Shawn Corcas, 39, St. Albans, New York, pleaded guilty to stealing the identity of a 68-year-old Jamaica, Queens, man who had been disabled as a result of a stroke and then secretly selling his house out from under him and pocketing the profits.
The defendant pleaded guilty before Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Grosso to one count of second-degree grand larceny and one-count of first-degree falsifying business records. He was ordered to pay $95,000 in restitution to the victim, Keith Simmons. As a condition of the plea, the defendant agreed to pay $40,000 restitution by September 14, 2009, the date of his sentencing. If he adheres to that condition he is expected to be sentenced to five years’ probation. If the defendant fails to make that amount of restitution by that date he is expected to be sentenced to three to nine years in prison. The defendant’s sister, Patricia Corcas, 55, of 141-25 247th Street in Rosedale pleaded guilty earlier this year to first-degree falsifying business records and is expected to be sentenced on July 15, 2009 to five years’ probation.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced the guilty plea and said that, according to the charges, Shawn Corcas is the president and Patricia Corcas is the vice-president of Profit & Profit, which does business out of Shawn Corcas‘ residence. The defendants sold the home of the victim, Keith Simmons, 68, located at 143- 10 Shore Avenue, Jamaica, New York, on March 6, 2008, without his knowledge, then deposited the proceeds of the sale – $95,801.29 – into the business account of Profit & Profit. The victim suffered a stroke in January 2008 that left him without the ability to speak coherently.
The District Attorney said that the victim’s house was sold to a 62-year-old woman, Carolyn Hailey, through the use of a power of attorney held by her husband, Musa Bey. The closing took place at 3 Grace Avenue, in Great Neck, New York, at the office of the lender’s closing agent. The entire transaction was organized by defendant Shawn Corcas, who approached a branch of Golden First Mortgage Company, in South Ozone Park, New York, and said that his client, Carolyn Hailey, was interested in obtaining a loan to buy the Simmons home. An investigation by the District Attorney’s office revealed that the information regarding the purchaser’s employment, income and assets was false.
Furthermore, neither Keith Simmons nor Carolyn Hailey were at the closing. An unidentified man is alleged to have posed as Keith Simmons using a fraudulent driver’s license in his name as
identification. Musa Bey allegedly used a fraudulent power of attorney to act on behalf of his wife at the closing. He is alleged to have agreed to purchase the property after being persuaded by Shawn Corcas that it was a sound investment that could be renovated and quickly resold for a profit. The mortgage in Carolyn Hailey‘s name has not been paid and foreclosure is imminent.
District Attorney Brown said, “The victim was swindled out of his home by this defendant with the help of his sister. He took advantage of an elderly man suffering from disabilities to strip the equity dollars from his home without regard to the financial and emotional consequences that his actions would cause. Fortunately, the victim’s niece reported the crime. Today’s guilty plea – and the ordered restitution – provide a measure of justice for this victim.”
The investigation was conducted by Detective Richard Lewis of the District Attorney’s Detective Bureau, under the supervision of Lieutenant Robert Burke, and under the overall supervision of Chief Investigator Lawrence J. Festa and Deputy Chief Investigator Albert D. Velardi.
Assistant District Attorney Khadijah Muhammad-Starling, of the District Attorney’s Elder Fraud Unit, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kristen A.
Kane, Chief of the Elder Fraud Unit, and Assistant District Attorneys Gregory Pavlides, Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau, and Christina Hanophy, Deputy Bureau
Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney Peter Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney Linda Cantoni of the Investigations Division.