Queens Man Arrested In Real Estate License Scam

Attorney General Spitzer and Secretary of State Randy A. Daniels today announced the indictment of a Queens man on charges that he defrauded students seeking state real estate licenses by charging them $400 for a course that left them ineligible for a license.

Evan Linchon, 67, of 132-24 Maple Avenue, Flushing, was charged with one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, four counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, and fifteen counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. The charges carry a maximum sentence of one and a third to four years in prison. Linchon is also charged with four misdemeanor counts for filing a false application with the Department of State.

Linchon, whose New York real estate broker's license was revoked by the Department of State in 1999, advertised his school for real estate brokers primarily in Chinese language newspapers. The ads promised that his course would qualify students to apply for a real estate salesperson's license. The Department of State requires that prospective real estate salespeople take a 45 hour course at a school licensed by the state, and pass a standardized test before they can apply for a license. Because Linchon's school was not licensed, he was unable to lawfully provide valid certifications of eligibility for his students.

In order to provide his students with documents that would qualify them to apply for a license, Linchon allegedly paid the director of a licensed real estate school in Brooklyn $80 per student to issue documents showing that the students had completed the required course work and had passed the test. As a result of Linchon's actions, dozens of students who paid Linchon in hopes of receiving a real estate license were defrauded.

"The public must be protected from the fraudulent tactics and empty promises made by unlicensed operators like this defendant," said Attorney General Spitzer. "My office will continue to ensure that those who claim to offer certified classes are legitimate."

"Governor Pataki and the Department of State place the highest priority upon protecting the public from incompetent or untrustworthy real estate brokers. The prevention, detection and prosecution of individuals who seek to subvert important consumer protections will be vigorously prosecuted and such conduct will not be tolerated," Daniels said.

Spitzer commended the Department of State for its investigation of the case and referral to his office for prosecution. Those who assisted on the case included Litigation Counsel Laurence Soronen and Senior Investigator Michael Elmendorf.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Ronda Lustman, under the direction of Bureau Chief Janet Cohn, and Criminal Division Chief Peter Pope.

The charges against Linchon are accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.