By Madina Toure
Two real estate agents from Flushing and Woodside have been charged with defrauding 20 prospective tenants out of more than $65,000 in security deposits, agent fees and rental payments between 2014 and 2015, Queens DA Richard Brown said.
The real estate agents were identified as Victor Oaxaca, 43, of Woodside, and Roger Garcia, 44, of Flushing, who were both employed by Fast Solutions Realty and Supreme Realty, all formerly located at 47-20 48th Ave. in Woodside, Brown said.
Oaxaca was arraigned June 23 on charges of grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, scheme to defraud, petit larceny and issuing a bad check, the DA said. He was released under supervision and ordered to return to court July 12 and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, Brown continued.
Garcia was arraigned on the same charges, released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court July 12, Brown added.
He faces up to seven years in prison if found guilty, he said.
Heribertos Cabrera, the attorney representing Garcia, said he cannot comment on the case at this time. Erin Malone, the attorney representing Oaxaca, could not be reached for comment.
The DA said an ongoing investigation has resulted in three arrests and found a total theft of more than $100,000 from 23 prospective tenants.
“These arrests are the latest stemming from our ongoing investigation of a Woodside realty company accused of preying on members of the Queens Latino community,” Brown said. “Sadly, this case represents an all too common scenario in which allegedly greedy realtors are accused of taking advantage of Queens County’s tight housing market to rob unsuspecting individuals of substantial amounts of their hard-earned savings.”
Brown’s office was first made aware of the matter by the television network Univision, and then by Make the Road New York, an immigrant advocacy organization, as well as several prospective tenants who met with staff from Brown’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, which then developed the case by uncovering additional alleged victims.
“At Noticias Univision 41, we are glad that the complaints brought to us by viewers, and the subsequent story, led to an investigation and prosecution,” Ramon Pineda, senior vice president and general manager of WXTV Univision 41, said. “This is a testament to our news team’s never-ending commitment to serving and empowering our community.”
Many of the prospective tenants learned of apartments that were available in Queens through ads placed on lampposts by Fast Solutions Realty or Supreme Realty, according to Brown.
Between Feb. 5, 2015 and Oct. 18, 2015, Oaxaca allegedly presented himself as a real estate agent for Fast Solutions Realty and Supreme Realty and he and another unidentified apprehended individual showed apartments to 16 prospective tenants and collected $53,600 in security deposits, agent fees and rent payments from them, Brown said.
But the money they collected was for apartments that were never made available for occupancy to the victims and which Oaxaca and the other individual never intended on renting to the victims, Brown continued.
In two instances, two prospective tenants were allegedly provided refund checks that bounced because the account had been blocked or frozen due to insufficient funds, the DA said.
Garcia presented himself as a real estate agent for Fast Solutions Realty and Supreme Realty between Nov. 15, 2014 and Aug. 6, 2015, Brown said.
He and another apprehended individual showed and collected $14,120 in security deposits, agent fees and rental payments from four prospective tenants and behaved similarly to Oaxaca, according to Brown.
In one instance, a prospective tenant’s refund check bounced because the account was either blocked or frozen, the DA said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour