Bronx woman sentenced in real estate scheme targeting immigrants
Jennifer Ricardo scammed 21 immigrants seeking affordable housing
A Bronx woman was sentenced last week to three years of probation for her involvement in a scheme that promised immigrants affordable apartments in city-owned buildings.
Jennifer Ricardo, 42, was also ordered to pay $60,000 in restitution to 21 immigrants who were targeted by the scam, according to a Bronx District Attorney press release.
Ricardo’s deceptive practices involved posing as a real estate broker or an employee of city housing agencies between June 2019 and September 2020.
She primarily targeted Spanish-speaking immigrants, particularly from the Dominican Republic. In her scheme, Ricardo accepted rent payments and security deposits, ranging from $1,620 to $3,240, for apartments in Bronx buildings. Unfortunately, the would-be renters never received keys or gained access to the promised apartments, and attempts to contact Ricardo after payment were futile.
Ricardo pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny on November 16, 2022, but was later re-sentenced to petit larceny after repaying the stolen funds. Bronx Supreme Court Justice Guy H. Mitchell imposed the three-year probation sentence after Ricardo paid back $60,346, which included processing fees.
District Attorney Clark expressed satisfaction in recovering over $60,000 for the victims, emphasizing that the defendant preyed on hardworking immigrants desperate for affordable housing. The restitution covered amounts taken from victims for deposits on apartments.
Another criminal accusation involving the misuse of New York affordable housing resources was made against a Bronx man in November. Maximo Nunez, 28, was accused of stealing construction vehicles from the city’s public housing agency, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced. He faces one count of conspiracy to commit theft of government property and one count of theft of government property.
The alleged scheme started around the beginning of 2021 and ran for nearly two years, according to prosecutors. On at least 13 occasions, Nunez and his co-conspirators allegedly stole no fewer than 16 construction vehicles from a dozen NYCHA developments across the city.