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State investigators believe realty fraud case has Tampa Bay ties

TAMPA — A Polk County man has been accused of collecting down payments of homes that were not for sale — and state authorities believe some of his victims are in the Tampa Bay area.

Paul Vencatasawmy, 41, has been arrested on fraud charges in connection with a couple of transactions, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says. So far, they've identified victim losses that add up to $380,000 but believe there's more.

Vencatasawmy posed as a real estate agent selling properties. Though he had some affiliations with legitimate companies, the FDLE said he struck out on his own to do these fraudulent transactions.

In Tampa, he used the names La Rocca Realty and EZ Choice Realty.

EZ Choice owner Tim Kugler said Vencatasawmy was able to get official paperwork from the Brandon-based company because his fiancee worked in the office as a licensed real estate agent.

Vencatasawmy never worked for EZ Choice, and the company has since fired his fiancee, Kugler said.

Vencatasawmy also used the names "Raj Sammy" and "Paul Sawmy."

The FDLE asks anyone who believes they are a victim — and anyone with information about Vencatasawmy's activities — to contact the agency at (407) 245-0801.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.