home had been fabricated.  As it turns out, the house was condemned by the city of Portsmouth last Spring, after it was listed with numerous code violations.

"I don't trust anybody now. I don't trust anybody now, seriously," Jones said.

But her attitude was about to change.  After Jones' story aired on 13News, a viewer stepped up to help. He wants to remain anonymous but says he felt like he had to do something to assist.  The anonymous good Samaritan sent Jones $1,000.

Immediately, she broke down in tears.  Speaking through her sobs, she said, "There are some good people out there and this is proof.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!"

Meanwhile, Portsmouth police spokesperson, Jan Westerbeck, says detectives in the fraud department are following up on some leads as they look for the landlord, Sharon Wilson and the person who owns the house.

City records show it belongs to Ty'quan Williams. He also owned a house across the street, 1329 Effingham Street, that he sold to Joe McMullen in October. That house was also condemned in the Spring and scheduled for demolition. McMullen says he was unaware of those issues when he purchased the home that he says was in foreclosure.

Jones keeps in close contact with police for updates on her case. For now, she's just thankful to have some money to put toward a new place.

 

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