BETHLEHEM — Bobbi A. Constantine, formerly known as Robert Bove, age 48, of Albany, pled guilty on Wednesday, Nov. 22, to wire fraud in connection with a scheme to obtain mortgages and car loans under the false pretense of being a beneficiary of a $12 million trust.
The case originated with the Bethlehem Police Department, according to BPD Commander Adam Hornick, after a local real estate agency alerted their community police officer about a suspicious encounter with a potential homebuyer. The buyer, who had professed to be deaf, had apparently reacted to a small noise during the showing of a home.
Bethlehem detectives opened an investigation and determined that the individual was Bove, who was on parole for multiple felony fraud-related convictions in Albany County. Working with State Police, U.S. postal inspectors and the state Division of Parole, BPD unraveled a complex web of fraudulent documents. “As the investigation continued and the quantity of fraudulent documents and claims by Bove became larger,” said Hornick, “he underwent a medical procedure and a legal name change.”
Bove, now Constantine, was arrested in September 2016 for submitting a false application for employment with the U.S. Postal Service, in which she claimed to have never been convicted of a crime and provided a false employment history. Once Constantine was in custody, federal authorities executed search warrants, obtaining a considerable amount of evidence related to the case.
As part of her guilty plea, Constantine admitted that, between October 2014 and July 2016, when she was known as Bove, she obtained mortgages and automobile lease financing from lenders under the false pretense that she was the beneficiary of a trust containing more than $12 million of the assets of a fictitious, deceased aunt.
Constantine used the fictitious trust documents, which bore a forged notary seal, to dupe an attorney into generating a letter stating that she was the beneficiary of a trust generating annual income of more than $50,000. She also impersonated a fictitious administrative trustee for the trust. On the basis of the fraudulent trust
documents and the attorney’s letter, Constantine obtained lease financing for a new Toyota RAV4 and a new Jeep Renegade, and obtained mortgages for her purchases of a $200,000 home in Albany and a $131,000 condominium in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The plea follows Constantine’s August federal sentencing for making false statements in connection with her 2016 arrest. She received a sentence of time served as she has been in custody since that arrest.
United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino is scheduled to sentence Constantine on Friday, Dec. 22, on the fraud conviction. Constantine faces up to 30 years in prison, a maximum $1 million fine, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to five years.
The plea agreement requires that Constantine forfeit $43,640.72, and pay restitution in the amount of $18,739 to the Social Security Administration and $24,901.72 to the seller of the Myrtle Beach condominium.
“Every aspect of the defendant’s life was fraudulent,” said Hornick. “From the defendant’s vehicle applications, mortgage, educational background, educational degrees, welfare claims, certifications, social security paperwork, trust documents, and references. Disentangling the web of fraud was time consuming, as every lead and document eventually led to a person who actually didn’t exist, or if they did exist, didn’t know that they were involved in the scheme.”
This case, which is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Coffman, was investigated by the USPIS, the New York State Police, the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, and the Town of Bethlehem Police Department.
“U.S. Postal Inspectors and the U.S. Attorney’s Office did an excellent job uncovering many elements of the fraud,” said Hornick. “And the defendant’s admission of guilt is a testament to the amount of evidence she was facing.”