March 9, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
An infamous Astoria realtor has been arrested for stealing thousands from potential renters, one day before his realty office was closed by court order.
Phivos Ioannou of Astoria First Realty was arrested Feb. 16 and charged with grand larceny and scheme to defraud, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
According to the criminal complaint, between November and February, Ioannou swindled three clients out of thousands of dollars by promising apartments that were not available.
Ioannou showed these clients apartments on Astoria Boulevard and 30th Drive, representing himself as authorized to rent them out and preparing leases. He then took deposits of $3,900 or $4,500.
However, after the deposits were paid, he allegedly told the clients that the apartments were no longer available and kept the cash.
Ioannou has attempted this same crime in the past.
In May 2015, PIX 11 investigated a complaint from two renters that Astoria First Realty stole $5,000 for a fraudulent apartment deposit.
Meanwhile, about a dozen customers have taken to Yelp to excoriate the business for other alleged scams and poor service.
This is also not Ioannou’s first arrest. He has served time in federal prison and was stripped of his license in 2012, according to reports from the time.
Astoria First Realty no longer operates out of its former spot at 32-05 31st Ave.; the business was evicted by court order on Feb. 17.
Ioannou’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
His next court appearance is scheduled for April 19, according to the Queens DA’s office.
We have read about this Phibox thief in the press many times before. He opens up offices and then runs to a new location. He should be cuffed, tried, and deported for good. Time to kick his illegal butt out of the USA and take his cohorts too if there are any.
Unfortunately, he’s a naturalized citizen, at least according to court documents from his federal conviction.
A few years ago a good friend was scammed out of 5,000 by this prick. Problem is the guy deals mostly with immigrants who don’t really understand the system. It took a few minutes of a conversation with him to convince him that he should give my buddy the money back, he did!
I’m surprised it took so long to stop them especially with social media.
I’m curious. For people that were scammed, what did your contract and/or lease say after you handed over the money? Was there some clause in the contract that these guys used to justify keeping the money?
Lock the flags up with the crook.
He operate on 31 Avenue and 38th Street on the Astoria home realtor and took advantage of a lot of people that included one of my friends who he collected $4,000 and waited never got the apartment and had to almost take him to court to get his money back. He Showed the apartment and then until the next month and next month and next month and they never got the apartment. How to go there with the police to get the money back.
Just desserts for a common thief!!!
Tried it with me for $2,200 in September 2012 for an $1,100 monthly studio. Struggled to end up in another disaster scenario and ruined a year of my life. Rot in hell scumbag.