Victims of a Lakeville rental scam spoke to FOX 9 about being lured by accused swindler Monica Lillemoen.
Lillemoen was charged last week with defrauding people out of security deposits to a rental property she didn't even own. Victims told FOX 9 that Lillemoen painted for them a perfect picture of what their new home would look like. She did this not only over the phone, but in person, during tours of the Lakeville home. Lillemoen even had her children play with the prospective renter's children on those visits.
"She made me believe it was real," Amanda, a victim of the swindle, said.
Amanda and AJ usually know how to spot a scam on Craigslist. In December, they met 39-year-old Lillemoen as she was posing to be the owner and landlord of the home they were hoping to rent.
Lillemoen allegedly swindled them out of $600 of their hard earned cash. A crime Lakeville police now tell FOX 9 Lillemoen committed against approximately 15 people. Her victims were unassuming, simply looking for a bigger home for their families.
"We talked about kids, we talked about schools," Amanda said. "I guess there's a daycare down the street from the house, she went on and on and on about the daycare and how great it was."
A month after Amanda put down the deposit, Lillemoen called and said things had fallen apart, so they wouldn't be able to move in. When they went to retrieve the cash, Lillemoen was nowhere to be found.
Amanda has since posted this ad warning others of Lillemoen's swindle. Dakota County has pressed one felony charge, but Amanda doesn't know if she'll ever see the money again.
Lillemoen is due in court on May 6. If found guilty, she could face up to five years in prison. The Dakota County attorney is working with Lakeville police to verify the number of victims in the case.