New Castle News

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February 25, 2014

Two accused of landlord/tenant scheme

NEW CASTLE — Two people are facing charges in connection with the alleged theft of money while professing to be landlord and tenant.

John Francis Gwin II, 30, of 424 E. Edgewood Ave., faces 13 counts of conspiracy to commit theft, and Diane L. Vandergriff, 56, of the same address, faces five counts.

The charges were filed against them Friday by the Lawrence County District Attorney’s office and they were sent summonses to appear in court.

According to court records, from Nov. 30, 2010, through July 1, 2013, Gwin falsely claimed to be a landlord and received eight checks totaling $1,580 from St. Vincent de Paul societies, made out to him personally, for alleged tenants who claimed to have fallen behind on rent payments.

Gwin told authorities he owned the properties.

A treasurer of one of the associated St. Vincent de Paul societies noticed one of the recent addresses given by Gwin as a “tenant” to obtain financial aid was a nonexisitent address, which alerted the treasurer to other false information Gwin allegedly had provided, according to court records.

Vandergriff allegedly represented herself as a tenant of Gwin’s on five occasions and Gwin received the checks, and she and Gwin both signed and cashed the checks, according to court papers.

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