Queens straw buyer to lecture on her crime

November 19, 2009 01:06PM

A 32-year-old woman convicted last month of acting as a straw buyer in the theft of the Jamaica, Queens home of a mentally disabled 93-year old man must give lectures on mortgage fraud as part of her punishment, the office of the Queens district attorney said in a statement today.

According to prosecutors, straw buyer Rebecca Tharpe, of Brentwood, LI, partnered with an accomplice to steal the home of Artee McKoy, a retired barber with Alzheimer’s disease, at 146-04 116th Avenue, in the fall of 2005. McKoy died Dec. 24, 2008.

To take title of the building, McKoy’s signature was forged on a sales contract between him and Tharpe that was used to obtain a mortgage on the property. Later, the home was sold for $395,000, giving Tharpe a profit of $102,000 and giving the accomplice Alexandra Gilmore, who was sentenced to two to six years in prison for the crime, more than $200,000, the district attorney’s office said. Gilmore also fraudulently refinanced another McKoy property, at 209-47 45th Drive in Bayside, Queens, profiting by more than $300,000, prosecutors said.
Tharpe was sentenced today to 30 days in jail, five years’ probation and a $2,500 fine. In addition, the Queens judge required that she speak at mortgage fraud forums for two out of the five years in her probation.

The DA’s office said it believed this was the first conviction of a straw buyer ever in Queens. TRD