JACKSON HEIGHTS — A realtor who allegedly scammed prospective tenants out of nearly $80,000 was arrested Monday at JFK airport after returning from the Ukraine, according to the Queens District Attorney's office.
Rosita Tsiklauri — who also went by the names Rosita Tinoco, Rosie Villegas, Rosy Villegas and Rosy Tinoco — allegedly took $76,820 in broker's fees and security deposits from at least 19 tenants between November 2014 and October 2015, without providing any of the clients an apartment.
Tsiklauri worked out of Fast Solutions Realty and Supreme Realty, which were both at 47-20 48th Avenue in Woodside — and the DA's office fears there could be more victims.
"For many of the victims, the loss is doubly troubling in that they lost their money and were still without a place in which to live," DA Richard Brown said in a statement.
In most of the instances, Tsiklauri, 47, showed the same apartment to various tenants, asking for fees to cover the lease and taking all required documents.
She showed an apartment on 77th Street in Jackson Heights to two tenants in June and July of 2015, taking nearly $10,000 before saying the apartment was no longer available, according to the complaint.
In most of the instances tenants provided pay stubs, tax information and a reference in addition to cash, the DA said.
She allegedly sent refund checks to six of the scammed renters, but the checks were sent back due to lack of funds and a frozen account, the DA said.
Tsiklauri was arrested Monday after nearly a month in the Ukraine, and charged with criminal possession of stolen property, grand larceny and scheme to defraud and issuing a bad check.
She was forced to hand over her passport and faces up to fifteen years in prison if convicted, the DA said. Her lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
If you think you were a victim of the defendant’s alleged scheme, call the DA's Economics Crimes Bureau at 1-718-286-6673.