Two Queens men were arrested for their roles in allegedly conning a couple out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a fake house selling scheme.
Ramjit Jaikaran, aka A.J. Jaikaran, 55, of South Ozone Park, and Colin Hill, 41, of Jamaica, were arraigned on May 21, while their two co-conspirators, Kaso Rampersad, 51, of Orlando, Florida, and Justin Codrington, 29, of New Rochelle, New York, were arraigned on April 17. They were charged in the 20-count indictment with one count of conspiracy, one count of second-degree grand larceny, two counts of first-degree identity theft, seven counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, one count of fourth-degree conspiracy, and five counts of first-degree falsifying business records.
Hill was additionally charged with one count of practicing and appearing as an attorney at law without being admitted and registered, and Codrington is charged with one count of criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of second-degree money laundering.
Hill, Jaikaran and Rampersad were released without bail and Codrington is being held on $30,000 bail. They are due to return to court on June 26. If convicted, they each face up to 15 years in prison.
“These defendants allegedly engaged in an elaborate scam to steal the savings of an innocent couple,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “I am committed to protecting homeowners and home purchasers in Brooklyn and will now seek to hold the defendants accountable for this alleged scheme. As property values continue to rise in Brooklyn, protecting residents from fraudulent real estate schemes is a top priority.”
According to charges, in July 2017, a Guyanese couple were looking to invest in property in Brooklyn. The defendants allegedly told the couple to pay $276,000 to purchase a residential property located on East 94th Street in Canarsie, which the couple believed the defendants were authorized to sell. The property was actually owned by Ruth Adelman, who passed away in 1993 without a will.
Jaikaran allegedly showed the house to the couple, claiming that it was for sale, and Rampersad allegedly pretended to represent Adelman’s heir – falsely claiming that she had a son who inherited the property and was willing to sell it. However, Adelman did not have any children, and the person identified by the defendants as her “son” was in fact the victim of identity theft.
Hill, who not an attorney and is not admitted to practice law in New York state, allegedly agreed to act as the couple’s attorney at the closing on July 31, 2017. At the closing, Hill allegedly claimed that the homeowner’s “son” had already signed the contracts, transferring ownership of the property to the couple’s family corporation. Hill even presented them with a fraudulent death certificate for Adelman which identified her supposed son, and a fraudulent birth certificate for the “son.”
The couple paid the defendants $250,000, using two bank checks for $150,000 and $125,000, along with $1,000 in cash for Hill’s “legal” fee, to complete the sale. Codrington allegedly cashed the check for $150,000 using an account controlled by his company and other funds were allegedly disbursed to a company controlled by Jaikaran’s wife.
In November 2017, the couple’s family corporation was sued by Valley Capital Partners LLC, which alleged that it purchased the property from Adelman’s true heirs. One of the victims confronted defendants Jaikaran and Rampersad, in separate conversations, stating that he believed that he may have been defrauded, and both defendants allegedly urged him not to report it to law enforcement.