By Jim Smith
BOSTON, Mass. — Just days before his trial was set to begin, a Cambridge man has pleaded guilty in West Roxbury District Court to larceny of several thousand dollars from three Irish students last summer.
The brazen scam artist, 25-year-old George Moses, posed as a real estate agent when he convinced Jane Woodlock, Aoife O’Mahoney and Elizabeth Prior, all in their early 20s, to hand over $3,450 to sublease an apartment for the summer on busy Commonwealth Avenue in Brookline.
Unknown to the students, who were in Boston on a summer work visa, the impostor had recently found the keys to the vacant apartment when he was inside the building.
On the day after they moved into the apartment, the women discovered that their possessions had been removed by the building manager, who informed them that they had evidently been the target of a cruel and costly hoax.
The women then contacted the Boston police, who set up a sting operation to nab Moses. The women reached Moses on his cellular phone and told him that they would be willing to pay additional funds for a larger apartment.
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Later in the week, Moses was arrested on a street in Brighton as he attempted to collect an additional $750 from the students for the new apartment.
Moses, who was the subject of 10 outstanding warrants for various offenses at the time of his arrest, was held on $30,000 cash bail from July 10 until Aug. 30, when he was released on $500 bail. By then, he had reimbursed the students for most of the money.
Because the women were returning home to Ireland at the end of the summer, arrangements were made by prosecutors to videotape their testimony and the cross-examination for later use at trial, which was originally set for Nov. 18. Moses, however, was jailed again for a probation violation relating to another offense on that date, and the trial was re-scheduled for February.
On February 10, Moses changed his plea to guilty. He was given a sentence of 51 days already served, a one year suspended sentence, one year’s probation, and an order to pay a final reimbursement of $700 to the students.
“We would have liked to have had a trial and a stiffer sentence, but at least he did spend his summer in jail and the students are being fully reimbursed,” said Karen Rolley of the Suffolk Co. District Attorney’s Office.