FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 19, 2015
New York City Police Officer Indicted for Stealing Townhouse; Allegedly Transferred Title to Bedford-Stuyvesant Property to Herself
Faces Up to 15 Years in Prison if Convicted
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito, today announced that a New York City police officer has been indicted for allegedly stealing a neglected three-family house in Bedford-Stuyvesant by filing a deed transferring the property from the deceased owner’s nephew to herself in 2012, only to see her alleged scheme unravel when the nephew was approached by an actual potential buyer last year.
District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant allegedly stole a house from its rightful owner with the stroke of a pen, apparently hoping no one would notice. But her brazen actions have unraveled and she will now be held accountable. That she is a veteran NYPD officer makes this alleged crime all the more disturbing.”
Sheriff Fucito said, “The Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating real property theft and related financial crimes throughout New York City. Those who think they can simply file false documentation with the NYC Department of Finance should take notice. The Sheriff will aggressively investigate and arrest any party involved in such criminal activity.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Blanche O’Neal, 45, of 4 Vernon Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a four-count indictment in which she is charged with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and first-degree perjury. She was released without bail and ordered to return to court on January 6, 2016. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.
The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, on September 12, 2012, the defendant, who is an NYPD officer assigned to the 83rd precinct, executed a deed that stated that she bought the property, 23A Vernon Avenue, from the nephew of the deceased homeowner, Lillian Hudson, who died in 1993. The nephew and three other relatives inherited the property, though it sat vacant and neglected for many years.
The defendant, according to the indictment, falsely indicated in her filings with the New York City Department of Finance, Office of the City Register, that she purchased the property for $10,000 from the nephew and the deed was purportedly signed by him. The Office of the City Register recorded the deed on October 11, 2012.
Furthermore, the defendant is charged with perjury. In connection with a burglary involving the property, the defendant falsely testified before a grand jury on September 29, 2014, that she owned the property.
In 2014, the nephew and the other three heirs to the house sought to sell it to an entity known as 23A Vernon LLC. That is when they discovered the 2012 deed allegedly filed by the defendant.
Finally, according to the indictment, by filing the false deed in 2012, the defendant transferred ownership of the property from the true owners to herself and thus stole title to the property.
The case was investigated by the New York City Office of the Sheriff, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Investigator Teresa Russo, under the supervision of Chief Investigator James Grayson, First Deputy Sheriff Maureen Kokeas, and the overall supervision of Sheriff Joseph Fucito.
New York City Police Department Internal Affairs Bureau, Group 31, assisted in the investigation, including Detective Michael Greenwood, under the supervision of Sergeant Linda Serrapica, Sergeant Anthony Laporta, Sergeant Feliks Ladyzhenskiy, Lieutenant Robert Bava, and Deputy Inspector Paul Babbick, under the overall supervision of Deputy Commissioner Joseph Reznick.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Frank Dudis, of the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit, under the supervision of Richard Farrell, Unit Chief, and Felice Sontupe, Chief of the 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.