By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Police arrested a woman once charged with a “curse removal” scam for allegedly breaking into an apartment she was evicted from on Park Avenue South and changing the locks.
Police said she had been evicted by city marshals for never actually paying rent since moving in a year ago.
After she was arrested last Wednesday morning, police said that 48-year-old Christine Evans was also charged with identity theft and forgery because she allegedly signed the apartment lease using personal information that wasn’t her own. Seven months before renting the apartment, Evans had been arrested near Times Square for reportedly running a scam at a West 43rd Street fortunetelling parlor.
Regarding the most recent incident, a broker for the Stay Local real estate company told the district attorney’s office that Evans spoke with the company about renting an apartment inside 220 Park Avenue South in November 2016 and she allegedly presented a Florida State driver’s license for her rental application with her own photo but using the victim’s name.
Police said that Evans provided additional documentation to support the apartment rental application, including wage statements, reference letters and tax documents, all using the name of the same victim. The DA’s office said that Evans signed a lease agreement on November 29, 2016 using the name of the victim and provided payment for the first month’s rent and a security deposit.
The landlord told police that Evans failed to pay the second month of rent when it was due on January 1, 2017 and she allegedly failed to pay any rent aside from the payment provided when she signed the lease, so the owner undertook eviction proceedings. The landlord ultimately won an eviction and when city marshals arrived to evict her from the apartment on February 20, she wasn’t home, so the marshals changed the locks and affixed an eviction notice to the front door.
When representatives for the building went back to the apartment the next day, they found that the eviction notice was no longer on the door and when the building superintendent brought keys to open the apartment, they realized that the locks had been changed.
The owner called police to the building and when the suspect finally opened the door, she allegedly admitted to police that her name was Christine Evans. Police said that Evans had used the services of a locksmith to change the locks on the apartment when she found that she had been locked out.
Police also confirmed that Evans had been arrested on April 24, 2016 for grand larceny, scheme to defraud and fortunetelling after she had allegedly charged a victim $1,300 to “remove evil spirits” and charged another victim $55 to “remove a curse.”
According to the New York Times, Evans is the mother-in-law of Priscilla Kelly Delmaro, who was arrested at the same parlor in 2015 for scamming a man out of more than $550,000 to reunite him with a dead woman. Delmaro was released in early 2016 after serving eight months.
The DA’s office did not have further information about the outcome of Evans’ previous arrests. The previous story on the incident noted that her attorney said Evans denied the charges.
Police were able to get in touch with the woman whose identity Evans had allegedly stolen and the victim told police that she became aware in the last year that someone had stolen her identity. She confirmed that she did not know Evans and had not given Evans permission to use her personal identifying information.
The landlord told the district attorney’s office that Evans owed more than $49,000 in back rent on the apartment. Evans was charged with grand larceny, identity theft, forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument and criminal trespass. In addition to a forged Florida State driver’s license with the victim’s information on it, police said that Evans was also in possession of a forged New York State driver’s license.
The NYPD and the DA’s office did not have information about how much Evans was supposed to be paying monthly but current listings on StreetEasy for the Park Avenue South building show a one-bedroom renting for $3,700 and a studio for $3,395 per month. Evans’ attorney did not respond to a request for comment.