2017-07-19 / Features

Fake Realtor Agrees To Return $94K To Scam Victims

By Liz Goff
A Woodside woman who pretended to be a real estate broker to scam unsuspecting apartment seekers out of more than $94,000 will be forced to reimburse her victims as part of a deal reached with Queens prosecutors.

Rosita Tinoco was arrested at JFK Airport in May 2016 and charged with taking tens of thousands of dollars in security deposits, agent fees and rental payments from 19 prospective tenants for apartments t that she knew were unavailable, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Brown said Tinoco, who also went by the names Rosita Tsiklauri, Rosie Villegas, Rosy Villegas and Rosy Tinoco), 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, Tinoco swindles $94,770 from prospective tenants for the apartments and never returned their deposits.

At the time of her arrest, Tinoco was charged with swindling 19 people out of $76,000 in brokers fees and security deposits, prosecutors said.  At least nine additional victims came forward after her arrest, raising the total amount to $94,770. prosecutors said.

In six instances, Tinoco provided the clients with refund checks that bounced because her account was blocked, frozen or had insufficient funds, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Tinoco, 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, Tinoco identified herself as a real estate agent for the two companies and that she or an accomplice showed apartments and collected cash security deposits and other fees from unsuspecting clients for apartments that were never available to them.

On several occasions, Tinoco 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 Tinocoi 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 Tinoco $4,800 in cash and signed a rental lease for the apartment, expecting to move in at the beginning of August 2015. Tinoco later told the victim that the apartment was no longer available and kept the cash, Brown said.

Tinoco was facing up to fifteen years in prison if convicted. She pleaded guilty to grand larceny in March 2017; at which time she signed a Confession of Judgment and agreed to pay back most of the cash she stole from her victims. It is unclear how long Tenneco has been given to complete the reimbursements.

Two other men, both former employees of First Solution Realty and Supreme Realty, were later charged in connection with similar schemes, prosecutors said.

Victor Abaca, aqua Manny Hurt ado, of Woodside, and Roger Garcia, of Flushing, are facing charges including grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, scheme to defraud, petit larceny and issuing a bad check.

Prosecutors said the two men defrauded 20 prospective tenants out of more than $100,000 in security deposits, rent and agent fees for apartments that were not available.
Prosecutors said the cases are hot related.

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