Family says they were victimized in rental scam

October 24, 2016 11:31 PM

SCHENECTADY – Sitting at her dining room table, Tiffany Noland is in the second floor apartment with six other members of her family and not in the house they’ve paid to rent in Selkirk – because it’s locked up and cleaned out.

"I have a lease paid till March 1, 2017,” Noland said, claiming she paid Zarak Ali $18,200.

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Ali, 46, is the man who authorities say was renting homes in the Capital Region that he didn’t own or have the right to rent. He’s already been indicted in at least four counties.

Noland showed us papers for a lease she said she signed in February but had to leave in the spring to take care of her sick father in Kentucky. He died of cancer in June. When the family returned last month, they found the house they thought they had paid for vacant – emptied and locked – and all her stuff including mattresses, bikes, go-karts and kids’ toys gone.

Neighbors were worried as the junk and garbage was piled outside. Eventually it was hauled away. Neighbors on Thatcher Street say that much of the stuff was outside for months. In any event, an investigator told Noland her lease isn't worth the paper it's written on.

"He said 'Oh, it's official paperwork,’” Noland said, “but not officially he doesn't own the house he made fake deeds and copied fake deeds."

A call from NewsChannel 13 to Ali’s attorney was not returned. Earlier this year, Ali sent an e-mail to the Times-Union claiming to be singled out because of his name and said he is helping homeless people get a place to live in spots that are otherwise abandoned.


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