Hello,I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. Are you online now?
I'm sorry to hear that you've fallen for a rental scam. They are all over Craigslist and you have to be very careful not to fall for them. The people who perpetrate this fraud are very convincing.
Here's how the scam works:
You see a home in a desirable area on a site such as Craigslist. The price of the rental for the area will be much too good to be true. The so-called owner will tell you that he or she cannot show you the house and will have some kind of reasonable excuse. However, he says that he has keys and all you have to do is wire the deposit and he will send you the keys and the lease.
Of course, the keys never come, even though as part of the scam you may have even ended up signing a lease. The lease is without any kind of value, other than the fact that it is proof of the fraud against you. That is because there never was a house for rent. There are no keys. Your money is gone and your "landlord" is nowhere to be found either, since everything he told you is a lie.
If the house exists at all you will find the premises occupied by a longtime owner or tenant who doesn't know what you're talking about because it was never actually for rent. And there you are, without a home having also lost hefty sum of cash, with no legal recourse, since your scammers can be anyone anywhere in the world.
You can read more about this on Snopes.com.
Your scammer can simply disappear into cyberspace by not answering his email or changing his email address.
You're the victim of a crime, as you already seem to know, since you involved the local police. Finding your scammer will be a matter for the police.
Report the crime to the FBI at IC3.gov, to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov and to Craiglist so that they take that ad down.
If police have no better luck than you do reaching your so-called landlord you contracted with, your unreimbursed losses due to this crime are tax deducible. So you'll be able to recover some of your money in the form of a tax deduction when you file your taxes next year.
As to the house, you have no legal right to be inside that home. You cannot stay there without the actual owner's permission and authority, and you could be facing a burglary charge if you remain. I am assuming that when you went to the police you showed them the lease, reported the scam to them and told them that you want the perpetrators of the scam found and prosecuted. I assume also you signed a police report. If not you need to do so, in order that you get what happened to you officially on record and show that you had no intention of defrauding the actual owners but was yourself a victim of a costly rental scam.
The real owners will likely be reachable after the holiday weekend. The police will should return with you to the premises to help you get your property out.
Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.