Bronx woman swindled nearly $20,000 from renters looking for affordable housing: DA

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Apartment for rent

A sign advertises an apartment for rent along a row of brownstone townhouses (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

THE BRONX, N.Y. — A Bronx woman was indicted Tuesday for allegedly swindling thousands of dollars from people searching for affordable housing at city-owned buildings during the pandemic.

Jennifer Ricardo, 39, pretended to be either a real estate agent, a city Housing Preservation & Development employee or a city Housing Development Corporation employee when she scammed eight victims between June 2019 and September 2020, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said. 

Ricardo met the victims at various apartment buildings, accepted rent payments and security deposits, and then disappeared, according to Clark.

The victims never received keys or got the apartments they were promised, and they could not reach Ricardo after they paid her, Clark said. In total, Ricardo is accused of stealing $19,459 from the would-be renters. 

“The defendant preyed on people who entrusted her with their hard-earned money as rent and security deposits for apartments. She allegedly posed as a real estate broker or an employee of the city’s Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) or the city’s Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and took amounts from $1,620 to $3,240 for deposits, which are enormous sums for people with low incomes. Her alleged behavior is unconscionable,” Clark said in a statement Tuesday.

Ricardo was arraigned on Tuesday in a 39-count indictment, including charges of grand larceny, petit larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, and scheme to defraud.

Her next court appearance was set for Oct. 8, 2021.

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