June 1, 2021 By Christian Murray
A Flushing con-man who posed as a real estate agent pleaded guilty last week to grand larceny charges for stealing more than $50,000 from apartment seekers, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
Cesar Fernandez-Loor, 38, advertised apartments for rent in Jackson Heights and then required his victims to fork over a deposit in order to move in. Many of his victims, immigrants living in the area, paid a deposit yet never heard from him again.
“The victims were looking for a place to call home,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “Sadly, they crossed paths with a con artist determined to enrich himself at their expense.”
Katz said that Fernandez-Loor will be required to pay his victims back, or he will face prison time of 2 1/3 to 7 years. More than a dozen people were bilked by the scam.
Fernandez-Loor, according to court records, advertised the apartments and then scheduled appointments to meet in person.
He presented himself as a real estate agent for ACT Realty Corp., a Jackson Heights firm, and then showed the apartments—before requiring his victims to pay a security deposit. He defrauded multiple victims, with them turning over between $1,300 and $7,000 each in the belief that they had secured a place to live.
None of the would-be renters were able to move in and he cut off all communication with many of them. He did write refund checks to some of the victims, which bounced.
The scam took place between December 2017 and February 2020, according to Katz.
Investigators were made aware of the scam following a news story by Univision Channel 41 highlight complaints from victims, which mentioned ACT Realty.