2016-06-01 / Front Page

Woodside Realtor Busted In $7.5G Client Fraud

By Liz Goff
A Woodside realtor was arrested at JFK Airport on May 16 and charged with taking tens of thousands of dollars in security deposits, agent fees and rental payments from 19 prospective tenants for apartments that were unavailable, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Brown said Rosita Tsiklauri (aka Rosita Tinoco, Rosie Villegas, Rosy Villegas and Rosy Tinoco), 47, of College Point, was charged with multiple counts of criminal possession of stolen property, grand larceny, scheme to defraud and issuing a bad check.

Brown said that over a one-year period between November 2014 and October 2015, Tsiklauri took more than $76,000 from prospective tenants for apartments that were not available, and never returned the deposits.

In six instances, Tsiklauri provided the clients with refund checks that bounced because the account was blocked, frozen or had insufficient funds, Brown said.

Tsiklauri, chief executive officer at Fast Solutions Realty and Supreme Realty, both formerly located at 47-20 48th Avenue in Woodside, placed online ads or advertisements in local publications announcing apartments that were available throughout Queens, Brown said.

Brown said between November 14, 2014 and October 18, 2015, Tsiklauri identified herself as a real estate agent for the two companies and that she or an accomplice showed apartments and collected $76,820 in security deposits and other fees from unsuspecting clients for apartments that were never available to them.

On several occasions, Tsiklauri agreed to return customer deposits but failed to show up at a specific time and place to refund the money, Brown said. She also collected payments from more than one client for the same, unavailable apartment.

Brown said in one incident Tsiklauri told a client that the rent on an apartment on 77th Street in Jackson Heights was $2,400 a month, and that she needed $4,800 to cover the security deposit and agency fee. The unsuspecting victim went to Fast Solutions Realty and gave Tsiklauri $4,800 in cash and signed a rental lease for the apartment, expecting to move in at the beginning of August 2015. Tsiklauri later told the victim that the apartment was no longer available and kept the cash, Brown said.

“This case sadly represents an all to common scenario in which an allegedly greedy realtor is accused of taking advantage of Queens County’s tight housing market to rob unsuspecting individuals of substantial amounts of their hard-earned savings,” Brown said. “For many of these victims, the loss is doubly troubling in that they lost their money and were still without a place in which to live.”

Tsiklauri, who faces up to fifteen years in prison if convicted, was held in lieu of $75,000 bond, $60,000 cash bail. She was ordered to surrender her U.S. Passport and is due back in court on May 31.

 

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