Matthew McEntee, 50, and Marina M. Mora, 45, both of Flushing, Queens, have been charged with stealing more than $16 million from a dozen individuals selling real estate and other assets. McEntee held himself out as an attorney, accountant and banker. The defendants are charged with first, second, third and fourth degree grand larceny, second degree criminal possession of stolen property, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree scheme to defraud. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years in prison.
According to the criminal charges, an unapprehended individual introduced McEntee to the victims as an investor who was looking to buy properties for his corporations, Clarity Corporate Trust and Conveyance Corporate Trust. During the introductions, McEntee allegedly claimed to be an attorney, an accountant and a banker and introduced Mora as either his fiancee or wife. In some cases, it is alleged, while negotiating the cash sales of the properties, McEntee also offered to buy the victims’ high-end vehicles, such as Mercedes Benzs, Mustangs and SUVs, and expensive house furnishings. McEntee also allegedly told some of the victims that for corporate tax reasons if they brought money or other valuables to the closing, he would issue them a check for double the value which would be in the payment check for the properties. In each instance, the certified corporate checks drawn on an HSBC bank account that the defendants allegedly provided to the victims at the closings were deemed forged. The closings, which were allegedly held on Saturday, February 27, 2010, at various locations and in which Mora allegedly assisted McEntee with the various contractual documents, allegedly included:
• The sale of two Woodside, New York properties (a two-family house for $880,000 and a mixed-use multi-floor building worth $1.6 million), two vehicles (a Ford Explorer and a Ford Mountaineer) for $25,000 each and $15,000 worth of furniture. The defendants also allegedly asked for the security deposit ($1,750) of a tenant in one of the buildings;
• The sale of a house in Nassau County, New York for $700,000 and two vehicles (a Mercedes Benz R350 and a Mitsubishi Galant) for $100,000. The victim also allegedly gave the defendants a check for $95,000, which the defendants allegedly had promised to double in value and a check for $4,850, the security deposit belonging to a tenant residing at the property;
• The sale of five houses (four located in Fort Lee, New Jersey, New York and one in Milford, Pennsylvania), two vacant lots (one located in Texas and one located at Eagle Rock Resort in Pennsylvania), the lease on four commercial properties and several vehicles, including a Ford Mustang, a Mercedes and a Chevy Suburban,for $5,094,000. The victims also allegedly gave the defendants more than $50,000 in diamonds, gold and mink coats, which the defendants had allegedly promised to double in value and two checks totaling $8,550 for the security deposit of two tenants;
• The sale of a Staten Island, New York house and an adjacent vacant lot for $653,000;
• The sale of a parcel of land in California for $2.2 million. The victim also allegedly gave the defendants a check for $30,000, which the defendants allegedly had promised to double in value;
• The sale of a mixed-use multi-floor building in Jamaica Estates, Queens, New York, for $2 million. The two victims also allegedly gave the defendants two checks totaling $185,000, which the defendants allegedly had promised to double in value;
• The sale of a one-family house on two acres in Oyster Bay, Long Island, along with antique furniture and a Mercedes Benz for $3 million.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, “The defendants are accused of conning twelve property owners out of more than $16 million in assets – including properties located in Oyster Bay, Long Island, Pennsylvania, Texas and California – during seven closings held last Saturday in Queens. In some instances, the defendants are alleged to have promised to double any money the victims brought to the closings, thereby duping their victims out of $310,000 in cash, as well as diamonds, gold and mink coats.”
The investigation was conducted by Detectives Hasan Naqvi and Jose Rivera of the New York City Police Department’s 108th Precinct Detective Squad.
Assistant District Attorney Allison P. Wright, of the District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Gregory C. Pavlides, Bureau Chief, and Christina Hanophy, Deputy Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney of the Investigations Division Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Linda M. Cantoni.
It should be noted that a criminal complaint is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.