LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Three people were charged Thursday with grand theft in connection with an alleged rental scam that authorities say used the Internet to target people looking for housing.

Keith Charles Adkins, 28, Charletta Ann Randle, 30, and Lisa Ann Brown, 48, are each charged with eight felony counts of grand theft of personal property, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Adkins — who allegedly has a 2001 robbery conviction and a 2004 conviction for assault with intent to commit a felony — also is charged with eight felony counts of petty theft.

Randle and Brown are additionally charged with eight misdemeanor counts of petty theft.

The criminal complaint alleges that Randle has convictions in 2004 for counterfeit seal and 2008 for grand theft money.

The three are accused of running the rental scam on craigslist, baiting 16 people with a for-rent ad and purportedly stealing more than $15,500 in security deposits, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The alleged victims were unable to move into the rental property, authorities said.

Adkins, Randle and Brown were arrested Tuesday by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Southwest Division, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Inmate Information Center website. Brown was later released on $20,000 bail.

In a late-afternoon court appearance today, Adkins and Randle each pleaded not guilty. Adkins’ bail was set at $1 million, while Randle’s bail was set at $500,000.

The two are due back at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse Nov. 23 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require them to stand trial.

It was not immediately clear when Brown would appear in court for arraignment.

  1. KristinWard says:

    Do research. I generally run a background check on my landlord before I move in. Last thing I want is to move into an apartment that will go into foreclosure soon because the landlord isn’t paying bills. Doing this cuts back on the potential of a scam as well. This is happening a lot because people manage to pull it off. Its the responsibility of renters to research the apartment and take precautions to help stop these scammers. If you have never done a background check I would recommend using on that is a member of the Better Business Bureau. I generally use http://www.tenantverification.com/.

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