RICHMOND HILL, Queens (WABC) -- A Queens man has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of grand larceny after allegedly offering an apartment for rent, collecting tens of thousands of dollars in deposits and not renting the unit or returning the money.
It turns out this isn't the first time the suspect has done time for the same crime. A young family was out thousands until they got Nina Pineda and 7 on their side right in the nick of time.
7 On Your Side tracked ex-con Shahab Khan down in North Carolina after talking to his mother who was living in the Queens apartment building one family thought they were moving into last June.
The mom, Bibi Khan, owns the home in Richmond Hill. Last Spring the first-floor unit was listed for rent. It was perfect for the young family expecting their first child.
"She saw it, she took pictures, she was in the apartment it looked good, sounded good," renter Roberto Diaz said.
"The plan was to move June 1st," Barbara Baez said.
She gave the landlord a $3,600 cash security deposit and he issued a receipt. Little did she know, the person she gave that money to was convicted of grand larceny years ago.
In 2011, Khan was arrested in Queens. Eyewitness News interviewed many of the renters who paid him security deposits for the very same first-floor apartment in his home that was never actually available for rent.
Khan said he spent three years in jail and paid back $53,000 -- the full amount owed for restitution.
All his latest victims got back from Khan was a check that bounced.
"It's a nightmare I'm living," said Baez.
Their baby was born and the family had no place to live. They've been forced to move in with his parents as Baez returned to work at JFK two weeks after her C Section and ICU stay to try to earn money for another apartment.
7 On Your Side spoke to Khan over the phone, "You took their money in May, correct? She was going to move with her newborn baby. You know they're sleeping on a couch?"
After 7 On Your Side got involved, Khan express-mailed another check. But that bounced too.
After the check bounced, Nina Pineda reached Khan by phone, "You're doing the same thing that landed you incarcerated, renting an apartment, taking money and not giving it back."
After dozens of texts and calls, Khan finally met up with 7 On Your Side in person and blamed the bounced check on the bank. But he came up with the bulk of the refund -- $3,000 in cash.
7 On Your Side surprised the couple with the special delivery.
"It's a miracle," Baez said. "If you need help, a guardian angel, you call Channel 7."
7 On Your Side got the refund just in time. The very next morning, the Queens District Attorney arrested Khan again.
He was charged with 14 counts of grand larceny. The complaint stated he took more than $36,000 in deposits for rentals that never happened.
Khan is due back in court in January.
If you've had a similar dispute with Khan, the Queens District Attorney requests you call them at (718) 286-6000.
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