2 charged in rent eviction scam that left victim near homeless

Two Bronx residents, including an employee of the City Human Resources scammed $1,500 from a New Yorker on the verge of homelessness.
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Two Bronx residents, including an employee of the City Human Resources Administration (HRA), allegedly scammed $1,500 from a New Yorker that was seeking rental assistance help.

On July 21, Luis Rodriguez, 56, an associate job opportunity specialist employed by HRA, and Elsie Mercado, 50, were each charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and petit larceny. Rodriguez was also charged with official
misconduct.

“New Yorkers in need must be able to trust City employees whose job it is to help them get assistance,” said District Attorney Darcel Clark. “We will hold accountable those who would cheat vulnerable people and betray that trust.”

According to the investigation, between May 4 and May 6, 2017, Rodriguez directed a client of HRA’s HomeBase program, which assists tenants on the verge of eviction, to provide him with two signed money orders left blank in the payee section, to show that she could provide some funding for rent. As requested, the client provided the two money orders, each valued at $750.

Rodriguez allegedly worked with Mercado to cash the money orders at a check cashing establishment in the Bronx and then pocketed the money.

 

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