Girl stole $ 1.three million by way of Brooklyn Actual Property’s Ponzi Program: DA
BROOKLYN, NY – A woman is charged with $ 1.3 million real estate fraud involving more than a dozen Brooklyn properties, prosecutors said.
Regine Norman, also known as Regine Ellis, was charged Thursday on a 40-point charge that resulted from a year-long plan of telling investors she would buy them real estate through a private auction, prosecutors said.
Instead, Norman would either keep the money or use it to repay other, newer investors who asked for their money back. It turned out that the private auction company she was allegedly part of did not exist, according to prosecutors.
“This defendant allegedly invented a clever trick to convince people to put their money into a Ponzi scheme,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “This is another example of Brooklyn’s valuable real estate market being exploited for criminal gain. We are now trying to get justice for the many people who have been defrauded of thousands of dollars.”
Norman, 66, carried out real estate fraud for more than two years, most recently in September 2020. In total, she cheated 14 victims out of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars each, prosecutors said.
Each time, she told victims that she had access to real estate in Brooklyn and the New York area because she was a member of a private real estate auction and convinced them to pay a “down payment” on the property, prosecutors said. The properties spanned more than a dozen across Brooklyn, including in Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hill, Bushwick and Brownsville, officials said.
But Norman, whom officials said never lived in Brooklyn, never used the funds to actually buy property, prosecutors said.
She told victims that due to private auction rules, she couldn’t give them too much information about the property, and eventually gave them a fake sales contract, which investigators said often contained a fake signature from the property owner.
Many of the properties had never been put up for sale, the investigators found.
They also found that private auction firm Norman said it was a member of NY Private Auction Inc., which did not exist, prosecutors said.
When some of the victims found out about this, Norman repaid them either all or part of their money, often using funds stolen from newer investors, prosecutors said. In total, she repaid four victims in full, three victims partially, and seven victims no money.
Of the total of $ 1.3 million stolen from investors, Norman returned about $ 306,000. According to the prosecutor, there is still around $ 998,000 outstanding.
Norman faces charges of grievous second and third degree theft, first degree fraud, criminal possession of a counterfeit second degree instrument and related charges. Her bail was set at $ 350,000 or $ 100,000 in cash and she was asked to return to court in August.