Christmas fraud: $8,000 in rent theft, hundreds of victims, perpetrators fled the country — Khaleej Times investigation

Christmas fraud: $8,000 in rent theft, hundreds of victims, perpetrators fled the country — Khaleej Times investigation

The head of Evernest Holiday Homes Rental LCC and his accomplices deceived employees, tenants, and homeowners by fleeing with the money before Christmas.

Evernest Holiday Homes is a real estate agency acting as an intermediary between homeowners in Dubai and tenants looking for vacation properties. At least, that is how they introduced themselves.

The company worked according to the scheme used in Dubai in 2019.

Evernest contacted homeowners in in prestigious city areas and offered to sublease their property at above-market rates.

However, payment was not made immediately. Each person received four receipts to be cashed in the future.

At the same time, tenants were selected and offered a year’s rent at below-market rates. But the rent had to be paid in advance.

Taking advantage of clients' fear of losing profit, Evernest had collected about $8,000,000 from 230 tenants by December 20, 2021.

On December 22, the company contacted its employees (about 30 people) and announced a two-week leave for all employees.

Between this date and the beginning of January, the management fled with money, without paying either salaries to employees or sublease to homeowners. It turned later out that the fraudsters had left the country.

In addition to the many people who paid their year’s rent in advance but never received the keys to their homes, many people have already moved in and had legitimate leases. Contracts for which homeowners have not got a dime.

Under the law, homeowners cannot evict tenants but have to pay maintenance costs throughout the year. Those who had a mortgage also have to find money to pay for it, otherwise, they will lose their property.

Some tenants are also afraid of eviction. Although they paid the rent for a year, the landlords did not receive the money. How this situation will develop in the future is unknown.

Some victims have filed complaints about the company to the organizations.

However, the company’s employees are not in a better position. They said they had no idea about the true goals of the management and now, left without a salary, they are partially responsible for everything that happened.

The Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), where Evernest was licensed, has launched an investigation.

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