Bondsman finds man in Florida accused of housing deposit scam involving 12 victims and returns him to face trial

Bondsman finds man in Florida accused of housing deposit scam involving 12 victims and returns him to face trial
Howell Township, NJ

Michael J. Harrold is no longer a wanted man, police said Friday.

Harrold is the person police say put multiple ads on to rent out his single-family home and reached agreements with multiple families over the same period of time, only to cash all of their security deposits, police said.

Harrold, 46, a township resident, placed several ads for his home at 16 Albatross Drive on, said Detective Sgt. Eileen Dodd, a spokesperson for the township police department.

Dodd said the search for Harrold began in February.

PREVIOUS STORY: Howell cops looking for Michael Harrold, say he scammed renters out of security deposits

Harrold was located in Florida by a bail bondsman from No Jail Time Bail Bonds of Toms River. The company had previously bonded Harrold out of criminal charges in Middlesex County. When he failed to show for his court dates there, the bail they put up was forfeited and they began a search for him. The bondsman was able to convince Harrold to return to New Jersey, where they took him into custody and delivered him to Howell police headquarters.

“We were able to identify 12 victims total,” Dodd said. “Mr. Harrold was lodged in (the) Monmouth County Correctional Institute in lieu of $65,000 bail with no 10 percent option which was set by Howell Municipal Court Judge Pugliesi.”

Additional victims came forward as a result of the media attention, she said.

Harrold placed several ads for the same property, only with varying descriptions, with some indicating a four-bedroom home and another for five bedrooms.

The ads also listed the home location as either Ramtown or Howell, with the monthly rent for the property ranging from $1,900 to $2,000, Dodd said.

Many families contacted Harrold about the ad, toured the home, and entered into rental agreements, according to Dodd.

Each agreement was for the same time period, with each family listed as the sole occupants of the home, she said. Harrold was provided with checks, which he went on to cash, she said.

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economics Crime Unit also is assisting with the investigation because they have other cases involving Harrold.

Anyone who was a victim can contact Detective Robert Ortenzi at 732-938-4575, ext. 2894.

Facebook Comments