A homeless man saw an opportunity to earn cash he could use to pay for a place to live. In just a couple of days he raked in $1,375 by renting out a vacant home near Ormond Beach. The problem was that he didn't own the house and the actual homeowner knew nothing about the transactions.
The man's new income stream came to an abrupt end Sunday when two of his victims notified the Volusia County Sheriff's Office about his fraudulent scheme. Eric Sisson, 27, was arrested Sunday and now has a place to stay in the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach where he faces seven criminal charges.
A 19-year-old Daytona Beach woman responded to a Craigslist ad offering a house on Arroyo Parkway for rent. She contacted Sisson by e-mail and text message and he told her to tour the unlocked house on her own. When she did so, she liked what she saw and arranged to meet with Sisson to pay part of the required deposit. On June 25 she met him at a bank and handed over $400 in cash.
The next day she met him again at the house and paid a final deposit of $550 in cash. However, something about the situation didn't seem right to her. She decided to back out of the deal and asked for her deposit back. Sisson gave her a check on Friday, but when she went to the bank she learned the check's account had been closed.
Meanwhile, the victim's father visited the house and found a 29-year-old Ormond Beach woman there. He learned that she also had paid Sisson part of a deposit and was about to give Sisson another installment. Sheriff's deputies responded, talked with both women and also contacted the actual homeowner who was a woman living in Port Orange. The homeowner confirmed that she didn't know Sisson and hadn't authorized him to rent out the house. She revealed that the house was in foreclosure but she still currently owns it.
Sisson was scheduled to meet with the 29-year-old victim at the house on Sunday. However, instead of the victim, he found deputies waiting for him. Initially, Sisson told deputies that he had bought the house three weeks ago, but he eventually admitted that was a lie. He said that he had scammed the victims because he was homeless and needed the money he took to get a place to live.
Sisson was charged with obtaining property by fraud, uttering a worthless check, three counts of unarmed burglary, and two counts of grand theft. It was also discovered that he had an arrest warrant from Brevard County for failure to appear on driving with a suspended license and worthless check charges, and an arrest warrant from Indiana for forgery and grand theft.
If anyone has further information about Sisson's activities or may be another victim, please call the Volusia County Sheriff's Office's Holly Hill District Office at 386-323-0151.