McMINNVILLE, Ore. (KOIN) -- A known con artist accused of defrauding 14 potential rental applicants using the same McMinnville apartment was charged in Yamhill County Friday afternoon.
He faces nine counts of first-degree theft by deception.
Jerry Rosenstiel was arrested at his home in Aurora on Thursday. Investigators claim he duped people into putting down deposits for rental properties he posted on Craigslist that are not his properties.
According to McMinnville police, the investigation began July 23, when a woman contacted investigators to report that she had signed a lease for an apartment at 242 SW Manzanita St. She said she had responded to a rental posting and met with a man who identified himself as ‘Jerry Carpenter'. She agreed to rent the apartment, then signed a lease and paid Carpenter more than $1,000 in cash deposits. The woman said that during the transaction, she observed certain indicators that made her suspicious that this was a possible scam.
Later that day, a second victim contacted McMinnville police with a similar story, saying the suspect had also used the same name, Jerry Carpenter. Over the next two weeks, eight more people came forward, some of whom had responded to a Craigslist ad. In each case, the victim signed a lease and paid a deposit with the understanding that they could move in at the beginning of August.
Investigators eventually identified the suspect as Rosenstiel, a con artist who has been involved in numerous scams over the past several years.
His attorney said Rosenstiel is very sick and needs to be let out of jail.
"It looks to me like he's got cancer," the attorney said. "I'm not saying it's a definitie diagnosis, but it sure looks like it to me."
The judge wanted proof before even considering whether to release Rosenstiel.
At the hearing Friday, the court was packed with his alleged victims and Rosenstiel's family members.
His attorney admitted Rosenstiel collected between $1,000 and $2500 in rent and security deposits from several different families after they responded to a Craigslist ad to rent a house on SW Manzanita Street in McMinnville.
Rosenstiel's attorney then asked the judge to let Rosenstiel out if he offered to repay all the victims within seven days -- about $16,000.
No one from his family would talk with KOIN 6 News about the case.
KOIN 6 News asked him, "Why can't his wife just give the money back?"
"You'd have to ask her," the attorney replied.
"She said to ask you."
"You've come full circle then."
Rosenstiel's criminal record dates back to the 1970s and includes more than 120 charges.
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