A Queens realtor has been arrested after allegedly taking over $76,000 from people looking for apartments over the course of 11 months.
Rosita Tsiklauri was apprehended Monday at JFK Airport as she returned from Ukraine, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, who said Tsiklauri allegedly defrauded 19 prospective tenants who came to her for apartment-hunting help from November 2014 to October 2015.
"This case sadly represents an all-too-common scenario in which an allegedly greedy realtor is accused of taking advantage of Queens County’s tight housing market to rob unsuspecting individuals of substantial amounts of their hard-earned savings," Brown stated.
Tsiklauri is accused of taking $76,820 in security deposits, agent fees and rental payments for apartments that were never made available to the victims. In some instances, Tsiklauri allegedly collected payments from unrelated victims for the same apartments during the same rental period.
"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," Brown said.
In numerous cases, Tsiklauri would agree to refund money then not show up at the agreed upon time and place to issue the refund, or she would provide a check that would bounce, according to the district attorney’s office.
She has been charged with second-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third- and fourth-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud and issuing a bad check, the DA stated, adding that she was scheduled to return to court on May 31. Tsiklauri faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.