HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- A Republican state Senate candidate was arrested for allegedly running an ongoing Craigslist scam, in which a Midtown apartment was used to lure in at least 10 would-be renters.
Jon Girodes, 38, who is running for the Harlem state Senate seat now held by Bill Perkins, was taken into custody Friday.
He is charged with grand larceny for running what prosecutors called a complex rental scam that appeared to prey on his victims' weaknesses.
Investigators said they believe that on at least 10 occasions, Girodes listed his luxury Midtown apartment on Craigslist, with no apparent intent to actually rent it.
He collected deposits from would-be renters, then told them the deal was off and he would not return the money.
Prosecutors said Girodes bilked more than $11,000 from one victim alone, after he agreed to rent the woman his apartment. He allegedly took $7,750 from the woman to cover the lease. After she mentioned she needed help with immigration, he took another $3,500 to set her up with his immigration lawyer.
When it came time for her to move in, Girodes abruptly told her the deal was off and did not return any of the money.
Girodes is the Republican candidate for Harlem's sprawling 30th District, a seat currently held by Bill Perkins. Girodes ran unopposed in the recent Republican primary after a poor showing in 2014.
His campaign website, now removed, featured photos of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and Girodes strolling down 125th Street in front of the Apollo.
But Girodes has also been accused of allegedly planning a racist Harlem fundraiser, complete with donations of Kool Aid, KFC and watermelons.
Perkins originally indicated he was going to seek Charlie Rangel's 13th congressional district seat, and even declared himself the "front-runner." But in February he opted to run for re-election instead, and endorsed Espaillat for Rangel's longtime district.