KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nearly three months after a landlord contacted KCPD economic crime detectives about squatters being scammed into living in his home, the only court date that’s been set is for him to face code violations.
“We got stung this time and it’s horrible," the victim said in July as he sat in a Bennington Avenue home with his girlfriend and her son.
They found out the person they were paying rent to, didn’t own the home, on July 7th when the real landlord and police showed up.
Johnny Youssef at first called police, thinking they were squatters. He would later contact economic crimes when he determined the family really had been scammed.
“They gave me all the information I needed. They gave me the account number, the name of the person, the bank, all the bank information, and I immediately took it to Kansas City Police and they said they are going to investigate it,” he said.
This week when he called police for an update on the case he was told it hadn't been assigned yet. The detective explained with 3,000 new fraud cases each month, and only five investigators, KCPD is just beginning to assign cases to detectives reported in June.
While it doesn’t appear Kansas CIty Police haven’t looked into what happened at his home, Kansas City Code Enforcement has been keep keeping a close eye on the property. Youssef received notice of several violations including trash, debris and illegal parking after the family unexpectedly moved in.
“The city is on me to make sure the property is clean and the tenants are taking care of it, which they are not, but I didn’t choose them to be there they just were squatters," Youssef said.
With no end in sight to the dilemma, and Youssef hesitant to try to boot kids out on the street, he’s worked with the family to try to improve conditions around the home. But he still has that August summons to go to court.
“They are probably going to fine me, and I’m probably going to beg them not to fine me and they are probably not going to care. The family isn't going to have money to pay for the fine so I’m paying for that too," he said.
Youssef says he hopes by expressing his frustration at the process publicly, he can effect change.
“I think people are realizing we can do this over and over and over, and no one catches us. Even if they try to shut down our account five months later, by that time we pull our money and we are gone. So something has to be done," Youssef said.