Phony landlord sentenced to 11 years in federal prison

A Wellington scammer who ripped off unsuspecting tenants for $380,000 in phony rent payments has been sentenced to 11 years in federal prison.

Federal prosecutors in 2016 said Kesner Joaseus, 47, and two other men posed as the owners of freshly renovated homes that were owned by HavenBrook Homes, a legitimate landlord.

“Joaseus and his co-defendants entered into bogus leases with a counterfeit HavenBrook Homes logo, and collected thousands of dollars in money orders or cash, purportedly for security deposit, first and last month’s rent for the houses,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Joaseus, Wadno Dorneau, of West Palm Beach, and Miguel Tilus, of Lake Worth, faced charges of mail fraud and mail fraud conspiracy, said Wifredo Ferrer. They posed as owners of dozens of houses in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

In one example, the trio took control of the 1,173-square-foot house at 907 Churchill Road in West Palm Beach. In November 2014, they found a tenant and collected $1,950 in security deposits, application fees and first and last month’s rent. The victim paid by money order, prosecutors said.

The victim continued to pay $900 a month, but in May 2015, she learned from HavenBrook Homes that she was in the house illegally.

In addition to pleading guilty to the real estate scam, Joaseus copped to a separate identity theft scheme. He was sentenced this week in both capers.

Author: Jeff Ostrowski

Jeff covers the economy, banking and biotech for The Palm Beach Post.

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