Police: Phony realtor duped clients out of thousands

EAST MEADOW - Police say an East Meadow man scammed thousands of dollars from unsuspecting victims in a real estate scam that spanned several months.Jamel Smith, 38, allegedly used Craigslist and other real estate websites to meet his victims. Investigators say he'd show prospective renters homes all over Nassau County, promising to negotiate deals for them.Instead, officials say he simply pocketed their deposits, sometimes amounting to as much as $5,000. The scam lasted several months, until police say Smith was caught when multiple renters showed up to move into the same house. Investigators say Smith was fired from his job, but say he didn't stop there. Police say Smith also created fake companies and fake rental applications. They believe that in total, victims' financial losses could top $200,000. Smith has been charged with multiple counts of grand larceny and fraud. Anyone else who believes they may be a victim is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.

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