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A Jackson Heights man was sentenced to prison time after admitting to scamming more than 20 prospective renters out of thousands of dollars in a nearly three-year-long real estate scheme, prosecutors said.

Ulises Reyes, 39, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud earlier this month. He was sentenced to two concurrent five-month jail terms followed by five years’ probation.

Reyes was also ordered to pay $55,000 in restitution to victims of this scheme within nine months. Should he not meet these requirements, he will be re-sentenced to up to three years in prison.

“The victims in this case were tricked into believing they had found a new home,” said acting District Attorney John M. Ryan. “Instead, they were left out in the cold as a result of the defendant’s insatiable desire to line his pockets with the victims’ hard-earned money. The defendant is going to jail as punishment for this scheme. He must also pay back the money he conned from the numerous victims.”

According to charges, in September 2016, Reyes placed an ad for a unit for rent within a private home located on 44th Avenue in Corona. Reyes proceeded to meet with a woman interested in living in the apartment and accepted a $2,200 cash deposit from her.

Over the course of three years, Reyes repeated this same scheme more than 20 times, collecting cash deposits from would-be renters for apartments located at 105th Street and 43rd Avenue, also in Corona, as well as other locations. Reyes pocketed between $1,850 to $4,000 in deposits from each would-be renter, and according to Acting District Attorney Ryan, the victims were never allowed to move into the apartments.

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