FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Long Island Men Charged In Connection With Stealing Nine Homes
From Owners by Illegally Transferring Titles, Filing False Documents
Investigation Began After Canarsie Homeowner Reported His House Stolen;
Defendant Allegedly Stole Fort Greene Brownstone and Rented Out Apartments
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Nassau County man has been indicted in connection with illegally transferring the titles of seven houses in Brooklyn and two in Queens from their true owners to himself or a corporation – then renting out some of the properties and selling others. A second man and the corporation are also named in the indictment.
District Attorney Thompson said, “The houses targeted in this fraud are worth millions of dollars. It is shocking that this defendant was allegedly able to carry out such a brazen scheme, stealing properties right out from under their owners. We were able to expose the magnitude of this alleged scam thanks to the diligence of my prosecutors and investigators.”
The District Attorney identified the defendants as Danny Noble, 45, of 719 Jay Way, in Baldwin, New York and Romelo Grey, 37, of 352 Randall Avenue, in Freeport, New York. They were arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which they are variously charged with fourth-degree conspiracy, first-degree criminal possession of stolen property, second-degree grand larceny, and first-degree falsifying business records. Noble was ordered held on $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash bail. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Grey was ordered held on $25,000 bond or $10,000 cash bail. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted. Both were ordered to return to court on August 5. The corporation, 69 Adelphi Street, LLC, is also variously charged in the indictment. It faces a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted.
The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between June 29, 2010 and March 31, 2015, the defendants falsely transferred title to seven Brooklyn properties: 71 Carlton Avenue, 104 Vanderbilt Avenue, 45 North Oxford Street and 70 Clermont Avenue, in Fort Greene; 1391 East 95th Street in Canarsie; 357 Jefferson Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant; 729 Essex Street in East New York and two properties in Queens: 94-05 108th Street in Jamaica and 187-05 Liberty Avenue in Hollis.
Five of the properties were transferred from the actual homeowners to Noble, according to the indictment, three were transferred to 69 Adelphi Street, LLC, and one to a third party. The defendants allegedly targeted the properties because the owners did not live in the houses and rarely visited them.
Once the titles were transferred, according to the indictment, the defendants carried out various scams in order to cash in on them. For example, Noble maintained control of 45 North Oxford Street, a recently renovated brownstone in Fort Greene, whose owner lived outside of the United States. Noble allegedly rented out two apartments in the brownstone, collecting $1,500 a month in rent for each of them. He also allegedly maintained control of the two houses in Queens, renting them out for various amounts.
In another facet of the scheme, concerning 1247 Putnam Avenue in Brooklyn, Noble allegedly filed a fraudulent satisfaction of mortgage.
Furthermore, for example, with respect to 71 Carlton Avenue, 104 Vanderbilt Avenue, 70 Clermont Avenue, and 1391 East 95th Street, the defendants transferred the properties’ titles into the names of other, third parties.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the scheme was discovered after Grey and Noble allegedly transferred the title to the Canarsie house at 1391 East 95th Street to a third party. Grey allegedly visited the house with the buyer to inspect it, and told the tenants living there that they had to move out. The buyer then began renovating the house and those workers caught the eye of an employee of a business across the street, which was actually owned by the true owner of 1391 East 95th Street. That employee called the owner of the property, who called police. Further investigation led to the defendants’ alleged connections to the other properties.
As part of the scheme, Noble, the leader, allegedly filed false documents with the New York City Department of Finance, Office of the City Register, which maintains land records and other real property filings in New York City, including records relating to ownership and encumbrances, such as liens and mortgages.
The District Attorney thanked New York City Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha and New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito, and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the City Register staff working deed fraud investigations, for their assistance in this matter.
The case was investigated by Detective Investigator Jeannette Sbordone, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the supervision of Chief Investigator Richard Bellucci.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Hilda Mortenson, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Felice Sontupe, Chief of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.