Andre Tolentino, 52, New City, New York, has been charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class “D” Felony. Tolentino, an employee of the Bravo supermarket in Hillcrest, New York, held himself out as a legitimate mortgage broker to a couple that frequented the grocery store. In 2007, the defendant offered the victims help in securing a mortgage to purchase the home, which they were renting at the time.
According to the charges, Tolentino introduced the couple to a mortgage broker in New York City, to whom the family paid $10,000. Several months later, the victims paid an additional $15,000 dollars to the defendant – money he claimed was needed to finalize the loan. In this sham transaction, the couple was told to make the check payable to Tolentino‘s wife.
During subsequent months, other payments were made to the defendant after the victims were told additional monies were needed to complete their loan. The victims never received the mortgage. Tolentino is not a licensed mortgage broker.
Tolentino‘s arrest resulted from an investigation conducted by the Rockland County Special Investigations Unit.
The defendant was arraigned in the Town of Ramapo Justice Court by the Honorable Rhoda F. Schoenberger and released on his own recognizance. He is due to return to court on February 15, 2011.
If convicted, the defendant faces seven years in prison.
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe announced the charges.
District Attorney Zugibe said, “This devious scheme kept the American Dream of home ownership out of reach for the hard-working victims. This type of financial swindle will be fully prosecuted.”