Charges have been laid in a large rental fraud investigation, involving dozens of students in Halifax each duped out of hundreds of dollars.
Cyrano Carette, a 26-year-old man from Bedford, has been charged with three counts each of fraud, theft and false pretences, and there could be more charges coming.
For at least eight months, Carette has allegedly been sucking-in unsuspecting students into a rental scam at 1740 Robie Street, just blocks from Dalhousie University.
It all started with one complaint from a 19-year-old woman.
"I'm really happy we're finally getting some results but I'm still really waiting to get our money back," said the complainant, who doesn't want to be identified.
She says she signed a lease and forked out $2,200 to Carette, for rent and a deposit to hold a three-bedroom flat for September.
When he stopped talking to her, she went online and found others who also pre-paid for that same apartment.
She sent out a warning on the online classified site Kijiji, and within one day she said she has seven replies.
Two weeks ago, police arrested Carette, charging him with theft, fraud and false pretences involving the woman and her two roommates.
"We can only do what the Criminal Code allows us to do," said Const. Brian Palmeter. "So again if arrangements were made to have an apartment available for September 1st, we have to wait until September 1st comes and then the person doesn't get that apartment."
Officers are investigating 11 complaints.
The investigations involve two neighbouring buildings, and the property registry shows Carette's company owns both of them.
Jeff Cook, a university student and his roommates are out $1,600 after signing a lease and paying a deposit to Carette.
"If we get our money back great, if we don't, I kissed it goodbye long ago," Cook said.
The woman who made the complaint says she remains hopeful she'll get the money she's owed now that this case has resulted in criminal charges.