Update (12.18.17): Restitution was paid in full to the victims in the case.
Update (1.18.16): Chris E. Hixon pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor, was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay restitution to victims.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 41-year-old Rosemount homeowner is accused of swindling payments and security deposits from renters after telling them the room he was renting in his home was no longer available, according to charges filed Wednesday in Dakota County Court.
Chris E. Hixon was charged with felony theft by swindle in connection with the incident, which was ongoing from Nov. 28, 2014 to Jan. 9.
According to the criminal complaint, Rosemount police received at least four complaints about a man who had posted a bedroom for rent in his home on Craigslist.org. The victims responded to the advertisement and met with the man, later identified as Hixon. He allegedly showed the renters the same room, who then signed a lease with him, paid $1,000 rent and a security deposit.
The complaint states Hixon later called each of the renters and told them he was going through child custody issues and the room was no longer available. He also told them he couldn’t return their payment because the money had been spent. One victim told police the room was still listed online after he was told he couldn’t move in.
Further investigation showed Hixon’s home went into foreclosure in August of 2013 and his redemption period ended in August of 2014. He no longer legally owned the residence and could not rent the room.
If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.