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Two men charged in conspiracy to steal East Elmhurst home from dead woman’s son: DA

Two men try to steal East Elmhurst home
Photo via Getty Images

Two men and the “sham corporation” they operated were indicted by a Queens grand jury and charged in a scheme to steal an East Elmhurst residence from a deceased homeowner by posing as her son, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Jorge Vasquez Jr., 40, of Baldwin, Long Island, and Andy V. Singh, 34, of the Bronx were arraigned in Queens Supreme Court Monday for allegedly filing fraudulent paperwork as part of a scam to claim ownership of the East Elmhurst home.

The defendants are accused of conspiring to impersonate the deceased homeowner, as well as her son, the rightful heir to the home, in order to unlawfully gain access to the payoff information of the mortgage so that the property could be sold. The defendants then used that information to complete the sale of the property.

According to the charges, the deceased property owner passed away in 2019, leaving the victim, her only biological son. In October 2021, the victim noticed an email from his mother’s mortgage company that confirmed a change in contact information on the loan, including an email address that the victim did not recognize. When the victim contacted the mortgage company to inquire about this unauthorized change in information, the mortgage company informed the victim that the mortgage had been paid off on Oct. 4, 2021.

When the victim visited the residence, he saw workers doing construction on the property and removing his personal belongings from the home, including childhood photo albums, and putting them in a dumpster in front of the property. The victim then contacted the district attorney’s office, which began conducting an investigation.

On Nov. 8, 2021, a fraudulent deed was filed with the New York City Register, which claimed the property had been sold for $530,000 on Oct. 4, 2021, by Jorge Vasquez Jr. “as sole heir” of the deceased property owner, to 23-41 100th Street Corp., for which Andy Singh is the sole shareholder and chairman, according to the charges.

Katz said that in September 2021, Singh allegedly made numerous phone calls to the mortgagee of the property claiming that he was the son of the deceased property owner. He allegedly provided the victim’s first name, and the deceased property owner’s full name and social security number and requested a payoff statement in anticipation of “his mother’s” property.

Later that same month, Singh contacted the mortgage holder once again, this time claiming that he is the deceased homeowner, and was seeking a payoff quote. Singh allegedly provided the homeowner’s social security number during this call as well.

Katz said, in order to sell the home, the defendants were required to submit several documents to the title company, including the death certificate for the deceased property owner and affidavits of heirship confirming the seller as the sole heir. As alleged, the death certificate submitted to the title company was forged, as it claimed the deceased owner passed away in 2017 when she actually passed away in 2019.

According to the charges, the affidavits of heirship claiming Jorge Vasquez Jr. was the only living heir of the deceased property owner were also fraudulent. Katz added that this all occurred without the knowledge or consent of the deceased homeowner’s son, the rightful heir to the property.

“As alleged, these defendants conspired to steal a home left behind by a deceased homeowner and proceeded to sell the property to a sham corporation for more than a half-million dollars,” Katz said. “Deed fraud is a growing challenge within Queens County, but those who choose to victimize others for their own financial gain will be held to account in this borough. The defendants, including the company, have been indicted on numerous charges and the two individuals face prison time if convicted.”

The defendants were arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice Donna-Marie Golia on charges of grand larceny, three counts of identity theft, two counts of falsifying business records, criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal possession of the stolen property, offering a false instrument for filing and conspiracy.

Justice Golia ordered the defendants to return to court on Aug. 10. The two men each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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