Real estate scam sidelines beach goers in Wildwood

May 25, 2013 2:30:05 PM PDT
At one point, it looked like Hurricane Sandy was destined to be a summer-killer for many people at the shore. But efforts to restore the shore have been heroic. A group of young people in the Wildwoods never counted on a real estate crisis to threaten their summer.

Dozens of teens say they have been scammed out of shore rentals and thousands of dollars.

Some of them thought they would be spending their summer in a shore house, but instead are back in South Philadelphia.

"He has ruined my summer basically," said Joe Kinee.

Joe Kinee of South Philadelphia isn't alone. Dozens of teens who planned to spend the summer renting out homes in the Wildwoods are now searching for a plan B.

"I had to go to Coconut Grove and say I couldn't work because I don't have a house to stay at," said Ricky Taraborrelli.

The Groups of teens say they showed up at the shore to start their summer leases this week, only to find that the properties they paid for are no good.

"He said he would give us this one place that didn't pass inspection; he said he was going to give us another place, but the house was not livable. He double-booked a bunch of other people's houses, and now we are trying to get in touch with him, and he's nowhere to be found," said Kinee.

Ricky Taraborrelli and 8 of his buddies say they spent $12,000 to rent a property from Jimmy Georginis that had already been rented out to other tenants.

"He just said he doesn't own the property anymore," said Ricky.

Julie Labita took photos of piled up trash and filth inside of a condemned property at 146 East Spicer Street.

Labita's son had rented the space for his upcoming senior week trip not knowing it was inhabitable.

"We came down to get our money back," said Labita. "We just want to get our money back."

Action News met Julie at one of the supposed rental properties. The Mayor of Wildwood also showed up to calm hot-tempers and vowed to fix the problem.

"We've shut some of the properties down, and moved some of the kids to other locations. Some of the parents have come and picked up the kids. We feel terrible for them. They come down here to have a good time, and it is not working out that way," said Mayor Ernie Troiano.

Attempts to reach Jimmy Georginis for comment were unsuccessful.

Action News went to the location where some of the victims claimed they signed their leases.

The Pacific Avenue address is a business called Security Sweepers. A man who is not Jimmy Georginis walked outside and threatened our cameras.

Officials at the Cape May Prosecutor's office say they are actively investigating the case.