Man who subleased low-income apartments faces allegations of fraud

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —WREG is hearing from the attorney for the apartment complex that claims a subleaser, who worked with big name charities, swindled the complex and the Metropolitan Interfaith Association out of money.

Carlton Johnson might not have been in court Wednesday, but it appears he'll have plenty of chances in the future as attorneys representing the complex he was working with plan to hold him accountable.

Johnson acted as a subleaser to nearly 30 low-income renters at The University Gardens Manor Apartments.

He was connected to vulnerable people through MIFA and they paid their rent directly to him.

He was supposed to then pay the complex, but the money seems to have vanished.

"I've never seen anything like this in my entire career. I am at a loss to be quiet honest with you," said Derek Whitlock, the attorney for The University Gardens Manor Apartments.

"My clients offer low-income housing for people who need low-income housing, so stealing from the poor and from charities is simply disgusting. We hate to be associated with it."

Johnson didn't show up for an initial report date to General Sessions Civil Court.

He doesn't have an attorney, but one did agree to represent just for the Wednesday court hearing.

He's currently living and running his company, TAG Services, out of the University Gardens Manor Apartments.

Whitlock says what will happen with the civil, or potentially criminal, cases against Johnson is still being determined.

"Our investigation is still going on and MIFA's investigation is still going on. But what we're uncovering thus far is disturbing," he said.

As for those who say they fell victim to Johnson, like renter Toneshia Waterway, Whitlock says those tenants will be given the chance to rent directly from the complex if they want.

"It's the same terms, same conditions, and essentially the same lease, but we're taking out the intermediary Mr. Johnson."

However, Waterway says she isn't satisfied.

"You're still not giving us our money back. You know what I'm saying? You're still not helping us resolve our issue. We came from MIFA, we came from off the streets, and got help from someone that was supposed to put us in a place of residence permanently."

Waterway says she's currently looking for an attorney.

Johnson maintains he had money stolen from him, that's why he cannot pay the complex. We checked and have found no record of the case he is talking about and he has not provided us with documentation. We uncovered he served time in Florida for grand theft and fraudulent use of an ID, we also uncovered Wednesday he has a record out of Michigan. His cases will be back in court in a July 25, we'll keep you posted.