May 17, 2016 Staff Report
The owner of two Woodside real estate firms was arrested yesterday for allegedly bilking clients out of their security deposits, agent fees and rental payments on unavailable apartments, including one on 77th Street in Jackson Heights.
Rosita Tsiklauri, a 47-year-old College Point resident, operated Supreme Realty and Fast Solutions Realty out of 47-20 48th Ave. where she allegedly duped 19 prospective tenants between November 2014 and October 2015 out of $77,000, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Her realty firm allegedly collected deposits, fees and rental payments on apartments that were not available. In the cases where refunds were paid, the checks either bounced or her bank account was frozen.
Tskilauri was arrested at JFK Airport after arriving on a flight from Ukraine.
“This case sadly represents an all too common scenario in which an allegedly greedy realtor is accused of taking advantage of Queens County’s tight housing market to rob unsuspecting individuals,” Brown said. “For many of the victims, the loss is doubly troubling in that they lost their money and were still without a place in which to live.”
Tsiklauri was arraigned Monday before Queens Criminal Court Judge Althea Drysdale on a criminal complaint charging her with second-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third- and fourth-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud and issuing a bad check.
Tsiklauri faces up to fifteen years in prison if convicted and has been forced to surrender her U.S. passport.
Brown said that the matter was brought to the attention of his office by several of the prospective tenants and that anyone who believes that he or she may have been a victim of the defendant’s alleged scheme should contact his Economics Crimes Bureau at 1-718-286-6673.
Brown said that many of the prospective tenants learned of apartments through online ads or advertisements in local periodicals.
In one instance, Tsiklauri showed the same apartment on 77th Street in Jackson Heights to two prospective tenants – one in June 2015 and the other in July 2015.
Tsiklauri allegedly informed the first prospective tenant that the rent on the apartment was $2,500 a month and that she required $5,000 to cover the security deposit and agency fee.
The victim went to Fast Solutions Realty’s 48th Avenue office and allegedly gave Tsiklauri $5,000 in cash, tax information, pay stubs, a reference and signed a rental lease for the apartment. Tsiklauri allegedly told the victim she could move into the apartment between August 1 and August 15, 2015. However, it is alleged that the victim was never given access to the apartment after paying the deposit and fee and she was told by Tsiklauri that the apartment was no longer available to rent. Tsiklauri allegedly never provided the victim with a refund of the monies she paid to her.
In the second instance, Tsiklauri allegedly told the prospective tenant that the rent on the 77th Street apartment was $2,400 a month and that she required $4,800 to cover the security deposit and the agency fee.
As in the other case, the victim allegedly went to Fast Solutions Realty’s offices and gave Tsiklauri $4,800 in cash and signed a rental lease for the apartment with a move-in date at the beginning of August 2015. Similarly, the victim was allegedly told by Tsiklauri that the apartment was no longer available to rent and Tsiklauri allegedly kept the money that the victim had given her.
Tsiklauri was ordered to return to court on May 31, 2016.