SWFL man accused of scamming seasonal visitors

Published: February 11, 2017 11:46 PM EST

BONITA BEACH, Fla. A 57-year-old man was arrested Friday for allegedly stealing more than $26,000 from seasonal visitors, according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

John Hayes, of Bonita Springs, is facing fraud charges after he triple booked his Glen Manor condo at 76 Fourth St. and charged the victims without any intention of renting the condo to them, deputies said.

Judy Hartlieb, a victim who was visiting from Illinois, found the listing in March 2016 on VRBO, a vacation rental website. When she tried to book the condo, Hayes told her he didn’t want to go through the website, she said.

“He wanted all of the money upfront, about $5,500 dollars, and he wanted a check,” she said.

But Hartlieb still paid through the website and entered her rental agreement, deputies said.

However, on Jan. 11, three days before she was scheduled to arrive, Hayes notified Hartlieb the condo was unavailable after she asked for her key, deputies said.

“It was pretty much a nightmare,” she said.

When she learned about the other two victims and realized it was a scam, Hartlieb confronted Hayes at the condo.

“I said ‘I’m the lady you gypped out of $5,000 and I want my money back,'” she said.

Hayes brushed her off, saying he didn’t have the money to reimburse her at that time, the sheriff’s office said.

He was arrested two weeks later.

“I hope he has fun in jail is all I can say” she said.

Hayes has since been released on a $10,000 bond.