Today’s news:

Real estate duo stole client’s ID: Brown

Realtor Elba Garcia, 50, of Elmhurst, and loan officer Yanet Salazar, 35, of Queens Village took out a $589,000 mortgage using information provided by a prospective client in a previous failed deal, authorities said.Both women were charged in Queens Criminal Court with identity theft and unlawful possession of personal identification information. Garcia was arraigned on Feb. 1 and ordered held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Salazar was arraigned Feb. 5 and held on $25,000 bail. If convicted, they both face up to seven years in prison.The victim gave her personal data to Garcia and Salazar in early 2007 so that she could take out a loan and buy a property in Queens, the DA said. The sale fell through, but the defendants contacted the victim in July 2007 and offered her money to sign for a property in a deal Garcia was brokering, authorities said.The defendants told the victim that the buyer of the Brooklyn property had bad credit, but had money to make mortgage payments, the DA's office said. Several days after the victim refused to participate, the defendants returned to her home to try to convince her, the DA said.When that failed, Garcia and Salazar showed up at the closing with a woman purporting to be the victim, but who said she had forgotten her driver's license at home, the DA said. Salazar provided the lenders with a photocopy of the license, Brown said.The scheme unraveled a few weeks later when the first mortgage bill for $5,000 was sent to the victim's home instead of to the property in Brooklyn, authorities said. The victim immediately contacted police, the DA said.Attorneys for the lender later met the victim and confirmed she was not the woman who attended the closing, the DA's office said.Brown said the case was the latest in a spate of identity theft cases over the last year."Our Economic Crimes Bureau will vigorously prosecute this case," he said.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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