Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Manhattan Feds Bust Alleged Home Hijacking Racket, Accusing Pair Of Using Forged Deeds To Steal Title To Over 40 Foreclosed Homes In NYC, Miami Areas Worth $17+ Million

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (New York City):
  • Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Patricia Tarasca, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Region for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (“FDIC-OIG”), announced the unsealing today [January 25] of an indictment charging ISSAK ALMALEH, a/k/a “Issak Izrael,” and ANTOANETA IOTOVA with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements to the FDIC, in connection with a wide-ranging scheme to falsely claim ownership of more than $17 million worth of property in New York and Florida. [...] ALMALEH and IOTOVA were arrested [] in Hollywood, Florida,[...].

    Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Issak Almaleh and Antoaneta Iotova allegedly forged documents to falsely claim ownership over $17 million of property in New York and Florida. As alleged, the defendants’ brazen scheme led to at least one victim being wrongfully evicted from the victim’s own home and others signing leases and paying deposits to the defendants for homes the defendants did not actually own. Thanks to the work of the FDIC Office of Inspector General, the defendants’ alleged frauds have now been foreclosed.”
    According to the allegations contained in the Indictment unsealed [] in Manhattan federal court:

    From at least 2012, ALMALEH and IOTOVA have filed fraudulent and forged property deeds purporting to transfer ownership of more than 40 real properties located in New York City and the greater Miami, Florida, area, with a combined estimated market value in excess of $17 million, to entities controlled by ALMALEH and IOTOVA, specifically, New York Sport Foundation, New York Mortgage Corporation, and Women in International Relations, Inc.

    ALMALEH and IOTOVA identified properties that had been subject to foreclosure, and were owned by financial institutions insured by the FDIC. ALMALEH and IOTOVA then filed fraudulent and forged warranty deeds that supposedly reflected the transfer of these properties from the financial institutions to entities controlled by ALMALEH and IOTOVA for a nominal sum. ALMALEH, who was a commissioned notary, would notarize the documents as genuinely signed by representatives of the financial institutions. IOTOVA would sign the documents on behalf of the entities controlled by the defendants. ...