Sandy Scam Homes Up For Auction

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Two properties that were used in a Hurricane Sandy-related scam are up for auction. 

Last month, as revealed in a report by DNAInfo, Donna Rea was arrested and charged with grand larceny for allegedly taking advantage of a dead woman’s property. That woman was Karen Connors, who owned two properties on Beach 120th Street. Connors was sick with cancer and passed away in November 2011 at Peninsula Hospital. Connors had no next of kin and was assumed to be poor, leading her to be buried at Hart Island. In January 2013, Rea, who claimed to be a friend of Connors, formed the Karen M. Connors Living Trust, a document that supposedly contained the signature of Connors, who had been dead for more than a year. The Trust gave Rea control of Connors’ jewelry, furniture, a bank account containing $32,000, her condos in Florida and her two homes on Beach 120th Street.

With the homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy, Rea applied to Build it Back to have them repaired. She was approved for $60,000 in repairs and reimbursements, which were used to fix up the homes. Rea allegedly turned one into a rental property, earning Rea $50,000 before she entered an agreement to sell one the home for $800,000.

A probe by the Department of Investigation over Rea’s Build it Back claims, uncovered the bigger scheme. Rea was arrested and charged in February. She plead not guilty, but could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Connors’ properties were turned over to the Queens Public Administrator to be put up for auction. That auction will take place at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 29 at the Queens PA’s office (88-11 Sutphin Blvd, Room 61.) The property at 174 Beach 120th Street, a three-story detached 40 x 100 home will start at a minimum bid of $225,000. The second property, at 178 Beach 120th Street, a two-story detached 40 x 100 home with a garage, is starting at $800,000. All offers to purchase must be made orally at the auction and must be accompanied by a non-refundable 10 percent deposit in the form of a certified of bank check. More information can be found at www.queenscountypa.com.

According to a February 19 NY Times article, the money from the auction will go toward having Connors disinterred from Potter’s Field on Hart Island, where people who are typically poor or whose bodies go unclaimed, are buried. The PA’s office found that Connors’ parents were buried at a cemetery in Long Island. There is no room at that cemetery, but Connors will be buried at another Catholic cemetery nearby. Any remaining money will go to any cousins that come forward.

 

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