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Manhattan DA: Phony Brokers Bilked NYC Apartment Seekers

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance (File/Credit: Manhattan DA's Office)

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance (File/Credit: Manhattan DA’s Office)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Prosecutors say three people posed as real estate brokers to scam apartment-hunters out of thousands of dollars in fees and deposits on apartments they couldn’t get: Some places were already occupied.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced Wednesday that Ricardo Gonzalez, Elizabeth Adrian Perez and Juan Valoy have been indicted on grand larceny and other charges. They have pleaded not guilty.

Vance said the scheme targeted Hispanic immigrants looking for places to live in the bustling Washington Heights neighborhood.

“Scam artists frequently target immigrant communities,” Vance said in a news release. “Through this scheme, the defendants are accused of stealing thousands of dollars from their victims and, moreover, leaving many without a place to live.”

Valoy, Adrian Perez and Gonzalez showed more than 20 people apartments they claimed were available, then accepted as much as $5,500 for supposed application fees and security deposits, prosecutors said.

The defendants then delayed move-in dates and ducked victims’ calls, Vance’s office said.

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