A lender’s email confirming new contact information tipped off the sole heir of a half-million-dollar Queens home that it had been sold by a couple of fraudsters, one from Long Island and one from the Bronx, the Queens district attorney said.
Jorge Vasquez Jr., 40, of Baldwin, Andy V. Singh, 34, of the Bronx, and the latter’s corporation, “23-31 100th Street,” conspired to steal a home left behind by a deceased homeowner and proceeded to sell the property to a sham corporation, District Attorney Melinda Katz said.
Vasquez and Singh were indicted and arraigned on multiple charges including grand larceny, identity theft, falsifying business records and conspiracy. The names of any defense counsel were not immediately available.
The two men could be sentenced to 15 year terms if convicted of the charges springing from what Katz said was the increasing crime of deed fraud.
The heir — the son of the owner who had died — contacted the mortgage company after receiving the email in October about a change in contact information. It informed him that the mortgage on the East Elmhurst home was paid off on Oct. 4., Katz said.
“When the victim visited the residence, he saw workers doing construction on the property and removing his personal belongings from the home, including childhood photo albums, and putting them in a dumpster in front of the property,” she said.
The heir contacted the district attorney’s office, which started investigating. On Nov. 8., a fraudulent deed was filed with the New York City Register claiming the property had been sold for $530,000 on Oct. 4 byVasquez — who was identified as the deceased homeowner’s “sole heir” — to the sham corporation, “23-41 100th Street,” for which Singh is listed as the sole shareholder and chairman, Katz said.
Katz said that in September Singh had allegedly made numerous phone calls to the mortgagee of the property, claiming that he was the son of the deceased homeowner and requesting a payoff statement in anticipation of the sale of “his mother’s” property.” He allegedly provided the deceased owner’s full name and social security number. Later that month, he contacted the mortgage holder again, this time claiming that he was the homeowner and was seeking a payoff quote, she added.
Then, in order to sell the home, Vasquez and Singh submitted forged documents including a death certificate to the title company, Katz added.
She said: “Deed fraud is a growing challenge within Queens County, but those who choose to victimize others for their own financial gain will be held to account in this borough.”