The Real Deal New York

Ex-Citi Habitats agent allegedly set fire to NYU student — and then Snapchatted it

Suspect was singing as he recorded the grisly video, authorities say
By Tess Hofmann | January 21, 2015 02:23PM

Talk about burning bridges. A former Citi Habitats agent, 20-year-old Jaime Castano, was arrested Monday for allegedly setting fire to a classmate in his dorm room and then posting the grisly video on Snapchat. All while singing.

Castano, who was a New York University student at the time but was expelled in September after the Aug. 23 attack, admitted to police that he used his cell phone to record a video of the sleeping female student engulfed in flames and her subsequent panicked attempts to put them out.

The victim, who suffered painful burns and scarring on her torso, was intoxicated on the night of the attack, according to police sources cited by the New York Daily News. She wasn’t aware of what happened to her until the next day, when she saw the video posted on Snapchat, a short-term social video platform favored by millennials.

To comply with the victim’s wishes, NYU delayed telling the police about the crime until late October, a spokesperson for the university said in a statement to the Daily Intelligencer.

Castano’s agent profile has been deleted from the Citi Habitats website. But an archived page of his agent bio seen by The Real Deal shows that Castano was representing rental properties in Greenwich Village and Chelsea. His biography said he was born in Colombia, raised in Miami, and is a quadruplet.

“I offer clients an unparalleled work ethic, and experience in assisting with the long process of finding the right space and closing a transaction,” Castano said on his bio page. “Everyone deserves that kind of commitment.”

Representatives from Citi Habitats did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is unclear whether Castano was terminated or whether he left of his own accord.

Castano was arraigned Tuesday on first-degree charges of assault and reckless endangerment, and is set to appear in court on Friday to learn if he has been indicted.