Florida Keys

Keys trailer park manager busted on fraud charges

This is the Galway Bay Mobile Home Park at mile marker 47.5 oceanside in Marathon.
This is the Galway Bay Mobile Home Park at mile marker 47.5 oceanside in Marathon. Keynoter File

The Monroe County State Attorney’s Office charged the manager of a Marathon mobile home park with eight counts of fraud, accusing her of ripping off residents and misrepresenting taxes owed to the state so she and her boss could make a profit.

State Attorney’s Office investigators say Elaine Mary Law-Rose, 72, overstated to new buyers at the Galway Bay Mobile Home Park, mile marker 47.5, how much money they owed in state sales taxes and transfer fees. And, once the residents wrote the checks, Law-Rose would pay the actual sales tax amount, which was much less than the check amount, and deposit the balance in her boss’s bank account, according to her arrest affidavit, filed Sept. 17 in Monroe Circuit Court.

Law-Rose was arrested Sept. 19 and has since been released on $40,000 bond.

Elaine Law-Rose MCSO

Her arrest comes seven months after park owner, Yerachmiel Mutchnik, 73, was arrested on grand theft, filing false documents, uttering forged instruments and fraud charges. The cases are connected.

Rose-Law could not be reached for comment. Alan E. Weinstein, Mutchnik’s attorney, says his client is innocent and the charges are the result of “disgruntled tenants” and a “biased investigator.”

“He has denied all of the charges against him and as we have gone through the discovery stages of the cases. I believe that we have already been able to establish that many of the allegations are unsubstantiated or wrongly charged,” Weinstein said in a statement Monday. “We will continue to vigorously defend Mr. Mutchnik against these charges which stem from disgruntled tenants at the trailer park and a totally biased investigator with preconceived opinions. This investigator did a very unfair disservice to his office by the way he conducted his investigation, and the way he personally continues to interfere with the running of the park, which I am carefully documenting.”

The alleged crimes go back to 2015. In July of that year, a new resident bought a trailer in the park for $29,000. The resident wrote a check to the former owner for $28,000 and a $1,000 check to Law-Rose, who typically made commissions of between $1,000 and $2,000, according to SAO Investigator Abraham Vallejo’s report.

Yerachmiel Mutchnik MCSO

Law-Rose told the resident to write an additional check for $1,900 to cover sales tax and transfer fees. According to Vellejo, she told the man to leave the payee line of the check blank.

The man bought a second trailer for $57,800. He paid the previous owner $55,800 for the trailer and Rose-Law $2,000. He also wrote another check for $3,460 for taxes and transfer fees. Again, she told him to not make the check out to anyone, according to Vellejo’s report.

For the first trailer, the new owner later learned that the $28,000 transaction was recorded with the state as $500. And, only $75 was paid to the state in taxes and $73 to the title company. The balance of the $1,900 the new resident paid Law-Rose was deposited into Mutchnik’s bank account, according to investigators.

The sales transaction for the second trailer the man bought was recorded as $1,000, not $57,800. And, the state and title company only received $153.25. The rest of the $3,460 again went into Mutchnik’s bank account, Vellejo wrote in his report.

Investigators say Law-Rose and Mutchnik pulled similar scams on four other residents.

Investigators say Mutchnik used a Hallandale Beach title agency. Managers there told investigators Mutchnik brought all the required paperwork with the supposed signatures of the buyers. But the people who bought the trailers said they never signed the documents, according to Vellejo.

Mutchnik made headlines in the Keys back in January after he was arrested on criminal mischief, grand theft and filing false documents charges. Police accuse him of purposely damaging a Galway Bay resident’s trailer to render it against code following Hurricane Irma in September. Investigators also say he damaged another resident’s shed in order to make it not up to city of Marathon code.