Brooklyn man arrested for stealing landmarked Fort Greene home
Faces 25 Years After Attempting to Steal Six Homes
A Brooklyn man faces up to 25 years in prison after he was indicted on Tuesday for allegedly stealing a 19th century mansion in Fort Greene and tried to steal five others in a title transfer scheme, according to Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
Aderibigbe Ogundiran, a 36-year-old who lives in Crown Heights, was arraigned on Tuesday in front of Justice Elizabeth Foley in Brooklyn Supreme Court. The 64-count indictment included charges of grand larceny, attempted grand larceny, forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, identity theft, falsifying business records and criminal impersonation.
Ogundiran was held on a $200,000 bond or $100,000 bail and is set to return to court on June 7. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
“Escalating real estate values in Brooklyn unfortunately make frauds like this inviting to thieves,” Acting DA Gonzalez said in a statement. “We vow to continue to vigilantly prosecute scam artists such as this defendant.”
According to the indictment, between February 2015 and December 2016, Ogundiran engaged in a scheme to steal titles or economic benefit from six residential properties. He usually targeted properties where the title holders were deceased or the properties were seemingly being neglected.
The defendant allegedly took advantage of these inattentive properties by filing fraudulent deeds and other instruments against the properties to gain control of them. He would allegedly use aliases, alter egos, imposters, forged notarizations, driver’s licenses and other identifying information.
Three of the targeted houses were in Bedford-Stuyvesant, one was in Crown Heights, another in East New York and a 19th-century landmarked home in Fort Greene.
The landmarked home, located at 176 Washington Park in Fort Greene, is a 10-bedroom mansion located across the street from Fort Greene Park. The defendant used a Notary Public to notarize and file a deed transferring ownership from the actual owner, a deceased man whose elderly sister lived in the house, to a corporation controlled by Ogundiran. He allegedly used an imposter to pose as the deceased owner.
It was the deceased owner’s sister who kicked off the investigation. After she was given a notice to vacate the premises, she called an attorney who filed a complaint with the NYC Department of Finance.
In one instance, involving a house located at 1424 Fulton St. in Bed-Stuy, the actual owner of the property received an email alert of a document filed against the property after the defendant filed for Power of Attorney against the property at the city’s registrar office.
In his statement, the acting DA urged homeowners to register their homes with the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) so that they are automatically informed of changes made to documents associated with their properties.
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