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I-Team: Woman selling homes in Hazleton facing charges in New York, now has pending charges in PA

I-Team

HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — There is new information emerging in the controversy surrounding the sale of a Hazleton property.

The house at the center of the controversy in Hazleton is located on East 14th Street. It is owned by 52-year-old Luz Tejeda. Hazleton City Police Chief Brian Schoonmaker tells the I-Team they are moving to file criminal charges against Tejeda. She is already charged with allegedly scamming a woman and her disabled daughter in New York City out of more than $500,000.

I-Team obtained copies of a criminal complaint and arrest affidavit from the Queens district attorney’s office in New York City.

It details a scam allegedly perpetrated by Luz Tejeda to bilk a woman and her disabled daughter out of more than $500,000 between November of 2016 and September of 2020.

According to the court documents, the Tejedas’ allegedly convinced the mother to give them guardianship over her daughter and the family’s finances. Investigators say the Tejedas’ redirected more than $500,000 in annuities to their personal account. They also allegedly tried to borrow against future annuity payments.

The charges in the arrest complaint and affidavit include: grand larceny, forgery, identity theft and endangering the welfare of an incompetent person.

The I-Team first met Luz Tejeda several weeks ago at the Dominican House in Hazleton. She was there to meet with three perspective buyers of her home on east 14th street and another property in the city.

They contacted the Latino Advocacy Organization which in return contacted the I-Team alleging that Tejeda was not closing the home sale deals nor was she returning their cash down payments, a total of around $80,000.

She told the I-Team on May 10:

“Everything has been resolved. That’s why we came here today. It was a misunderstanding and it was resolved.”

Luz Tejeda, May 10

On May 20, Tejeda told us she was ready to close a deal with one of the would-be buyers for the home on 14th Street and that everyone else would get their money back.

When asked about why their was confusion on the deal:

“Well, right now, it’s taking care of people. That’s what I’m doing.”

Luz Tejeda, May 20

Eyewitness News called her on Monday to ask her about the charges she is now facing in New York City.

Tejeda told us the charges in New York would be dismissed, meanwhile the president of the Dominican House says the people who reached out to him are frsutrated.

“They promised to us they were supposed to be two weeks ago in the Dominican House to refund the money to each one of the people. That never came through,” said Victor Perez- President of the Dominican House of Hazleton.

Hazleton Police Chief Brian Schoonmaker tells the I-Team that criminal charges are pending against Tejeda in connection with the Hazleton home sale. As for New York City charges, Tejeda faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all of the charges.

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