An Elmont man is one of two Long Islanders facing charges in connection with the defrauding of potential homebuyers, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.
According to an indictment unsealed in federal court on June 18, Keith Anthony, 46, of Elmont, as president and owner of CIG Realty, and Anthony Podias, 39, of Levittown, an employee of that company, both “perpetrated a scheme to defraud aspiring home owners who had poor credit and who therefore could not qualify for traditional mortgages.” The pair is accused of victimizing more than 100 financially struggling people across the country of a total of at least $800,000 through CIG Realty.
Anthony and Podias, federal officials said, promised to help their victims purchase homes by providing private financing for the purchase in exchange for small deposits or down payments from at least November 2011 up to at least March 2013. The customers were then supposed to repay CIG Realty until their credits improved enough to be able to obtain traditional mortgages from banks. Despite their claims, federal officials said, Anthony and Podias did not purchase homes for customers, and instead directed the money of customers from CIG Realty’s account to Anthony’s personal account, and into the accounts of another business he controlled.
According to authorities, CIG Realty promised customers that they could pick either a specific house for purchase, or have the company help them find one. Customers were then told that, once the house was selected, they would need to send a deposit and CIG would purchase the house using money obtained from private investors. Once the house was purchased, the customer was to repay CIG at a 10 percent interest rate until their credit improved.
After receiving the customers’ deposits, Anthony and Podias, federal officials said, either did not place a bid, or placed a bid so low that it would not be accepted; if the big was accepted, CIG would not follow through, and the deal would fall apart. Customers seeking refunds were redirected to various people at CIG, who provided different reasons for the delay, until they discontinued returning their calls. Federal officials estimated $44,000 paid out in refunds, out of a total of approximately $800,000.
Anthony and Podias are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and each faces 20 years in prison if convicted.