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Police: Woman used online ad to fraudulently sell Tallahassee home for $19,000

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Posted at 4:47 PM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 17:20:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A Tallahassee woman was arrested after police say she scammed a victim out of $19,000 by selling the victim a home she didn't legally own.

According to court documents, Tallahassee police received a fraud compliant from a victim on Jan.10.

The victim told police that she came across an online advertisement of a mobile home for sale on Appleyard Drive.

Police say the home was for sale for $19,000. The only contact information provided on the advertisement was a phone number.

The victim explained to police that when she called the number a woman identified herself as Sidniece Bates. Officers say Bates confirmed to the victim that she had posted the advertisement and that she was the home owner.

The victim stated that Bates invited her to tour the property and the victim agreed to purchase the home under an arranged a payment plan.

Documents say the victim made the first payment amount of $11,000 to Bates on June 12, 2019. On July 15, the victim made the second payment of $7,000 with cashier's check.

Police say Bates agreed to sign-over the deed to the victim and accept the left over balance of $1,000 at a later time. With that agreement, Bates and the victim went to the Leon County Courthouse where the deed for the home was signed over to the victim.

According to the Leon County Clerk's Office, as of January 30, 2020, the victim was listed as the property owner.

After signing over the deed, the victim said Bates claimed she needed more time to move out. The victim agreed to let Bates stay there until she could find somewhere to live.

A few months later, police say the victim received a letter from someone connected to the original owner of the property. The letter explained that in February of 2018, Bates was renting the property and asked to buy the home for $10,000.

Documents say the family member agreed to the purchase and signed over the property to Bates. In exchange, Bates signed and executed a promissory note.

However, investigators say Bates never secured a loan or made any payments defaulted on the promissory note. In addition, Bates never deeded the property back to the original owners either.

On March 2018, the owners filed a civil claim against Bates for defaulting on the promissory note and not signing the deed back over. While the civil case was going on, documents say Bates listed the property for sale and fraudulently sold it to the victim.

Investigators say Bates was aware that she was not the true owner of the property when she sold the home.

Based on the evidence, Bates was arrested and transported tot he Leon County Detention Facility. She is being charged for grand theft. Bates has since bonded out.