By Victoria Merlino
A former Richmond Hill realtor was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in prison after scamming $600,000 out of prospective homeowners on “short-sale” properties.
Reshmi Maharaj, 53, told multiple clients that she was selling “short-sale” properties, or properties where the price of the house is less than what the current owner owes in liens on the property. Short sales are typically more desirable to lenders than initiating a costly foreclosure process.
From 2014 to 2016, clients gave Maharaj sums of money ranging from $34,500 to $199,000 to purchase the homes, which were said to be located throughout Queens and Brooklyn. However, they discovered that they were unable to move in to their homes.
Instead, Maharaj took the money and spent it on personal entertainment and expenses, such as travel expenses, cash withdrawal in trips to Trinidad and Tobago and trips to a local casino.
“The sentence meted out yesterday by the Court brings much-needed justice to these buyers who were robbed of their chance to fulfill their American Dream,” Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan said in a statement. “The defendant will now spend a significant amount of time in prison for operating this coldhearted scam.”