A Dorchester woman admitted Friday she stole more than $100,000 in a year from people applying to rent apartments in Hyde Park, Dorchester and Roxbury by charging them twice as much for security deposits as her employer normally would, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.
After Stacey Sanchez-Mercedes, 29, pleaded guilty in West Roxbury Municipal Court to one count of larceny over $1,000, a judge continued her case without a finding for two years, which means that if she stays out of trouble during that time, she can seek to have the case dismissed. She faces a hearing on Oct. 10 to set the amount of restitution she'll have to pay.
According to the DA's office, for roughly a year, Sanchez-Mercedes would charge applicants $2,000 as a security deposit, keep half, then submit the $1,000 Alliance Realty actually charged. She also charged broker fees, which the company did not normally charge.
Sanchez-Mercedes also fabricated fake eviction notices, applied for RAFT rental relief on behalf of her tenants, and had tenants deposit money using Zelle into her personal bank account. Other tenants reported to Alliance Realty they were instructed by Sanchez-Mercedes to take their rent money to a barbershop on Washington Street in Roslindale and give it to a man named “George.” This man would provide them with a paper receipt, similar to the receipts Sanchez-Mercedes provided to the other victims, however that money was never paid to Alliance Realty.
Sanchez-Mercedes worked for Alliance for a total of three years. On Dec. 9, managers at the firm reported to police the "numerous fraudulent transactions with clients," they discovered she had committed over the course of year - a week after firing her, the DA's office reports.