An NYPD officer is being investigated over accusations that he posed as the owner of the Queens home where he was a tenant and fraudulently rented out his own apartment to at least nine victims.
Officer Burban Pierre allegedly lured apartment hunters with an ad on Craigslist and collected as much as $2,800 from his victims in exchange for sham leases, then refused to let them move into the basement apartment where he resided, the New York Daily News reported.
Victims said that after they paid, the 10-year veteran of the police force would put them off with false claims about building code violations, and that the current tenant — which was the cop himself — refused to leave.
“It’s shocking that a police officer would go to such lengths to take from people who don’t have,” one victim, Vivian Griffith, told the newspaper.
Pierre’s upstairs neighbors tipped Griffith to the alleged grift when she knocked on their door in an effort to reach him, telling the mother of two that eight others had been duped.
“He was a real liar,” the woman who lives in the house’s ground-floor apartment told the Daily News of Pierre. “I couldn’t believe he was a cop. … Some people said they paid $2,800… A lot of people were angry. Some people would be crying about the money.”
The true owner of the Ozone Park house told the newspaper that he got wind of the fraud allegations over the summer and has evicted Pierre.
“Yes, I heard the rumors,” he said. “When I heard about it, he had to go.”
Pierre has been placed on modified duty, according to the NYPD.
“The matter is under investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau,” police spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie told the paper.
[NY Daily News] — Bill Egbert