Hopeful renters lose thousands to man posing as landlord of Fayetteville home

Diane Wilson Image
Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Renters lose thousands to man posing as landlord of Fayetteville home
Renters in Fayetteville are out thousands of dollars for a house they say isn't for rent but that Edwin Wilson tried to rent anyway.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Renters in Fayetteville are out thousands of dollars for a house they say isn't for rent.

"We're newlyweds. We have a baby; we want to move, and it's just been a nightmare," Bianca Davis Spence said. She and her husband thought a Fayetteville home would be the perfect rental for their family.

The man claiming to be the landlord, Edwin Jamaal Wilson walked her through the home.

"I took pictures of the house because I wanted to see where I wanted to put my furniture and all of that, and (I) gave him a deposit. We signed a lease right there," Spence said.

The lease they signed states Spence and her family could move in on December 20, 2023.

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The landlord, Evagelia Eustathiou, is under investigation by two state agencies and has drawn the ire of numerous former tenants.

"We started getting the internet put in our name over there. We got renter's insurance put in our name over there."

Spence said she paid Wilson $2,000 but right before moving in, Wilson texted her saying there were problems.

"I'm like, 'OK, this doesn't sound right,' and so he was like, 'I promise you, you'll be in your house before the new year.' The new year comes. We're still not there."

Spence is not the only person that something like this happened to with the same landlord and same property.

Troubleshooter Diane Wilson heard from two other renters who signed leases and gave deposits to Edwin Wilson to move into the same rental as Spence during the same period. One renter is out $550, another renter is out $2,450.

Spence later learned that Wilson actually lives in the home (which his parents own) he has offered up for rent.

"We need to put a stop to this. Why would you, why would you do this? Especially to single parents, to struggling families, people that don't really have it like that?" Spence said.

Wilson eventually offered Spence a full refund.

"So we waited for two weeks for a check to be in the mail. There was no check in the mail," Spence said.

The other two renters said Wilson promised them a refund too. Neither have received any money back.

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Troubleshooter Diane Wilson got a hold of Wilson on the phone, and he immediately said to her, "Is it still a story if I give them back their money, Monday morning?"

Troubleshooter Wilson asked how many people he was doing this to and he told her "It's literally just two." Troubleshooter Wilson said she had personally talked to more than just two renters who had gone through this same thing with him.

"Well how many do you have, and I will tell you what I have," he told her.

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Troubleshooter Wilson asked Wilson again if he would return the renter's money.

"I have two I will return Monday morning and the rest this weekend," he said.

Troubleshooter Wilson then asked him why he was taking money for a house that was not for rent.

"I cannot answer that question right now," he said before saying he would call Troubleshooter Wilson back.

The return phone call never happened.

The refunds also have still not happened.

"Just give us our money. That's all we want is our money," Spence said.

Fayetteville Police Department told Wilson that this case is under investigation by the department's property fraud unit.