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Mission Hills : Man Accused of Swindling Renters

After allegedly collecting security deposits and rent for San Fernando Valley residential properties that he did not own, a Mission Hills man was charged Tuesday with one count of at tempted grand theft and two counts each of grand theft and false advertising.

The charges against James Anthony Rojas, 38, stem from a Los Angeles Police Department Devonshire Division investi gation triggered by complaints against Rojas.

Rojas is accused of placing advertise ments in the Recycler last year and early this year offering homes for rent.

When victims responded to the advertisements, Rojas allegedly claimed to own the residences and proceeded to collect security deposits ranging from $500 to $2,700 on them, according to Deputy City Attorney Mark Lambert, who is handling the case.

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Three victims allege that they jointly rented a Granada Hills home from Rojas and paid $6,000 in rent before discovering that someone else owned the property and was selling it through a trustee.

The three said they first learned of the house’s status when they found a notice of trustee sale attached to the front of the home when they moved in.

Another man alleged that he paid Rojas a $500 security deposit on a North Hills residence, only to find that someone else owned the property. The man stopped payment on the check, Lambert said.

Rojas is scheduled for arraignment Nov. 22.

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