Alleged Rental Scam Ringleader Pleads Not Guilty

Anthony Zocoolillo, 30, pleaded not guilty to nine felony charges, including robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime, grand theft of personal property and accessing a computer to defraud.

The charges against are in connection with a rental scam prosecutors said Zoccolillo ran with Robert Ramus.

"They met with victims at the house and accepted money pretending they could rent houses. So far, we have information that they've taken $9,400 in cash," said Deputy District Attorney Jim Waters.

The 10News I-Team caught up with Zoccolillo in August at a vacant house in Pacific Beach.

The I-Team pretended to be a potential renter. Zoccolillo told the I-Team to leave a rental deposit of $1,000 in cash at the home.

An empty envelope was left at the house instead, and a few hours later, Zoccolillo showed up to collect the cash.

He took off once he was met by the I-Team. He did not want to see or talk to them.

According to court documents, Zoccolillo and Ramus "agreed to steal money from victims using a rental fraud scam."

The group used computers at a Kinko's to access the Multiple Listing Service database used by real estate agents, documents stated.

The men used an access code from a friend and got the lock box code numbers for two homes, including the Pacific Beach home.

By the time the I-Team caught up with Zoccolillo and Ramus, they had allegedly scammed multiple victims.

The prosecutors said the group might have continued the con if they were not caught.

"At least one individual in this case was planning to stay here for a few days and than move to another city and start the same scam over again," said Waters.

Zoccolillo is due back in court on October 17.

Ramus pleaded not guilty to charges last Friday.

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