Colonia Couple Arrested on $40K Hurricane Sandy Scam

Woodbridge authorities allege that Christine Winters and Michael Daddario made thousands by taking deposits on rental housing that didn't exist.

A Colonia couple charged with bilking would-be renters out of thousands in deposits for homes they never obtained may have gotten a big boost from Hurricane Sandy.

The hurricane that caused so much dislocation for families has caused a tightening of the rental market in some parts of the state, and that's where Christine Winters, 46, really started to expand a rental scam by posting housing ads on Craigslist, officials charge.

By offering impossibly good rental deals at cheap prices, Winters allegedly defrauded more than 40 people to the tune of $40,000, said Woodbridge Police Captain Roy Hoppock.

Police took note as they began to receive complaints about a woman who took deposits for housing that didn't exist, and then disappeared with their money. Winters had been initially arrested in July on two counts of theft by deception.

It was after Hurricane Sandy hit the area in late October that Winters allegedly upped the Craigslist postings and deposits she took. She was again arrested and charged twice in November with several more charges of theft by deception for the same scam before the last arrest on December 9, Hoppock said.

Michael Daddario, 41, who lives at the same address in Colonia as Winters, was also arrested on December 6 and charged with ten counts of theft by deception.

In one of the Craigslist ads, Winters allegedly offered a three-bedroom 1,750 sq. ft.Cape Cod house with a fenced yard, finished basement, and new appliances for a rent of $1,350 a month. The ad also said that pets were welcome, something not that easy to find in rental housing.

The same phone number in the Craigslist scam ad was also used for other business pursuits. A Google search revealed that the phone number was used in October to sell sex services on Classifriedads.com.

That ad, posted with pictures of a scantily-clad young woman, said that she was 19 years old and would "do it all" for a price - and a down payment before she'd show up for the paid date.

"...[Y]ou gotta send me something to secure your appointment, even if it's just $20," the ad said.

Both Winters and Daddario are being held on the theft by deception charges at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Facility in North Brunswick. Bail for Winters was set at $800,000, and $420,000 for Daddario, Hoppock said, with no ten percent option.

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Jaime Ravaioli December 14, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Also this wasn't just a "sandy" crime they have been doing this to anyone and everyone they can get their hands on!
Melissa December 14, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Well...... on top of scamming us meeting my 2 children (4 & 5 years) twice, having them pick out their bedrooms, taking money from us I am very happy to see that everyone feels the same way I do...they are scumbag whores! She gave us this awfully sad story that her kids where failing school and living with their dad when in reality they didn't want nothing to so with that piece of shit...Amazing thing they did not look like that one bit....Well shit happens so happy to see them locked up and miserable. She is so stupid she could have taken the money and be on some island right now dumb ass people! There is a special place in hell for them!
Al McDorman December 14, 2012 at 07:48 PM
What part did their addictions play in this?
JAY December 17, 2012 at 03:15 PM
--Im happy they are locked up but it doesnt help much that my boyfriend and i are now out of a place to live for us and his 7year daughter and completely out of money that was our last literally!!!-- she completely runied !!! our Christmas and New Year I cant stand to see her face on any of these news channels it makes me sick everytime!!! i still cant believe it she and her boyfriend/husband even had a beer with my boyfriend and laughed with us while they took our money so heartless and shameless ..... and it went all to what drugs?!?! "im disgusted"
Lori Lewkowitz December 21, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Did they really think they could have gotten away with this crime?


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