CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — A Clearwater man was arrested Wednesday after police said he defrauded vacationers out of more than $4,000 after he rented out an “unsafe” houseboat to them.
Clearwater police said Blair Houston advertised a houseboat for rent on several websites from February to May. Four out-of-state families responded to the advertisement. Some of them even paid Houston in advance to rent the houseboat.
Once the families arrived at the houseboat, police said they found it in disrepair. The boat was in unsafe and unsanitary condition and it was unable to move, according to an arrest affidavit.
When the families tried to get a refund, police said Houston refused or ignored them.
Three of the four families were forced to find other arrangements, costing them even more money, detectives said.
Investigators said one of the families was not able to find a new place to stay so they remained on the boat.
Houston was arrested and charged with scheme to defraud.