Ramjit Jaikaran, a.k.a. A.J. Jaikaran, 55, South Ozone Park, Queens; Colin Hill, 41, Jamaica, Queens; Kaso Rampersad, 51, Orlando, Florida, and Justin Codrington, 29, New Rochelle, New York were arraigned today on an indictment in which they are variously charged with grand larceny, money laundering, identity theft, and other charges for allegedly conspiring to sell a vacant Canarsie, Brooklyn house to the victims, using forged documents to conceal the fact that the homeowner was deceased, and then stealing the $276,000 that the couple paid for the property.
According to the investigation, in July 2017, a married Guyanese couple who wanted to invest in Brooklyn real estate were allegedly fraudulently induced by the defendants to pay $276,000 to purchase a residential property located on East 94th Street, Canarsie, Brooklyn, which the couple believed the defendants were authorized to sell. The property was actually owned by Ruth Adelman, who died in 1993 without a will.
It is alleged that defendant Jaikaran showed the house to the couple and claimed that it was for sale. Defendant Rampersad allegedly pretended to represent Adelman’s heir – falsely claiming that she had a son who inherited the property and was willing to sell it. Ms. Adelman did not have any children, and the person identified by the defendants as her “son” was in fact the victim of identity theft.
It is alleged that defendant Hill agreed to act as the couple’s attorney at the closing for the property on July 31, 2017. Hill is not an attorney and is not admitted to practice law in New York State.
While at the closing, it is alleged, Hill falsely claimed that Adelman’s “son” had earlier signed the contract of sale, the deed and other documents, transferring ownership of the property to the couple’s family corporation. Hill even presented them with a fraudulent death certificate for Adelman which identified her supposed son, and a fraudulent birth certificate for the “son.”
To complete the sale, the couple paid the defendants $250,000, using two bank checks for $150,000 and $125,000, along with $1,000 in cash for Hill’s “legal” fee. According to the indictment, defendant Codrington cashed the check for $150,000 using an account controlled by his company; other funds were disbursed to a company controlled by Jaikaran’s wife.
In November 2017, the couple’s family corporation was sued by Valley Capital Partners LLC, which alleged that it purchased the property from Adelman’s true heirs. One of the victims confronted defendants Jaikaran and Rampersad, in separate conversations, stating that he believed that he may have been defrauded, and, it is alleged, both defendants urged him not to report it to law enforcement.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez made the announcement.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants allegedly engaged in an elaborate scam to steal the savings of an innocent couple. I am committed to protecting homeowners and home purchasers in Brooklyn and will now seek to hold the defendants accountable for this alleged scheme. As property values continue to rise in Brooklyn, protecting residents from fraudulent real estate schemes is a top priority.”
The District Attorney identified the defendants as Defendants Jaikaran and Hill were arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Joanne Quinones on April 16, 2019; defendants Rampersad and Codrington were arraigned before Justice Danny Chun on April 17, 2019 and yesterday, May 21, 2019, respectively. The defendants are variously charged, in the 20-count indictment with one count of conspiracy, one count of second-degree grand larceny, two counts of first-degree identity theft, seven counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, one count of fourth-degree conspiracy, and five counts of first-degree falsifying business records. Hill is charged with one count of practicing and appearing as an attorney at law without being admitted and registered, and Codrington is charged with one count of criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of second-degree money laundering. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count. Codrington is being held on $30,000 bail. The other defendants were released without bail. All of the defendants were ordered to return to court on June 26, 2019.
The District Attorney thanked the New York City Sheriff’s Office for its assistance in the investigation.
The case was investigated by Detective Investigators assigned to the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau. Detective Sergeant Teresa Russo of the New York City Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, provided valuable assistance in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Kurtz, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Richard Farrell, Chief of the Real Estate Fraud Unit, Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief.