At least six people believed that they had agreed to rent a home in Lakeville from Monica T. Lillemoen, according to court documents.
Each filled out an application and made a deposit ranging from $400 to $600. But weeks later, each applicant was notified by Lillemoen that “things had fallen apart and that they would not be able to move in,” a criminal complaint said.
Lillemoen, 38, of Lakeville, has been charged in Dakota County District Court with felony theft by swindle.
The criminal complaint said Lakeville police called a woman on Feb. 18 who said that she had answered an ad on Craigslist on Dec. 26 or 27 for a four-bedroom, two-bath home for rent on Georgetown Way in Lakeville. The woman and her family went to look at the home, and Lillemoen walked through it with them. The woman said Lillemoen told her later that her application had been approved and, on Jan. 4, the woman paid Lillemoen $600 cash as a deposit.
Then, on Feb. 8, the woman said she received an e-mail from Lillemoen telling her the deal had fallen through. The woman never received a refund of her deposit despite numerous requests for one.
Lakeville police found five more people who had given Lillemoen money to rent the same house. None has been able to get their money returned to them. Lillemoen had collected a total of $3,000 from the applicants, the complaint said.
When an investigator contacted the owner of the home on Georgetown Way, he said Lillemoen had rented it from him starting in April 2012. She did not have permission to sublet the house or reassign the lease.
Lillemoen will make her first court appearance May 6.