By Jonathan Sperling
A Jackson Heights man has been charged with scamming more than a dozen people out of $25,000 in cash deposits after promising them several Corona apartments that he never rented out.
Ulises Reyes, 39, allegedly allowed prospective renters to tour the apartments between October 2017 and February 2019 before taking as much as $2,300 in cash deposits from each victim.
Reyes is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud. He faces one to four years in prison if convicted.
“The victims in this case did what any other prospective renters would have done — they called an advertised number, met with the defendant and toured an apartment,” said Chief Assistant District Attorney John Ryan in a statement. “The defendant, however, was scheming from the moment he allegedly posted a for rent sign with his phone number listed.”
On Oct. 27, 2017, Reyes met with a woman in front of a two-family house on 50th Avenue in Corona where he posed as an authorized agent renting a unit within the house — he even gave the woman a tour, prosecutors said. After the tour, the woman handed Reyes $2,300 in cash as a deposit, believing she would be able to move in soon, prosecutors said.
Around July 23, 2018, a man looking to rent an apartment called a number he spotted on a “for rent” sign, prosecutors continued. Reyes allegedly showed the would-be renter an apartment on 105th Street in Corona and accepted another cash deposit of $2,300 from the victim.
Reyes allegedly duped a victim into believing they could rent an apartment on 43rd Avenue in Corona. Overall, he allegedly accepted cash deposits ranging from $1,850 to $2,300 and never actually allowed the victims to live in the apartments they’d placed a deposit on.
Court records indicate that Reyes ran the same scheme on at least 12 would-be renters.
“More than a dozen people were duped into handing over thousands of dollars in cash as a deposit for an apartment that was never rented,” Ryan said.