Virginia Landlord Arrested For Racial Discrimination, Rampant Fraud

Key Takeaways:

– David Merryman, a Virginia landlord, is facing federal fraud and civil rights abuse charges
– Merryman is accused of subjecting his Black tenants to violence, threats of violence, and racist slurs
– He is also accused of defrauding the government and his tenants by making false claims and submitting fraudulent applications
– Merryman allegedly evicted some of the tenants he was defrauding for unpaid rent while collecting relief checks
– He would cycle through tenants to continue demanding upfront fees or security deposits that he never intended to return
– Merryman also took money and property from tenants under false pretenses
– This is not the first time Merryman has faced federal charges, as he was previously arrested for failing to comply with a judge’s orders
– If convicted, he faces multiple charges including wire fraud, interfering with housing rights, theft of government money, and aggravated identity theft
– The maximum sentences for these charges range from one to 20 years in prison.

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David Merryman is accused by federal prosecutors of subjecting his Black tenants to violence and racist slurs.

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A Virginia landlord is facing federal fraud and civil rights abuse charges for allegedly terrorizing his Black tenants.

The landlord, 58-year-old David Merryman, owns more than 60 rental properties and a landscaping company in Hampton and Newport News, Virginia. He is accused by federal prosecutors of subjecting his tenants to violence, threats of violence and racist slurs and of defrauding the federal government to receive rent relief benefits and assistance payments for public housing.

The indictment, which was unsealed last week, details several incidents of Merryman using graphic threats of racist violence against his tenants, as well as incidents where he followed through on his threats, such as when he allegedly struck a tenant with a shovel and threatened another with a chainsaw.

Merryman’s use of racial slurs included one incident when a female tenant’s house became backed up with sewage. Merryman allegedly said it was “probably her weave” and instructed the tenant to “clean the house like when you were slaves.”

When another tenant requested Merryman fix his broken air conditioner, Merryman allegedly responded “Y’all should be used to that. You’re Black, you can take the heat a little bit,” according to the indictment.

Merryman is further accused of defrauding the government and his tenants. One of his alleged schemes involved making false claims to the Department of Housing and Urban Development about the condition of his properties to receive housing assistance payments. Another saw him submit fraudulent applications for rental assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic by forging his tenants’ signatures and stealing their identities. While collecting large relief checks, Merryman evicted some of the tenants he was allegedly defrauding for unpaid rent.

Merryman would cycle through tenants in order to continue demanding significant upfront fees or security deposits that he never intended to return, prosecutors allege. He also regularly took money and property from tenants under the false pretense that he would reimburse them for repairs they did themselves or paid for on his properties.

It’s not the first time the landlord has faced federal charges. He was arrested for failing to comply with a judge’s orders in 2022 after he was ordered to pay nearly $46,000 in back wages and damages for his landscaping company.

Merryman faces 10 counts of wire fraud, four counts of interfering with housing rights, six counts of theft of government money, and four counts of aggravated identity theft. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for each count of aggravated identity theft, with maximum sentences ranging from one to 20 years for each of the other charges.

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Property Chomp's Take:

David Merryman, a landlord in Virginia, is facing federal fraud and civil rights abuse charges for allegedly terrorizing his Black tenants. The 58-year-old landlord owns more than 60 rental properties and a landscaping company in Hampton and Newport News, Virginia. According to federal prosecutors, Merryman subjected his tenants to violence, threats of violence, and racist slurs. He is also accused of defrauding the federal government to receive rent relief benefits and assistance payments for public housing.

The indictment, which was unsealed last week, provides details of several incidents where Merryman used graphic threats of racist violence against his tenants. In one instance, he allegedly struck a tenant with a shovel and threatened another with a chainsaw. Merryman's use of racial slurs was also documented, including an incident where he blamed a female tenant's backed-up sewage on her "weave" and instructed her to "clean the house like when you were slaves." Another tenant who requested a repair for a broken air conditioner was allegedly told, "Y'all should be used to that. You're Black, you can take the heat a little bit."

In addition to the physical and verbal abuse, Merryman is accused of defrauding the government and his tenants. One scheme involved making false claims to the Department of Housing and Urban Development about the condition of his properties to receive housing assistance payments. He also submitted fraudulent applications for rental assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic by forging his tenants' signatures and stealing their identities. While collecting large relief checks, Merryman evicted some of the tenants he was allegedly defrauding for unpaid rent.

Prosecutors also claim that Merryman would cycle through tenants in order to continue demanding significant upfront fees or security deposits that he never intended to return. He would also take money and property from tenants under the false pretense of reimbursing them for repairs they did themselves or paid for on his properties.

This is not the first time Merryman has faced federal charges. In 2022, he was arrested for failing to comply with a judge's orders after he was ordered to pay nearly $46,000 in back wages and damages for his landscaping company.

Merryman now faces multiple charges, including wire fraud, interfering with housing rights, theft of government money, and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, he could face significant prison sentences.

The case against Merryman highlights the importance of protecting tenants from abusive and discriminatory landlords. It also serves as a reminder that fraudulent practices can have severe consequences. The federal government is committed to ensuring the fair and safe treatment of tenants, and individuals like Merryman will be held accountable for their actions.

In conclusion, the case of David Merryman sheds light on the disturbing behavior of a landlord who allegedly subjected his Black tenants to violence, threats, and racist slurs. The charges against Merryman highlight the need for stronger protections for tenants and stricter penalties for those who engage in discriminatory and fraudulent practices. It is crucial for the government to continue its efforts to ensure the fair and equal treatment of all individuals in the housing sector.

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