Monday, July 11, 2011

Rachael Marie Smith, Alleged Craigslist Apartment Scammer, on the Lam -- Finally

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 1:50 PM

click to enlarge Run, Rachael, run...
  • Run, Rachael, run...

The news that Rachael Marie Smith -- the woman accused of fraudulently renting out the same Richmond District apartment to scores of fleeced tenants -- is on the lam comes as no surprise. What's odd is that it took so long.

Smith, who essentially re-created the scheme Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom launched in The Producers (but on Craigslist), actually bothered to show up for her first several hearings. Why she would head to court in October and get hit with 14 additional grand theft and fraud charges but skip out now is not entirely clear.

While some initial press accounts described Smith as skipping bail, that's not entirely accurate. Despite an organized effort from more than a dozen people who claim they handed checks to her for first, last, and deposit -- a sum exceeding $5,000 a pop -- she was initially released on her own recognizance. That means there was no bail to skip.

It wasn't until the number of charges against Smith jumped from four to 18 -- and the amount of money she allegedly waltzed off with exceeded $110,000 -- that she was made to cough up bail to the tune of $30,000. At the time, police had anticipated this was the court date Smith would likely skip. (That would have made sense; she could have saved on the bail money.)

Instead, Smith failed to appear in court on July 7. Her lawyer said she'd be there the next day. But she wasn't -- and a $200,000 bench warrant was issued. Her whereabouts are unknown -- and no one knows where the money is, either.

"That's a good question," Inspector John Monroe told us last year. "If you find out, let me know."

He adds today: "She has had the opportunity to start the restitution process, and she has not done that. Either she has no money left, or she doesn't want to pay the restitution." 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more

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