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Astoria man charged in alleged rent fraud

According to a top Queens prosecutor, a property owner in Astoria faces charges of petit larceny, fraud and grand larceny after he bilked several prospective tenants out of $17,000 in first month's rents and security deposits. According to authorities, he had placed ads on Craigslist advertising apartments that were never available.

The man used the popular Internet site to advertise a room for rent. After people contacted him, he took their deposits, and in some instances, their first month's security, which ranged from $500 to $2000.The man postponed the apartment's availability dates by creating a variety of excuses. According to the District Attorney, he returned a partial payment to one prospective tenant. In addition, his wife may have returned $100 of $2,000 of another person's money.

The defendant ceased returning phone calls from those demanding refunds after he failed to deliver on his prior promises to return their money. His attorney could not be reached for comment. However, according the District Attorney's office, he was arraigned and held on $10,000 bail. His conviction could mean a prison sentence of up to four years.

The ramifications of white collar crime can be damaging to those who are accused. Such charges can have negative effects, including restitution, jail time and restrictive parole. Fraud and larceny are considered white collar crimes; however, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to assist individuals accused of such offenses. By gathering evidence from various sources, including law enforcement, a lawyer may be able to formulate a defense in an attempt to achieve a successful outcome for the accused.

Source: Times Ledger, "Astoria man charged with swiping prospective tenants’ deposits: DA", August 25, 2013

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