LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Multiple people reported falling victim to the same apartment scam in Lewiston on Monday and now police are investigating.
Heather Coulombe and Charles McKay both said they met with a man named Nate Poulin, who claimed to be a landlord of an apartment at 711 Main Street.
Coulombe and McKay both reported that they met with Poulin on separate occasions. They both said he showed them the apartment, had them sign what appeared to be leases, and met with them in person and took their money.
"I saw the apartment, I met the guy, I met the tenant that was living there, and I thought it was all legit," said Coulombe. ”I only have 10 days to find somewhere – that was all my money. Even if I do find an apartment, I don’t have the money to move in now.”
She and McKay bumped into each other on Monday morning, both looking for Poulin, and expecting the keys. That moment, Coulombe said, is when she got worried.
”He’s like, 'I’m looking for him too' – and right then I knew something was wrong," said Coulombe. "I just started crying because I knew it was fake."
Coulombe said she paid him $1,100, the equivalent of two months rent, minus a discount for cleaning she said she would do. McKay said he paid one months rent, worth $650. They never got the keys from him and never got their money back.
Coulombe, a pregnant mother of four, was searching for a new apartment because she needs to leave her old one in ten days. Coulombe is a traveling certified nursing assistant, and is now searching for programs through the state for help, but said she has not found anything.
Police are investigating this case and say they have a suspect, but could not identify that person because he or she has not been charged.
”People are eager to make money however they can make money, so they often become brazen. They actually educate themselves on how to dupe people if you will," said Lieutenant Dave St. Pierre with the Lewiston Police. "Unfortunately, it happens all too often."
There is a GoFundMe page for Coulombe, set up by her friend, to help her recover the money she lost.