|Published:||Jul 17, 2012 9:18 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 17, 2012 11:58 PM EDT|
LEE COUNTY, Fla - Grand theft charges have been dropped against a Naples real estate broker accused of renting out a Bonita Springs home.
Ernest Armitage of New Jersey hired Theresia Helton to rent out his town house in Village Walk, but he says she rented out his home and pocketed more than $4,000.
Tuesday, the state attorney's office dropped charges against Helton after ordering her to pay Armitage $2,700.
"I'm very upset with it. We negotiated up to $2,700. I felt they could have added additional charges, they could have added fraud to their case," says Armitage.
Armitage told Lee County Deputies Helton never told him she found new tenants and instead pocketed more than $4,000 in security deposits, rent and other fees."She still owes me money. She signed the lease, she took the money, she hasn't returned any money," says Armitage.
"She was charged with grand theft. Grand theft is separate from signing some ones name," says Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Royal.
After a WINK News investigation aired, other victims came forward, claiming they too were taken advantage of by Helton. We found the Department of Business and Professional Regulation investigated three other complaints against the broker in 2009 and 2010.
"We were only focused on what she had for her history for this case. That's a separate issue and that would be dealt with for dealing with her real estate license, not for a criminal charge," says Royal.
Now Armitage says he plans to look into a civil lawsuit. "It hurts, especially when other people came forward and made the same claims."
WINK News reached out to Helton and her attorney after Tuesday's court hearing. Our calls were not returned.
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