Monday, November 28, 2016

More On Title Hijacking Epidemic Affecting One NYC Neighborhood; Forged Signatures, Fraudulent Deeds Used To Outright Steal Homes Out From Under Long-Time Homeowners; Residents Urged To Register Their Property Addresses With City Automated Alert System

In Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, DNAInfo (New York) reports:
  • A "scourge" of property fraud which is conning Bed-Stuy owners out of their homes has community leaders working to stamp out the crime.

    “We know that we have some of the most valuable real estate in the city and the state of New York,” central Brooklyn Councilman Robert Cornegy said. He called the problem a "growing scourge" that often targets the elderly.

    “It started by little, subtle ways that people would offer you money, and now they’ve gotten so aggressive that they’re literally defrauding deeds and forging people’s signatures and literally outright stealing people’s properties. And we can’t stand for that.”

    Elected officials, real estate brokers and representatives of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, the Brooklyn NAACP and other community stakeholders came together in front of 1424 Fulton St., near Brooklyn Avenue, Thursday [Nov. 17] to tell locals about resources available to victims.
    ***
    [Brokers Richard Flateau and Gloria Sandiford] encouraged owners to register with the Automated City Register Information System, or ACRIS, which will alert them to any new documents filed on their properties.

    Residents can contact real estate organizations in the neighborhood for advice, Sandiford said.

    “I know of people that I literally cry with, that they’ve walked away from their home of 70 years because they do not know who to turn to,” she said.

    “We are here for you working every day, professional real estate brokers see this kind of behavior every day and I can tell you that it’s very serious and you are not alone.”
    ***
    The Department of Finance implemented steps to curb property fraud, such as training staff to review suspicious documents and installing cameras in offices where deeds are recorded.

    In 2015, the agency oversaw 511 investigations of deed and property fraud citywide, 117 of which turned into criminal cases with the city’s district attorney’s offices, a DOF spokeswoman said. A total of 14 arrests were made, according to the agency.

    Still, more needs to be done to combat the crime, community leaders said, with Cornegy adding that he is working on legislation to protect the privacy of deed holders.

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