Henry Vargas was arraigned yesterday on charges of forgery, grand larceny, and scheming to defraud after trying to sell a Harlem building he did not in fact own. His “estate was unreal,” per the Post.
Vargas traded on his father’s position as a well-known neighborhood landlord to earn buyers’ trust, and told potential buyers that the building’s actual owner, Manuel Duran Jr., was “an elderly dirt farmer from the Dominican Republic.” Victims include the Road Runners Club (the nonprofit organizer of the New York City Marathon) and the head of the State Federation of Taxi Drivers. From the Daily News:
“He’s a lowlife individual. He robbed innocent people of their hard-earned money,” said Pete Skyllas, a plumber-turned-investor who was swindled.
The Times quotes some previous press reports on Mr. Vargas:
A profile of Mr. Vargas that appeared in the New York Real Estate Journal in June 2008 called him an “innovative businessman” who was instrumental in revitalizing Harlem.
“His work in the community will forever be the subject of conversation for many years to come in Harlem,” the article said.
Downtown, the Post finds a new child thief more Dickensian than the last, but fails to call him “Oliver Twist.” Juan Gonzales is apparently not responsible for the string of East Village robberies. Instead, they were the work of 13-year-old Dominique Parrott and a group of pals. Like Gonzales, Parrott is “pint-sized,” “baby-faced,” and precociously criminal. Parrott, however, also has a strange surname, no parents, and has lived in a group home.