Bushwick

Defendant gets 10 years for stealing a Brooklyn home using power of attorney

January 20, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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A 48-year-old man from North Babylon, Long Island, will spend the next 10 years of his life behind bars after he was sentenced to 10 years for forging a power of attorney and stealing a home from an 89-year-old in Brooklyn.

Shavard Callaway was given an indeterminate term of five to 10 years in prison by Hon. Phyllis Chu in the Kings County Supreme Court on Tuesday. 

Callaway was previously convicted during a jury trial 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.

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“This defendant callously took advantage of an elderly woman, stealing and selling her home while she was living with relatives,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “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.”

Callaway was able to steal the Brooklyn home, located in Bushwick, after he falsely claimed to have been the nephew of the homeowner located at 654 Chauncey Street in December 2014. Callaway created and used a forged power of attorney and sold the property to WI Management for $250,000, which was well below the market value of the property at the time.

Despite getting an unrealistic deal that no buyer would ever believe, the fraudulent deal wasn’t discovered until January 2015 when the actual homeowner tried to sell the property for $900,000 to another buyer. During a title check, the fraudulent deed was exposed.

Callaway wasn’t indicted until November 2017 and he wasn’t arrested until late 2020 after being located in Suffolk County. Callaway was caught by investigators bragging on Facebook about turning his life around from selling drugs to committing forgery. He referred to himself as a “paperwork master”.

The 89-year-old homeowner, who didn’t live on the property, died in July 2015. Their estate had the deed returned to it and the purchase price was returned to WI Management by the title company.

Deed theft has become a common problem in Brooklyn in recent years. The District Attorney’s Office suggested the following four tips for homeowners to protect themselves:

  1. Make sure the NYC Dept. of Finance has the correct address to receive property notices. 
  2. Designate a trusted family member or friend to receive notices if you are unable. 
  3. Register with the NYC Department of Finance to receive automatic notifications regarding any changes to your deed or property records. 
  4. Never sign any contract you do not understand.

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