SOUTH PORTLAND – A homeless woman from Portland is in jail, accused of trying to rent apartments belonging to the South Portland Housing Authority by listing them on Craigslist and collecting deposits from prospective tenants.
According to Lt. Frank Clark of the South Portland Police Department, Lisa Hinerman, 26, was arrested at about 9:45 a.m. Thursday following a sting operation at a hotel on Riverside Street in Portland. Hinerman had agreed to meet a person whom she had scammed the previous day, but instead found police laying in wait.
South Portland Police received two complaints Wednesday from people who said they gave Hinerman cash deposits for an apartment in a multi-unit building on Grandview Avenue, but later, “believed that they had been duped.” Hinerman had passed herself off as the person responsible for renting the units, which actually are owned by the South Portland Housing Authority.
“The ad in this case has since been removed,” wrote Clark in a press release. “This is a good reminder of the potential illegitimate uses and pitfalls of sites such as Craigslist. As beneficial as these sites can be, unfortunately there are always some people who will use any means to pray on others.”
The two victims game Hinerman a combined $1,800.
“It is also believed that other potential victims may have visited the property,” said Clark, asking that anyone with information on additional losses contact the South Portland Police Department at 799-5511 ext. 7254.
Hinerman, who has a “lengthy criminal history,” has been charged with two felony counts of theft by deception. She also had an outstanding warrant for her arrest due to probation revocation related to other, prior theft charges.
The case will be referred to the District Attorney’s Office for review and prosecution. “Additional charges are likely,” said Clark.