Neighbors react to arrest of rental scammer on Siesta Key

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Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 4:57 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. -- His arrest for throwing urine on a code enforcement officer this week might be the least of Craig Siegel's problems. He is also accused of scamming 19 families on a rental property we first told you about months ago.

You may recall the video we shot a few months back while investigating a home on Siesta Key on Sabal Drive involving a rental scam. And now you probably won't forget the mug shot of the man who owns it.

Craig Siegel

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office says local chiropractor Craig Siegel threw a bucket of urine on an unsuspecting code enforcement officer at a property of his on Sandy Cove Avenue on Siesta Key Monday.

"It's a living nightmare." Siegel rents out homes under Siesta Resorts, LLC and Siesta Vacations, Inc. Neighbors on Sandy Cove Avenue like TJ Mullins say he does it against the law in the single family area. "It's college kids drunk until 3 and 4 in the morning."

He says after many run-ins he's not even surprised. He believes the incident was pre-mediated after a special hearing in front of judge just days before. "It was a five gallon bucket. It's not like it was a cup. He's either using some friends or has been drinking a lot of water."

And there are even bigger troubles back at the Sabal Drive home we first reported on. Monday it just so happened the sheriff's office was ready to charge Siegel with scamming 19 families out of more than $50,000.

"The detective was across the street getting a warrant for Mr. Siegel's arrest and he was notified when he came back to the office with the incident of the code inspector."

Detectives say Siegel was advertising the residence as having 12 bedrooms, when there were only five. When renters found out and wanted their money back per their contract, he said he didn't have it.

"It's fraud. He continued that fraud and continued that pattern even knowing he was racking up complaints." Ken Thibodeau's family is out more than $5,000. They had rented the home off Trip Advisor for their son's wedding. "We were just tormented by the fact this was going on. It was just a very difficult time…no sleep, sick to our stomachs."

He hopeful now that the wheels of justice are in motion. “We are glad he is finally being held accountable for taking advantage of so many people."

ABC 7 called Craig Siegel Tuesday, but he didn't return our calls. He’s already bonded of jail and is facing 19 counts of Scheming to Defraud and charged with Criminal Mischief and Battery on a Code Enforcement Officer.

And the woman who drove off in the ABC 7 vehicle earlier this year? Her name is Jean Price, and we've heard everything from she works with Siegel or worked for him, to she's his girlfriend. We don't know. What we do know is she is facing trespassing charges herself for taking that vehicle.

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