Bronx woman who lost home in fire scammed out of $2,000

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THE BRONX -

A Bronx woman who lost her home in a fire is facing another setback after she says she was scammed out of nearly $2,000.

Jessica Mercedes met News 12 at her mother's house to discuss how she was scammed out of money that she was hoping to use to get out of a shelter. She's been displaced following a September fire on Walton Avenue.

After the fire, Mercedes says she used the real estate app and website Trulia and thought she found the perfect apartment at 1515 Grand Concourse. She contacted the listed realtor only to get duped.

The supposed broker was Anays Cacillo, of A.Mer.C Limited Inc. The broker showed Mercedes the apartment and said she had to cough up nearly $2,000 to secure the unit. Mercedes says she knows there were red flags, but she was desperate.

Two weeks later, Mercedes contacted the broker, frustrated and confused.

"She wouldn’t answer my calls, she would not text me back," she says. "In the third week I said to her this doesn’t look right, did you steal my money?"

Mercedes also contacted the building's management office to find out if it ever received an application. It didn't.

After News 12 got involved, a police report was filed and Cacillo was arrested and charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and petit larceny. One of her associates was also arrested. A court date has not yet been set.

Google reviews for A.Mer.C Limited Inc. apparently show that Mercedes was not the only person scammed. "They'll steal your money and make all kinds of excuses," one reviewer said.

According to the Better Business Bureau, seven complaints have been filed against the company, six of them unanswered. The BBB gave A.Mer.C Limited Inc. an "F" rating.

Until she can afford to move out, Mercedes says she'll remain in the shelter with her children, while continuing frequent visits to her mother's home.

Editor’s Note: Anays Caceres reached out to News 12 regarding this investigation saying she was not directly involved with Jessica Mercedes’s rental, claiming it was someone else previously affiliated with the company. Caceres is the owner of A.Mer.C Limited Inc.  She claims the charges she is facing arise from a separate incident. Caceres has denied all requests for on-camera interviews. Caceres claims Mercedes was given back her money. As of 05/18/18, no receipts or banking information were provided to support this claim.  

A previous version of this story listed Anays Caceres’s name as Anays Cacillo.

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