Former Mesquite Realtor broker Lucia Ramos-Quirarte was initially arraigned in Clark County District Court on Sept. 26 and charged with one count of felony theft. Her Oct. 1 arraignment was continued to Oct. 8.
During an audiotaped confession Ramos made in June 2016 she admitted stealing approximately $130,000 from All Pros Property Management and Real Estate, an agency she co-owned with realtors Sharon Szarzi and Cheryl Dwyer. An audit of the agency’s financial documents showed the amount as $188,746, the amount the Clark County District Attorney charged her with.
Szarzi estimated Ramos stole closer to $265,000 from rental payments and deposits made with the agency during a six-month period in 2016. Szarzi also estimated about 200 property owners and other clients of the agency were affected by either not receiving rental income or security deposits not properly returned.
In Ramos’s confession, she admitted the money was used to gamble with in various Mesquite and Las Vegas casinos. During a visit to Las Vegas, she said she withdrew $25,000 in one night from the agency’s banking accounts.
“I stole from everybody. I was going to put it back, but I just kept losing more and more,” Ramos said. “God is punishing me, and I deserve it.”
At one point, Ramos tried to obtain an $83,000 loan against her personal residence to pay some of the money back to All Pros but was not successful.
The Nevada Real Estate Division revoked Ramos’s license and permit and fined her $1.330 million.
After Ramos made her confession on a Friday afternoon, she left Mesquite. Following an initial investigation by the Mesquite Police Department in 2016, an arrest warrant was issued for Ramos. She was arrested in California and extradited back to Nevada. The Clark County DA filed formal charges on Sept. 25.
Along with making her confession, Ramos sent an email to the business’s clients saying, “I want to ask your patience through this personal emergency I’m going through. I will try to get back to town as soon as I can and will mail deposit checks. I thank you ahead for your understanding and patience. I will send another email when I get back to town so you know your checks are on the way. Lucia.”
According to Szarzi, she never returned to Mesquite.
Phone calls to Ramos’s attorney were not returned.
Szarzi said that prior to Ramos’s actions, All Pros Property Management and Real Estate agency had been in business for about five years. “We were a growing, thriving company before all this happened,” Szarzi told the Mesquite Local News. “We were successful.”
After Ramos’s confession, All Pros business was dissolved and both Szarzi and Dwyer have since found employment. “We did have business insurance,” Szarzi said, “but since Lucia was one of the owners, the insurance company wouldn’t cover any of our losses.”
Szarzi also said that any property owners who potentially lost money had to file complaints in small claims court, which about 19 owners did. “Unfortunately, all of us lost money because of Lucia.”
The Nevada Real Estate Division cited numerous violations against Ramos dating back to January 2016. “She failed on 22 occasions, to within a reasonable time, account for or to remit any money which came into her possession and which belonged to others,” according to NRED records.
NRED charged Ramos that “on January 11, 2016, she failed to submit her annual trust account reconciliation for owner funds and tenant security deposit accounts; on 22 occasions she commingled her client’s funds with her own, converted her client’s funds, acted negligently or incompetently when she failed to do her utmost to protect the public against unethical practice, breached her obligation of absolute fidelity to her principal’s interest, and acted negligently or incompetently when she supplied false information to the Division.”