Archive for June, 2009


Apartment Fraud?

June 29, 2009

Last Saturday, there was a knock on my door. I answered and it was Gary, the owner of the apartment building, where I live. He asked me if I paid rent for January, May, and June. I said yes. And then he asked me for copies of the checks, front and back. I told him no problem and I would send that to him when I got them from my bank.

One week later there is a note under my door. It says that we should send our rent checks to a street address instead of sliding them under the door of our apartment manager Steve. The following day there is a note next to the mail boxes. It said, “Steve has been committing fraud and stealing rent checks.” I got one of the three returned checks in the mail and looked at the back. It was endorsed by Steve and deposited at a U.S. Bank in Portland. Another tenant told me that Steve had requested that instead of making the checks out to Melwood Properties, Steve told him to leave it blank. And he had been paying his rent that way for three years.

What makes this hard to believe is the amount of work Steve put into the building. Always, painting, replacing lighting, doing yard work, cleaning up, and getting rid of trash and the left behinds from tenants. The building was always immaculate. And Steve was always a nice guy. He asked me about my job, always waved and was super friendly when I saw him out and about. I even locked my keys in my apartment and he offered to leave a party he was at and let me in. He told me of modest fundraisers he attended for the Lifelong AIDS Alliance.

Steve still could be innocent. All I know is that he just signed a check and it was put into an account. I have no idea if it was his account or the management company’s. Though the evidence and rumor does sound damning I don’t know for a 100%. And I don’t think I will ever know. Guilty or innocent, I feel bad for Steve.