"He just is a really bad person:" Renters say they've been scammed by "landlord," and they've filed suit

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee renters say a landlord is leaving them high and dry -- taking their money, and never letting them actually move in.

"I just figured out it was all a scam," Velvet Webb said.

A group of strangers has been brought together by a man whom they say ripped them off.

"I gave him a $600 deposit," Wanette Lyons said.

"He ain`t answered. He ain`t text," Eshe Oldham said.

Their stories all start with an ad they saw on Craigslist.

"A $1,000 four-bedroom with a daycare in the basement," Oldham said.

The perfect rental, for the perfect price.

"A very nice house," Lyons said.

Each potential renter put down a security deposit, and each received some sort of receipt -- but they never signed a lease.

"We were supposed to sign paperwork the next following day," Lyons said.

When the time came to move in, the landlord was nowhere to be found.

"I'm very upset because I was looking forward to moving," Yolanda Walker said.

Walker met with the man whom FOX6 isn't identifying because he hasn't been charged with a crime.

"He said 'you can move in on the first of August,'" Walker said.

Walker thought the man was a pastor, and trusted him at first -- but as time went on, she says his story changed and she became suspicious. That's when she went over to the house and learned it had already been rented out to Nicholas Tye.

"I've been staying there since July 1st. I've seen (the man) three times," Tye said.

FOX6 went to the four homes the man lists as his addresses. There was no answer -- and our phone calls were never returned.

He has left this group of strangers upset. They want to warn others about the man, before they become his next victim.

"He just is a really bad person," Webb said.

"Praying that everyone else gets their money and that he be stopped," Oldham said.

FOX6 News went to the church where the man claims to be a pastor. We've learned he isn't a pastor, but has attended church there. People at the church told FOX6 News they haven't seen the man since last month.

Meanwhile, four of the people FOX6 News has interviewed in connection with this story filed civil lawsuits against the landlord -- hoping to get their money back.