An Indian-orgin man is facing multiple charges of grand theft after he duped nearly two dozen families by signing lease agreements with them for his house.
Pradeep Singh, who is absconding, has been charged with seven counts of grand theft and if convicted could face upto seven years in state prison, officials said.
The District Attorney's Office in California's Covina city filed a felony complaint against Singh on Thursday and put out a warrant out for his arrest, the SGV Tribune reported.
At least a dozen people are expected to file a lawsuit against Singh for stealing money from families who intended to rent his three-bedroom home.
Neighbourhood Legal Services, a nonprofit law office, is representing the families who responded to an ad in an unincorporated county area near Covina.
Singh allegedly had lease agreements with multiple families who gave him two months' rent to move in May 1, officials said.
Families responded to the rental listing in early April for a three-bedroom home for USD1,200 a month.
"We have attached the property to the lawsuit so he (Singh) won't be able to transfer or sell it," said Fred Nakamura, an attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services.
A hold was placed on Singh's passport and a Volvo left in the driveway was impounded, officials said. Singh cleaned out his bank account last week.
The lawsuit will be filed with the county this week, Nakamura added. As of Friday, 12 victims were included and the office has received inquiries from others.
Twenty-one families have filed complaints connected to the property with the sheriff's department, according to sheriff's Deputy Jay Heitmann.