FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Long Island Man Sentenced to Up to 10 Years in Prison for Stealing Bushwick House Using Forged Power of Attorney
Defendant Sold Property of 89-Year-Old Absentee Homeowner
Who Was Living with Relatives in Upstate New York
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Long Island man has been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for stealing the house of an 89-year-old woman. The defendant was convicted last month of grand larceny, forgery and other charges following a jury trial.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant callously took advantage of an elderly woman, stealing and selling her home while she was living with relatives. Today’s sentence holds him accountable for this despicable crime and sends a strong message to would-be scammers and deed thieves that we will seek serious penalties for those who victimize Brooklyn homeowners.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Shavard Callaway, 48, of North Babylon, New York. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Phyllis Chu to an indeterminate term of five to 10 years in prison. He was convicted of two counts of second-degree grand larceny, one count of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, four counts of second-degree forgery, and one count of first-degree falsifying business records on November 18, 2022, following a jury trial.
The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, the defendant sold the home of an 89-year-old woman, located at 654 Chauncey Street, in December 2014 after creating and using a forged power of attorney and claiming to be the nephew of the homeowner. The property was sold to WI Management for $250,000.
In January 2015, the homeowner discovered the fraud because she was in contract to sell the home for $900,000. The prospective purchaser did a title check and discovered the false deed on record. Thereafter, the homeowner immediately began civil litigation to undo the fraud.
The defendant was indicted in November 2017 and hired an attorney who negotiated a surrender, but the defendant failed to surrender and evaded arrest. He was finally arrested in late 2020 after being located in Suffolk County.
Prior to the trial, the deed was returned to the estate of the 89-year-old owner – who died in July 2015 – and the purchase price was returned to WI Management by the title company.
The investigation found that the defendant, who is a predicate felon, boasted on Facebook that he had turned from his life of crime selling drugs to committing forgery and theft as a “paperwork master” and even posted a photo of the façade of 210 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn, the location of the borough office for the City Register, where deeds are filed.
The District Attorney offered the following tips to homeowners to protect themselves:
• Make sure the NYC Dept. of Finance has the correct address to receive property notices.
• Designate a trusted family member or friend to receive notices if you are unable.
• Register with the NYC Department of Finance to receive automatic notifications regarding any changes to your deed or property records.
• Never sign any contract you do not understand.
• For more information visit http://brooklynda.org/deedfraud/
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Debbie Dudis, of the District Attorney’s Real Estate Frauds Unit and Assistant District Attorney Richard Farrell, Unit Chief, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gregory Pavlides, Chief of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division.