Con artist dupes prospective tenants out of $25,000 in northwest Queens rental scam: cops

Photo via Getty Images/Inset courtesy of NYPD

Detectives are looking for a scammer who falsely advertised apartments for rent around Corona, East Elmhurst and Elmhurst nearly than a dozen times last year, swindling prospective tenants out of thousands in deposit payments.

Sources familiar with the investigation said that the tenants met with the suspect in response to fliers posted around the neighborhoods advertising homes for rent. In each of the 11 instances, police said, the suspect asked for and received security deposits from the victims, ranging from $1,850 to as much as $2,900.

But when the tenants tried to follow up with the suspect, cops said, they were unable to reach him. In all, police said, the con artist walked away with a combined $25,300 from his victims.

Four of the incidents occurred at a home on 105th Street in East Elmhurst. Police said the suspect met with his victims on July 23, July 27, July 30 and Aug. 6, 2018, at the location, stealing a combined $9,200.

Law enforcement sources said the swindler met with a 36-year-old woman at an apartment on 97th Street in Corona on Aug. 17, taking her $2,300 deposit payment and leaving her without an apartment.

The suspect then duped two more victims after showing them an apartment on 43rd Avenue in Elmhurst on Sept. 5 and Sept. 17. Authorities said that he stole a combined $4,700 in deposit payments from them.

On Sept. 22, police stated, the suspect bilked a 35-year-old woman out of a $2,300 deposit after showing her an apartment on 46th Avenue in Corona. He returned to the neighborhood on Nov. 8 and swindled an $1,850 deposit payment from two women to whom he showed an apartment on 101st Street.

The last two incidents occurred just after Christmas when he met with two prospective tenants at an apartment on 104th Street in Corona. Cops said the suspect swindled a 39-year-old man out of a $2,900 deposit payment on Dec. 27, then took a $2,000 payment from a 43-year-old woman on Dec. 31.

All of the incidents were reported to the 110th and 115th Precincts.

On Jan. 23, the NYPD released an image of the suspect taken after one of the incidents on 105th Street in East Elmhurst. Police said the perpetrator identified himself by different names to his victims, including Antonio, Toni, Patricio, Emilio, Tomas, Alfredo, Angel DeJesus and Jesus Parra.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA), visit the Crime Stoppers website, send a direct message on Twitter to @NYPDTips or a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

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