Advertisement
  1. News

Largo couple charged in rental scam get a trial date

Nicole Johnson during a court appearance in February. [DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 14

LARGO — Nearly a year and a half after 22 people accused the Johnsons of running a rental scam, the Largo couple will go to trial.

On Friday, Judge Chris Helinger scheduled David and Nicole Johnson, 33 and 30, for a Jan. 7, 2020 trial.

"I know it seems like a long way off," Helinger said while victims titled their heads at each other and widened their eyes.

In June of last year, the couple was accused of seeking out renters for a house at 1091 Lexington Court in Largo using social media and Craigslist, according to deputies.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

Police: Couple leased someone else's home to 15 families at same time

Judge: Couple charged in Largo house scam should serve more than two years in prison

All were promised the same house, for the same period of time.

Families forked over thousands. They trusted the Johnsons, who they said met with them in person and showed them the house, according to records. In total, victims lost about $30,000.

As move-in neared, the Johnsons would make excuses why the house wasn't ready. A stillborn birth, or bed bugs, or air conditioning issues. They promised one victim, who appeared in court on Friday, months worth of free rent for her patience, officials said.

In October, the couple was arrested in Las Vegas and brought back to Florida.

Victim Erin Walker asked the judge on Friday for no more court dates other than the trial. She said coming in and out of work was difficult for the multiple people the Johnsons are accused of scamming.

"There's so many victims and this is so much court," Walker said. "I'd really like to see this through."

Contact Romy Ellenbogen at rellenbogen@tampabay.com. Follow @Romyellenbogen.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Eric McNeil Jr., 25, faces a charge of second-degree murder and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, police said. Tampa Police Department
    A man was found dead on E Fowler Avenue near the railroad tracks. Now police have made an arrest.
  2. Yosvanys Infante, 29, faces a charge of first-degree murder according to police. Tampa Police Department
    Yosvanys Infante was linked to a fatal shooting that took place on Sept. 21, according to Tampa police.
  3. Parents of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a shooter killed 17 people in 2018, push petitions for 2020 ban on assault weapons in Florida. (Miami Herald) MIAMI HERALD  |
    After months of glitches, the Department of State is resorting to a paper workaround while ballot initiatives face higher costs.
  4. Guests of the Flying Bridge at the Tradewinds Resort, which is now under new ownership. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
    The new owner says he plans to keep its management and 1,100 employees.
  5. Former Pasco County Corrections Officer Wendy Miller, 57 runs towards gunfire with instructor Chris Squitieri during active shooter drills taught by Pasco County Sheriff's Office at Charles S. Rushe Middle School in Land O' Lakes. These drills are put are a larger training program for the Guardian program that will staff elementary schools with trained armed guards.  LUIS SANTANA   |   Times "LUIS SANTANA  |  TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The change is a reversal of a previous move by the department, which specifically excluded armed teachers from its policy.
  6. A vistor at Harvest Moon Fun Farm's grabs a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch in Masaryktown. ANGELIQUE HERRING  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Things to do for Halloween in Pasco and Hernando counties
  7. Dr. Harvey Partridge and his wife Pat were killed when their plane crashed on approach to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Harvey Partridge founded St. Petersburg's Partridge Animal Hospital in 1978. This photo was posted in 2017 to the hospital's Facebook page. St. Petersburg's Partridge Animal Hospital Facebook page
    Harvey and Pat Partridge’s plane disappeared from the airport radar. The wreckage was found the next day.
  8. The University of South Florida has earned national accolades for its push to raise graduation rates. Student loan debt in Florida is so crushing that it makes it hard to afford a house.
    Staggering debt loads make it hard to buy a home.
  9. A meteor is seen streaking left to right above the constellation Orion in the early hours of Dec. 14, 2012 in the sky above Tyler, Texas.  The metor is part of the Geminid meteor shower, which is peaking tonight.  As many as 50 per hour are being seen.  The meteors radiate from the region of sky containing the constellation Gemini which give them their name.  (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman) DR. SCOTT M. LIEBERMAN  |  AP
    Considered one of “most beautiful meteor showers of the year” by NASA, the Orionids are expected to peak Monday night into Tuesday morning.
  10. Bayonet Point Middle School teacher Cynthia Thompson wants to become Pasco County schools superintendent. Courtesy of Cynthia Thompson
    Cynthia Thompson is a graduation enhancement instructor at Bayonet Point Middle School.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement