Real estate scammer caught targeting new expat arrivals in Amsterdam

Published:  4 Nov at 6 PM
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New expat arrivals in the Netherlands are being warned to check out the credentials of real estate agents when searching for accommodation.

The warning comes as one scam artist is remanded in custody on charges of ripping off 13 victims for a total sum of around €100,000 in order to finance his gambling addiction debts. In a procedural court hearing held last Wednesday, the fraudster admitted he’d scammed some 42 people by means of deposits and pre-payments for rental accommodation not actually for rent. No-one suspected his behaviour as he’d previously registered with the local chamber of commerce and produced his ID when asked.

The fraudster had been allowed to go free until his first trial date, during which time he continued defrauding new arrivals in the same manner until he was caught for a second time. During his trial, the judge refused a request that he be released from custody until the main trial date on January 8th as he was likely to again continue with the scams. At the present time, expats and new arrivals from elsewhere in the Netherlands are vulnerable to such scams due to the extreme shortage of affordable accommodation in Amsterdam.

Another reason for the fraudster’s success is that the vast majority of new arrivals have no idea how the rental property market operates, leaving them vulnerable to this and other scams prevalent in the overheated housing market. The deliberate targeting of expats and incoming students desperate to find a place to live makes it easy for con-men to thrive, especially when using the internet to attract their marks. In total, some 22 people were ripped off by this scam, many of whom are still attempting to recover their money.
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