Brooklyn attorney charged with deed theft after allegedly stealing 4 houses
An attorney from Brooklyn, Sanford Solny, was arraigned and charged on Wednesday for stealing the deeds to four properties from homeowners who thought he was working on their behalf, the District Attorney’s Office announced.
Solny, a 65-year-old attorney from Midwood has already been disbarred. He was working under the names of various companies including Albany Ave Realty Inc., East 100 St Realty Inc., Pleasant Pl. Realty Inc., and Bear Realty & Management Corp.
Solny was brought before Kings County Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun and was charged with first-degree and second-degree criminal possession of stolen property, first-degree scheme to defraud, and second-degree grand larceny. Solny was released without bail and will return to court on March 22.
“This defendant allegedly defrauded distressed homeowners when he stole the titles to their homes while pretending to help them, and we are committed to holding him accountable,” said District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “Because people want to live in Brooklyn, scammers continue to target homeowners, and I encourage every property owner to take steps to protect themselves.”
According to the District Attorney’s investigation, between October 2012 and December 2022, Solny allegedly targeted victims who owned houses in Brooklyn in foreclosure. Prosecutors claim that Solny had various individuals, including unlicensed brokers, contact Solny’s victims, who then suggested that the victims hire Solny to negotiate on their behalf.
Solny allegedly had these victims sign documents that made it look like they were engaging in a short-sale process, but they were instead giving up their homes to Solny, prosecutors said.
Altogether, Solny got four people to sign over their houses to him, one in East Flatbush, one in Canarsie, one in East New York, and one in Ocean Hill, that combined were worth $2.295 million, according to prosecutors. In most cases, he even charged his “clients” between $350 to $10,000 while he was allegedly stealing their homes.
Solny allegedly told his victims that lenders preferred that they vacate their properties. Solny allegedly used those properties to collect $63,995 in rent from existing tenants or tenants he brought in.
Deed theft has become a serious problem in the past decade in Brooklyn as thieves target the elderly people, especially if they do not live on the property. Just this past Tuesday, Shavard Callaway, a 48-year-old Long Island man, was sentenced to 10 years for stealing the home of an 89-year-old who lived in Bushwick. Callaway forged a power of attorney in order to steal the home.
The District Attorney’s Office suggests that homeowners protect themselves by making sure that the NYC Department of Finance has their correct address to receive property notices, that they designate a trusted family member or friend to receive notices if they are unable, to register with the Department to receive notifications regarding any changes to the deed or property records, and to avoid signing any contracts that they do not understand.
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