Queens County, the new hotbed of white collar crime and prosecutions, is the home of another alleged fraudulent scheme being prosecuted by the Queens County District Attorney’s Office. According to a Queens County District Attorney’s Office press release, Roger Arias, Martina Duran (a.k.a. Gladys Arroyo), Aldo Bussi, Ramon Gaston, and Percy Randall are alleged to have taken part in a $2 million Mortgage Fraud and Identity Theft scheme.
It is alleged in a 327 count indictment that Arias, the owner of Club Kalua, along with the other individuals used stolen identities to buy and sell three separate properties in Queens County. Not only are these individuals alleged to have used fraudulent identification to perpetrate their crimes while posing as buyers and sellers of real estate, one of the alleged stolen identities belonged to a deceased person.
According to the Queens District Attorney’s Office press release:
“An investigation revealed that the property was allegedly sold during a closing on July 13, 2006, that began in an attorney’s office in Westbury but concluded that evening in a restaurant parking lot in Deer Park, Long Island. It is alleged that three unidentified individuals showed up at the closing with fake identification and pretended to be the two actual homeowners (one of whom had died three months earlier) and the buyer. The house was sold for $500,000, of which $340,948 was due the two homeowners – less their existing mortgage. However, it is alleged that $250,0000 of that amount went to Duran – who organized and was present at the closing – and her co-conspirators.”
“The investigation further revealed that a mother and daughter had been in contract with the defendant and real estate broker, Roger Arias, about purchasing a house. Although the women provided Arias with their personal identification information, they ultimately decided to return to the Dominican Republic without buying a house. However, at a closing held on December 15, 2006, the owner of a property located at 56-10 Waldron Street in Corona allegedly sold his home for $701,000 to a woman who purported to be the older Dominican woman. It is alleged that Arias allegedly stole the woman’s identity and had an unidentified individual use it to purchase the Corona property, of which Duran and her co-conspirators allegedly received approximately $50,000 from the sale of the property.”
“Finally, according to the investigation, a third property located at 116-36 139th Street in Jamaica was purchased – allegedly with the assistance of Duran – using an imposter-buyer who had stolen the identity of an elderly woman living in Puerto Rico. A closing for the property was allegedly held on April 20, 2007, at which time the true owner of the home sold it for $550,000 ostensibly to the elderly woman. In fact, the woman was the victim of identity theft and has never traveled to the United States. Duran and her co-conspirators allegedly received approximately $50,000 from the sale of the property.”
The defendants are charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Identity Theft in the First Degree, Forgery in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree and Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. Grand Larceny in the Second Degree is a “C” felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Identity Theft in the First Degree, Forgery in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree are “D” felonies punishable by up to 7 years in prison while Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree is an “E” felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison. Crotty Saland PC is a New York criminal defense firm. Founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors, Crotty Saland PC represents clients throughout the New York City region.