Valley woman committed rental scam while out on bond, documents say

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Celandria Hall. (Source: Maricopa County Attorney's Office) Celandria Hall. (Source: Maricopa County Attorney's Office)
Celandria Hall. (Source: Maricopa County Attorney's Office) Celandria Hall. (Source: Maricopa County Attorney's Office)

Prosecutors have filed felony charges against a woman accused of posing as a real estate agent to defraud a Valley family seeking a rental home for their paralyzed son.

Celandria Evettay Hall, 40, was taken into custody on July 26.

Court documents show Hall was out on bond, awaiting trial on unrelated charges of burglary and aggravated identity theft, when prosecutors say she scammed Sylvia Ontiveros and her family out of thousands of dollars. 

"Hopefully they don't let her out this time because it's a lot that she has done to us. She hurt us a lot," Ontiveros said Wednesday in Spanish with her daughter translating. 

Ontiveros told investigators she contacted a woman she thought was a realtor through Facebook and text message about renting homes in late May. The woman, identified in documents as Hall, told the family she was a real estate agent for American Homes 4 Rent and started showing them several homes in June and July. 

[PDF: Court documents regarding home rental scam]

Ontiveros was searching for a home in her budget that was large enough to accommodate her son Tony, who suffered a severe spinal injury during a rollover crash in late January that left him quadriplegic. Tony has been in hospitals and rehab facilities ever since.

"We want to be all together," Ontiveros said.

Investigators said Hall got the family to sign a fake rental contract on June 30 for a home near 75th Avenue and Broadway Road. The family paid her nearly $2,500 dollars in rent and fees and moved into the home using keys from a lock box, only to learn Hall was not really associated with American Homes 4 Rent.

On July 3, a representative from American Homes 4 Rent told the Ontiveros family that the property had not been rented, and served them with a five-day notice to vacate. The company did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

[RELATED: Already facing heartbreak, Phoenix family falls victim to rental scam]

[WATCH: Phoenix family scammed out of a home]

American Homes 4 Rent told investigators that Hall was not employed with them in any capacity. According to the family, the company refused to let them stay in the home because Tony has a criminal history from before his paralyzing injury.

"He's already tired of being in the hospital and that's why it hurt us that the company, they wouldn't do anything," Ontiveros said.

Court documents say that a public search of The Arizona Department of Real Estate revealed that nobody with the name Sandra, Celandria or Cel Hall was registered as a real estate agent.

Hall now faces one felony count of fraud and one felony count of theft. She is already facing burglary and aggravated ID theft charges in Avondale in connection with a February 2017 arrest, police said. 

Since that February arrest, Avondale police confirmed they have opened other "fraudulent-type investigations on Ms. Hall."

"As for the status of these investigations, they are still active," said Avondale police Sgt. Thomas Alt. 

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