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.
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