Sparta Realtor Defrauded Bank, Prosecutor Says

Nanette Vignapiano is accused of altering deeds to make extra money.

A Sparta resident and real estate agent has been arrested and charged with multiple crimes after allegedly aiding others in fraudulent home deed-changing schemes, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said.

Nanette Vignapiano, 44, turned herself in Friday to Bergen County Superior Court and was charged with theft by deception, uttering a forged document, and conspiracy. Her bail was set at $25,000 with a 10-percent option.

The investigation involved a property located in Montvale in which Demetris Michalaki gave Bank of America an altered deed and issued a fraudulent letter authorizing the sale of the property to his father, Aristokilis Michalaki for $1, without actually having the father's permission or knowledge, Molinelli said.

Working for Weichert Real Estate, Vignapiano took part in the scheme to defraud the bank by listing and attempting to sell the property knowing the documents were illegal, Molinelli said.

On Feb. 12, 2012, an arson investigation began at the same home in Montvale, just a day after the property owner informed the unauthorized tenant, George Trantidis, to leave the house, Molinelli said. The investigation showed Trantidis vandalized the residence and started a fire on the furnace, Molinelli said.

Another investigation revealed Vigniapiano took part in the fraudulent sale of a house in Paterson as well, Molinelli said.

Vignapiano bought a home in Paterson in 2002, and then sold it for $415,000 in October 2007 to a third party straw buyer who was unaware of the sale, Molinelli said. While acting as owner of the home, Vignapiano received rent from the Paterson Housing Authority’s Section 8 Program, Molinelli said.

The investigation showed Vignapiano received rent for the property until March 2009—two years after selling it, Molinelli said. At that time, Michalaki was fraudulently added to the deed, and received rental payments from the program through January 2012, Molinelli said.

Michalaki and Trantidis are currently fugitives, Molinelli said. Michalaki is charged with theft by deception, uttering a forged document, and conspiracy. Trantidis is charged with aggravated arson and criminal mischief.

For questions about this post, email jason.koestenblatt@patch.com.

Russell Stewart January 28, 2013 at 08:55 PM
.....And we're supposed to trust these people????
Jack January 28, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Not surprising to me, Weichert in Sparta has a track record of supporting some pretty unethical employees.
Karen Castellano January 29, 2013 at 06:15 PM
We were swindled by an attorney that Weichert recommended to us when we bought a home in Sparta. He wouldn't transfer the funds to the people we bought the home from and never filed the deed. We didn't realize till we tried to sell the house 7 years later-not too professional a profession when you can get a license for $299!
STATE PARK January 29, 2013 at 08:07 PM
I will never use them again there crocks anyway.
Kimdav January 30, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Both of these comments are immature. Don't be so quick to judge people and to bash a whole business?
Marilyn Kreel January 30, 2013 at 03:52 AM
I agree with Kimdav, Nanette is a lovely woman and hard worker for her Real Estate company "Weichert" I'm sure they will help her to get to the bottom of this and clear it all up! Don't trust what the media puts out there. They are selling news that might not have any real basis of knowledge at that time of that person! The judge will decide and until then lets be a supporter of our own! Marilyn arilyn
Mike Bohdan January 30, 2013 at 04:30 AM
Lets not forget that in prison there are former teachers, cops, lawyers, ministers, plumbers, etc......name any profession, they are all represented there. I'm a realtor and know that 99.9% of my fellow agents are committed to the code of ethics which can be found at http://www.realtor.org/realtororg.nsf/files/r_coe-pledge-of-performance.pdf/$file/r_coe-pledge-of-performance.pdf
joan hoffman February 03, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Thanks Mike.....you are so right.


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