For Immediate Release - July 06, 2012

Craigslist Apartment Scammer Pleads Guilty

Jayson Fallis, 35, of Salem, pleaded guilty today in Salem Superior Court to nine counts of larceny over $250 in connection with an apartment rental scam on Craigslist in November 2011.  Judge Howard Whitehead sentenced him to three years to three years and one day in state prison followed by five years of probation during which he must pay restitution, remain drug free, complete recommended drug treatment and submit to random drug screens.

Essex Assistant District Attorney Melissa Woodard recommended a six to nine year state prison sentence followed by five years of probation.  In her sentencing argument she called the crime “conniving and malicious” and cited the defendant’s five-page criminal record that dates back to 1994 and includes multiple probation violations. “He put people out of their homes three weeks before Christmas and some of these people are still struggling to this day,” Woodard said.

Had the case been tried, Woodard would have proven that the defendant on diverse dates defrauded nine people out of a total of $13,790 by acting as the landlord of 11 Boston Street in Salem which he advertised for rent on Craigslist.  He showed the apartment to each of the nine victims and collected various amounts of money to secure the apartment. In every case, when the victims attempted to contact the defendant to obtain a key to the apartment, they were unable to reach him.  In most instances, victims went to the apartment to find a sign on the door instructing them to go to the Salem Police Department.  All of the victims identified the defendant in a photo array presented by Salem Police.

District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said, “This impact of this crime cannot be measured by the amount of money stolen from each person but rather the extreme disruption in the lives of nine families as a result of the defendant’s actions.  In each case the victims found themselves with nowhere to live and the money needed to secure a place to live had been stolen from them. That it took place weeks before Christmas and in some cases involved families with young children is just deplorable.”

The victims were provided services and support from Essex Victim Witness Advocate Kathy Draper.  Several of them submitted victim impact statements which were read by Woodard and detailed the hardship caused by the defendant’s actions. 

Mr. Fallis was represented by Attorney Thomas Burke, III and received 220 days credit toward his sentence.

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