Two individuals from Florida have been charged with the suspected Rent Theft from Michigan

Rafael Rodriguez and Juan Miguel Rodriguez-Venegas, who are citizens of Florida, have been charged by the Midland County Prosecutor’s Office for purportedly embezzling rent money.

The two individuals are being accused of engaging in the illicit activity of extracting money orders and cash from drop boxes located in apartment complexes and mobile home parks. They would then proceed to cash the money orders and retain the cash for themselves. These incidents occurred in the years 2019 and 2022.

“Michigan residents who deposit their rental payments through designated drop boxes should have confidence that those payments will be utilized for their intended purposes and not misappropriated by criminals,” stated Attorney General Dana Nessel. “We appreciate our collaboration with J. Dee Brooks and the Midland County Prosecutors Office, which will ensure that these defendants are held responsible for their actions.”

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Rodriguez is facing two accusations of uttering and publishing, while Rodriguez-Venegas is charged with possession of burglar’s equipment. Under the allegation of Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE), predicate activities encompass:

  • Six instances of larceny in Midland County.
  • One instance of larceny in Bay County.
  • Four instances of larceny in Oakland County.
  • Two instances of larceny in Saginaw County.

Rodriguez was formally charged in Midland County on March 15, 2024, and is set to appear for a probable cause conference on March 26. Rodriguez-Venegas was formally charged on February 5 and is scheduled to attend a Probable Cause Conference on April 9.

Both lawsuits are currently being heard by Judge Michael Carpenter at the 75th District Court.

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J. Dee Brooks, the Prosecuting Attorney of Midland County, expressed approval of the accusations.

“This case is highly exceptional yet significant as it encompasses numerous evident criminal offenses across various jurisdictions. We eagerly anticipate collaborating with the Attorney General’s Office to tackle the issue of out-of-state perpetrators victimizing our citizens in Michigan,” stated Brooks.