Queens family indicted in $1.75 million fraud scheme

A Queens County grand jury in New York indicted a couple and their daughter for allegedly stealing more than $1.75 million through real estate and immigration fraud, according to a release by the Queens district attorney earlier this month.

Over a period of six years, Shane Ramsundar, 50, his wife, Gomatee Ramsundar, 46, and their daughter, Shantal Ramsundar, 23, allegedly portrayed Shane as a federal agent and allegedly promised 19 members of the borough’s West Indian community that he could help them buy cheap governmentally seized properties in Florida and Queens and/or help them achieve legal status in the United States.

"Our immigrant community here in Queens can be especially vulnerable to deception and fraud when someone promises to help them navigate the process of obtaining the necessary documents to work and remain in the United States or to get ahead by dealing in real estate," said Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney.

"These victims are alleged to have put their faith and their finances in the hands of the defendants who, in turn, allegedly betrayed them by ripping them off and turning their American Dream into the American Nightmare."

The three were charged wih 34 counts of first- and second-degree grand larceny, first- and second-degree money laundering, first-degree criminal impersonation, first-degree scheme to defraud, and unlawful sale or possession of an air pistol, the release said. Each faces a maximum of 25 years in prison if convicted.

Mother and son charged with mortgage fraud

Also in Queens, the DA charged a mother and son, along with three other alleged co-conspirators, in connection with an estimated $2 million mortgage-fraud scheme earlier this month.

Roger Arias, 36, and his mother, Martina Duran, 57, own a night club, Club Kalua. With the help of three others, the mother and son allegedly stole identities, used them to buy and sell three properties in Queens, and pocketed the majority of the ill-gained proceeds.

The five face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. The District Attorney’s Office charged them with a total of 327 counts of second-degree grand larceny, first-degree identity theft, second-degree forgery, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, first-degree falsifying business records and fourth-degree criminal facilitation.

"Mortgage frauds such as those allegedly perpetrated by these defendants were among the root causes of the severe economic downturn of the last few years," Brown said.

"In this particular case, one of the frauds was so brazen that it allegedly involved the sale of a house by two people posing as sellers — one of whom was dead — to a third person posing as a buyer — with the defendants pocketing an astounding $250,000. These types of financial crimes have real-life consequences and will not be tolerated."

Family charged in $16 million fraud conspiracy

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (California) earlier this month charged a mother, two daughters and a son-in-law with a conspiracy to commit more than $16 million in real estate fraud. …CONTINUED

The family allegedly took out 54 fraudulent loans on 29 properties using straw buyers’ credit and personal information. Now-defunct bank Washington Mutual had approved the loans between June 2006 and October 2009.

Law enforcement authorities have arrested the mother and daughters and there is a warrant out for the arrest of the son-in-law, whom authorities believe is in India.

The district attorney charged the four with a combined total of 106 felony counts, with 43 counts falling on the mother, Sushama Devi Lohia, 71. She was charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, forgery, identity theft, recording false and forged instrument, and grand theft. If convicted, she faces a maximum of 40 years in state prison.

Lohia’s daughter, Supriti Soni, 49, was charged with 21 felony counts of similar crimes. She faces a maximum of 26 years and four months if convicted.

Another daughter, Suniti Shah, 48, was charged with 25 felony counts, also of similar crimes, and faces a maximum of 28 years in prison if convicted.

Suniti Shah’s husband, Dinesh Valjeebhai Shah, 60, was charged with 17 felony counts of similar crimes. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 19 years and four months in prison.

Couple charged in alleged $135 million Ponzi scheme

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged husband and wife Gaston and Teresita Cantens with allegations that they ran a $135 million Ponzi scam, the Real Estate Channel reported earlier this month.

The Cantens own Royal West Properties Inc. in Miami. They allegedly promised hundreds of investors — mostly Cuban-American seniors — annual returns of 9 to 16 percent on property in Southwest Florida. When that area was hit hard by the housing downturn, the couple began paying off earlier investors with money from new investors, according to the SEC.

"The Cantens also misappropriated more than $20 million from investors to fund unrelated personal business ventures, pay themselves high salaries, and divert money to their children and grandchildren," the SEC said in a statement.

In a statement released through a public relations firm, the Cantens denied the charges and called the SEC’s use of the term "Ponzi scheme" a "gross mischaracterization," the report said.

The Cantens are "honorable business owners" who were "caught in the undertow of a massive collapse of the national real estate market owing to forces that were generally unforeseen by the real estate industry, the financial markets or responsible government agencies," the report said, quoting the statement.


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