PHOTO: Earlier this month, cops raided a second-floor residence in Park Village Condos in Ozone Park. Financial Crimes investigators believe the apartment, allegedly leased by a woman with a record of fraud, was the headquarters of a large-scale ID theft scheme.
Part 2 of a Series
The Ozone Park condominium at the center of a large-scale credit card fraud and identity theft investigation was leased to a woman who has been no stranger to the criminal justice system, a parallel Forum inquiry has revealed.
Earlier this month, police executed an early-morning raid and search warrant at a second-floor residence in the Park Village Condominiums on Centreville Street, according to the NYPD and sources.
Jacques Joseph, 32, and Kaeshawn Kerr, 21, have been charged with dozens of counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and criminal possession of a forgery device with the intent to use; both D felonies.
According to documents obtained by The Forum, the condo in which Joseph and Kerr were cuffed was leased last October to Shantelle Walker, 32, believed to be Joseph’s girlfriend, who is locked up in Nassau County jail on fraud charges.
In March 2014, Walker and Joseph were caught with 60 stolen credit cards after attempting to use one at a Garden City Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. In May 2013, Joseph and another woman were caught traveling back home to New York from Charlotte, N.C., after allegedly ripping off stores down south by buying real gift cards with phony credit cards.
Walker is scheduled to be released on Sept. 29. Her Park Village lease expires at midnight on Sept. 30.
Until then, Mary Walsh, the owner of the condo, is left in real estate limbo—and to wonder how the Realtor she depended on to bring her proper tenant candidates could recommend someone with questionable credentials.
“I was relying on this as a big part of my income,” said Walsh, a young mother to a 7-month-old child. “This has destroyed my life.”
In the fall of last year, lease documents indicate that Walsh contracted Incredible Homes Realty, Inc., in Howard Beach, to find a suitable tenant for the Park Village condo. Walsh said within days she was introduced to Walker.
She also said that she was discouraged by the agent from calling Walker’s former landlord and employer at the time of the lease agreement.
Walker allegedly claimed to work for a company at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and produced documentation attesting to such employment. However, The Forum’s investigation has revealed that Walker is not employed by the company, but instead is on government-assistance rolls.
“That’s why you go to a real estate office—to protect you from this,” Walsh said. “Even though I was naïve enough to get scammed, they didn’t do their job. They failed me.”
By Michael V. Cusenza