FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Building Superintendent Charged with Posing as Management Agent,
Stealing Over $18,000 from Eight People Seeking Apartments
Defendant had No Authority to Rent Apartments but Still Accepted Payments;
Victims Never Gained Possession of the Apartments; Defendant Never Returned Money
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Cypress Hills man has been charged with grand larceny and scheme to defraud for posing as an employee of his building’s management company and stealing over $18,000 from eight people, fraudulently collecting deposits and fees for vacant apartments which he had no authority to rent.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The defendant’s alleged theft and deception in this case is particularly reprehensible in light of the many challenges renters already face as they look for affordable housing in this city. We will continue to work to ensure that there is no room in Brooklyn for schemes such as this.”
The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Ruben Almeidas, 58, of Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with third-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, and seven counts of fourth-degree grand larceny. He was ordered held on $5,000 bail and to return to court on August 9, 2017. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the top count.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the defendant, a superintendent for a building located at 233 Jamaica Avenue in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, showed vacant apartments in that building to would-be tenants, from approximately April 1, 2016, to October 30, 2016. The defendant allegedly indicated that he worked for the management company that owned the building and that he could accept deposits for the apartments.
According to the investigation, after showing a vacant apartment, the defendant would collect a deposit and “finder’s fee” from a prospective tenant, even issuing receipts. The would-be tenants, however, found it impossible to move into the building, with the defendant offering a litany of excuses and reasons that the tenant could not yet move. While the tenants were unable to move in to the apartments they had paid for, the defendant is charged with keeping the fees he had already collected.
According to the investigation, the defendant allegedly carried out the scheme even though he had acknowledged that he did not have permission or authority to take any money from prospective tenants, in writing, to his employer.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant allegedly stole a total of $18,500 from eight prospective tenants, in amounts ranging from $1,850 to $3,600. The defendant was arrested in February 2017.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Detective Ernest Kenner of the Brooklyn North Grand Larceny Division.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Fayola Charlet of the District Attorney’s Immigrant Fraud Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney José Interiano, Deputy Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
An indictment is only an accusatory instrument and is not proof of a defendant’s guilt.