Elviston Ramasir, 28, of Manorville, N.Y., former president of Home Free Realty Inc., pleaded guilty in January to committing two different acts of fraud for which he was also fined more than $1 million, the FBI announced.In one of the scams, Ramasir bilked an investor out of approximately $1.5 million by promising lucrative rates of return on investments in properties he promised to purchase but never did. In another scheme, Ramasir placed ads on Craigslist to lure prospective renters for properties, and then he defrauded them by keeping their deposits without allowing them to move in.
"Elviston Ramasir was a brazen and unapologetic fraudster, running an online rental scam while facing criminal charges for an earlier real estate scheme," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "Now he will be behind bars and prevented from swindling any more unsuspecting victims."
While he was president of Home Free Realty, which offered foreclosure-related real estate services, Ramasir convinced one of his victims to invest money in a scheme to purchase foreclosed properties, which he said he would resell at a handsome profit.
The fraudster fed the investor lies about 38 properties in Brooklyn and Queens that he'd purportedly purchased on the investor's behalf. Unfortunately for the investor, 37 of those "properties" either didn't exist or were owned by others with whom Ramasir had no connection.
Despite that fact, Ramasir fooled his victim with false documentation, including a forged check, fake deeds of sale, and a supposed freeze order issued by the FBI to convince the investor his funds were being invested in real estate as promised.
Instead of buying any properties, Ramasir used some $1.5 million of the investor's funds to finance a lavish lifestyle, including, among other things, transfers of more than $600,000 to an E*Trade bank account, payments of nearly $200,000 on credit card debt, a $30,000 Mercedes-Benz, air travel, luxury hotels, and cosmetic surgery for himself and others.
Ramasir was nothing if not industrious, since he launched his second scam while free on bail after being charged with bilking the investor. From June 2010 to October 2010, he defrauded prospective renters out of thousands of dollars.
The scammer posted online Craigslist ads for two of his properties -- one in South Ozone Park, N.Y., and the other in Long Beach, N.Y., using the alias "Ryan Rameriz." He then collected payments from several potential tenants but refused to let any of them occupy the properties. After being confronted by his victims, Ramasir promised to repay them but never did.
In addition to more than four years in prison, Ramasir was ordered to pay more than $1.4 million to compensate his victims. He also agreed to surrender all his ill-gotten proceeds as well as his ownership interests in the South Ozone Park and Long Beach properties.