Wildwood rental scam

Seven On Your Side
July 12, 2013 2:33:16 PM PDT
The landlord was a no-show in court, but Nina Pineda and 7 on your Side managed to catch up with a Wildwood landlord who was accused of running a rental rip-off scam.

The Cape May Prosecutors office say he didn't pay anyone back, so they arrested James Georginis charging him with theft for allegedly scamming 100 grand scores of teenagers for prom and senior week beach rentals.

The recent grads of McNair Academy in Jersey City found their vacation rental online and say they gave Georginis 3 grand in deposits on two apartments a block from the ocean for the weekend after prom.

Pictures showed what the teens were supposed to get - a beautiful, fully furnished home. It was like a dream. However, when the teens showed up, they found the apartment they paid for shut down by the city of Wildwood. Toilets were stacked up on the porch, and they were unable to live inside. The electric meters were also ripped out, and there were busted walls and boarded up windows.

Investigators say this happened to 22 other groups - 378 kids in total, like Ashley Zamarano and her friends from Elizabeth High.

"There were 12 of us in high school for our prom weekend," says Zamarano.

When the teens showed up, 60 other teenagers were booked for the same 2 bedroom house ? one that is also condemned. The Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano says Georginis didn't even own the property.

"I tell you, Jimmy [Georginis] made a lot of money on the deal here, a lot of kids got ripped off," says Troiano.

Furious, Wildwood yanked Georginis' business license and found other accommodations for some of displaced kids, but the groups 7 on your Side wound up going home, saying he robbed them of their vacation memories and down payments.

The recent grads who came to 7 on your Side for help are owed $5,000. Georginis hadn't paid the a dime, but managed to post $70,000 in bail to get out of jail. He has a bail source hearing next week, and the Cape May Prosecutor's office is hoping they use some of the bail money to get restitution for the teenagers. Next, the case will go to a grand jury. If Georginis found guilty, he could get up to 10 years in prison.

The big takeaway? Use a licensed reputable broker always.