Creek County Man Claims To Be 'Middle Man' In Craigslist Scam

Thursday, October 1st 2015, 11:11 pm
By: News On 6

An international Craigslist scam led police to a Creek County home.

Thursday, Jenks police arrested Steven Ebert on suspicion that he obtained money by fraud. He’s being held in the Tulsa County jail.

Before Ebert was taken into custody, he told News On 6 he didn't do anything wrong and was only the middle man.

One by one, Jenks police, along with Creek County deputies, got everyone out of a home on South 42nd West Avenue.

Detectives were looking for Ebert, after getting a phone call from Canadian authorities, about a scam on Craigslist.

Detective Michael Gauldin said, "We were very thankful we were able to act so quickly. A lot of these go uninvestigated due to the scale - international level, anonymity involved."

It all started when a woman in Canada went on Craigslist, looking for a rental property in Florida. She pulled up a condo and started talking with the person linked to the ad; detectives believe it was Ebert.

The woman was told to send $2,200 via Western Union to a Reasor’s in Jenks. Investigators said surveillance video shows Ebert picking it up.

"I never kept any of the money,” Ebert said. “It went to a friend of mine."

He said he had no idea he was involved in a scheme.

Melissa: “So who's this other lady you said is out of the country?
Ebert: “She's just another friend of mine. We've been talking for two years.”

He said they met on Facebook.

Gauldin: “How much of it do you keep?”
Ebert: “None.”
Gauldin: “So what's in it for you?”
Ebert: “Nothing.”
Gauldin: “So why are you doing it?”
Ebert: “Trying to get this woman to come here and meet."

Even if that's the case, Gauldin said he never reported it to authorities.

Melissa: “Could he be telling you the truth? Could he be a middle man?”
Gauldin: “Yes he could be a middle man, but simply being involved can make you guilty of the crime."

Detectives searched Ebert’s vehicle and found a notebook with what they say could be addresses to other rental properties.

Detectives said, when you receive a message from a stranger asking you to help them get money somehow, you should probably avoid getting involved.

If you are looking to rent a property, police suggest sticking to legitimate rental sites and always ask for references.