Sunday, November 23, 2014

Harlem Brownstone Targeted In Stolen Identity/Deed Theft Scam; True Owners Get Roped Into Lawsuit By Would-Be Buyer Who Made $90K Downpayment In Deal To Buy Property From Two House-Heisting Scammers

In New York City, the New York Post reports:
  • Con artists have tried to sell a $2.2 million Harlem brownstone they don’t own four times since September, the building’s fed-up owners told The Post.

    And now the owners are fighting a lawsuit from a would-be buyer who made a $90,000 down payment to a lawyer representing the scammers — who used forged drivers’ licenses to impersonate the couple.

    “This was a nightmare. The audacity was just amazing,” said Pamela Page, 58, who owns the landmarked Astor Row brownstone at 57 West 130th St. with her husband, Igor Jozsa.

    The ordeal began in September when Jozsa, 69, visited the property — which the couple plans to renovate and live in — and found surveyors inside, who said they were doing work for “the new owners,” who planned to close in a few days.

    Page said they contacted a lawyer for the “buyers” and learned that they had agreed to purchase the property from two impostors. The crooks tried three more times to sell the property, even changing the locks at one point.

    A law-enforcement source said that such “deed theft” crimes are largely the work of a Russian organized-crime outfit based in Seagate, Brooklyn.

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