So it wasn’t surprising to some when county prosecutors charged him with stealing $525,000 from unwitting investors through mortgage fraud.
Chape, 43, already had a petty criminal history that included arrests for speeding, shoplifting and drugs when Bogota police charged him in 2015 with pocketing $40,000 that a Colombian brother and sister saved to come to America.
The money was supposed to be a down payment on a mortgage for the siblings’ new home, authorities said at the time, but Chape used it instead on personal expenses, including a multi-country European vacation.
This time, authorities said, Chape is accused of soliciting investments by telling his victims he had financial interests in properties he didn’t own, then backing those claims with bogus documents.
Chape ran the scheme through an LLC he created, 10 Percent Group, Bergen County Mark Musella said.
Records show the company listed its business address as Chape’s home on Howard Avenue in Rochelle Park.
The Union City native had previously owned and operated a company called Chape Family Assets and Investments while living in Teaneck – and before that a social media company, a digital marketing company and a home mortgage consulting agency, records show.
Chase had a run-in with police who came to his Rochelle Park home and warned him of possible charges when a birthday party for his son in May 2020 drew 125 or so guests during a time of COVID restrictions, according to one of his Facebook posts.
Chape was arrested last Thursday, May 18, following a court-approved search of his home as part of the mortgage-fraud investigation, Musella said.
He was charged with theft by deception, theft and forgery before being released pending court action, the prosecutor said.
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