BUSHWICK, Brooklyn — Police say a serial con artist is at it again.
His M-O is the same. He takes deposit money from unsuspecting victims supposedly to rent an apartment. It then turns out either the apartment is not be available or he adds on additional fees. If the victims want their money back, they have a hard time getting it.
Police at the 83rd precinct in Brooklyn have issued a warrant for Nathan Smith’s arrest. Cops say there are at least four new victims.
“He’s just running a serial Ponzi scheme taking my money,” says John Palladino, one of the new victims.
Palladino answered an ad on Craigslist. What he didn’t know at the time was Smith did not have a right to rent the apartment. It was another realtor’s listing and worse, the apartment was already rented.
Palladino said he wrote a check out for $975 and gave it to Smith. Smith told him the money was for a deposit and a $75 application fee for the apartment in Brooklyn.
“Then I stumbled across a photo from another listing agent. I saw the apartment I was supposed to lease. I reached out to that agent and he says it was rented. Once I realized it was all leased up I knew it was a full scam,” said Palladino.
Palladino contacted Smith. He wanted his money back. Palladino tells PIX11 he has repeatedly called Smith and Smith promises the money, sets up meeting times and then doesn’t show up or shows up without the money.
After nearly 3 months, Palladino says he has gotten only half the money back. He has now contacted the authorities and has filed a police report.
Nathan Smith was the subject of a Help Me Howard investigation last year. Police from the 94th precinct saw the story and busted him. They charged Smith with grand larceny and petit larceny. To avoid jail time he copped a plea and agreed to return the money to the victims.
Palladino says Smith still owes him $500. Just this week, Smith contacted him wanting to set up a meeting to return the money. Palladino says he doesn’t buy his story and it’s too, little too late. At this point, he’s leaving it all up to the police.
“He’s just taking the money throwing it around running a scam. I just want him to go to jail.”