A Brentwood man already accused of a rental scam that preyed on vulnerable adults is facing new charges after seven additional victims came forward, Suffolk County police said.
Victims in those prior rental scam cases included "two young females, a double-amputee, a family with a newborn child, and a homeless female," police said in a news release Thursday.
Third Precinct Crime Section officers arrested Aleandro Claudio, 59, at his Blacker Street home just after 10 p.m. Wednesday, charging him with three counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, four counts of petty larceny and one count each of scheme to defraud and issuing a bad check. Claudio was arraigned on those charges Thursday in First District Court in Central Islip. He was held on bail of $66,000 cash or $33,000 bond, according to online court records. His next court date is Tuesday.
Claudio's attorney, Scott B. Zerner of Manhattan, said his client's dealings with the accusers was a misunderstanding.
"There was never any intent to defraud anybody," Zerner said Thursday. "This is a civil matter that really shouldn't be in criminal court."
Police said the additional victims came forward following the arrest of Claudio on May 31, when he was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, three counts of issuing a bad check, petty larceny and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. Court records show Claudio initially was ordered held on $4,000 bond or $2,000 cash bail following arraignment on those previous charges, but later was released on his own recognizance.
"Aleandro Claudio showed an apartment to a prospective renter in January 2019, took a deposit, then later stated the apartment was not available," police said in a June 1 news release detailing the earlier arrest, adding: "When the prospective renter requested a refund, Claudio issued a check that was returned for insufficient funds."
Police said several attempts by the victim to rectify the situation proved unsuccessful.
As a result of that complaint, police said Third Precinct Crime Section Officer Michael Scaturro initiated an investigation and uncovered four additional rental scams committed by Claudio in January and February , leading to the arrest on May 31.
Police ask anyone with additional information about Claudio — or anyone believing they are a victim of this alleged rental scam — to call the Third Precinct Crime Section at 631-854-8332 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS. All calls will remain confidential.