Attorney General James Announces Long Island Man’s Charge of Document Theft and Mortgage Fraud

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Joseph Mahani allegedly stole two Harlem brown stones in an elaborate pattern to
Deception of property owners using fake documents and other fake real estate documents

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Laetitia James announced today indictment and arrest of 58-year-old Joseph Mahani of King’s Point, Long Island, for stealing two brown stones located in Harlem at 107 West 118th Street and 135 West 131st Street… Mahani targeted two houses in Harlem using fake and falsified documents, numerous limited liability corporations under his control, numerous property transfers, an unethical lawyer, and abuse of legal proceedings. Mahani stole two houses from Harlem in 2012 and, according to New York State tax returns, he claimed to only pay $ 10 each. Today, the two brown stones are valued at $ 2.29 million and $ 1.9 million, respectively. After illegally taking possession of two properties, Mahani used fake and falsified documents to hide his fraud and keep control of the property from the claims of the true owners. To this day, Mahani is still fraudulently owning the West 118.th Brownstone Street But He Lost Possession Of West 131st Brown stone street house in December 2018 due to unpaid tax liens.

“Home ownership is an important part of every community, but all too often people like Joseph Mahani run elaborate schemes to steal the homes of New Yorkers,” he said. Attorney General James… “Theft of acts continues to be a crime that permeates our neighborhoods and persecutes the most vulnerable, leading to a cycle of displacement and grief. New Yorkers should never be afraid of predators in their homes. My office will continue to work with our government and community partners to bring these schemers to justice and protect these homes. ”

“The Sheriff’s Office is firmly committed to investigating real estate fraud crime,” he said. New York Sheriff Joe Fusitto… “These crimes are damaging financially to the victims and their families, many of whom are elderly people who have worked hard all their lives and saved money to buy a home. The Sheriff’s Office looks forward to working with Attorney General Letitia James and her team. ”

West 118th Property street

Mahani allegedly used forged documents and other forged documents to steal a brown stone located at West 118.th Street from an elderly disabled owner. In the New York State tax return used to implement his scheme, a corporation controlled by Mahani claimed to have paid only $ 10 for the brownstone in 2012. Mahani also falsely claimed that he paid $ 975,000 for the brownstone when he received a $ 650,000 building credit line. on the property. In addition, Mahani fraudulently obtained a $ 1.2 million mortgage loan, claiming he had legal title to the stolen mansion. The elderly and disabled owner of the brownstone home never received any money from Mahani for the home, which is now valued at about $ 2.29 million. In 2016 – after renovating apartments from one-room rooms to full-fledged ones – Mahani rented out each apartment at a price of $ 3,000 to $ 3400 per month, which allowed him to receive a monthly rental income of more than $ 12,000.

West 131st Property street

Mahani allegedly illegally transferred ownership of the property on 131st Street in Harlem using fraudulent activities, shell companies and dummies, and abuse of court procedures. Prior to Mahani’s fraudulent takeover, the last genuine document registered for the property was in the name of an elderly owner who died shortly after the document was registered in 1975. Presumably, the beneficiary of the estate took care of the building until his death in 2010. Soon the tenant of the building was approached by Mahani, who later returned and told the tenant that he had bought a brownstone house. Mahani – disguised as an offer to the tenant of work – tricked the tenant into obtaining the tenant’s signature to misrepresent the tenant as the owner. The tenant, who had never bought the property and had never owned the brownstone, later learned that his signature had been forged on a fraudulent document that was filed with the City Registry Office for the transfer of brownstone to Mahani’s company, One 35 West Corporation. … In the real estate transfer report filed along with the fraudulent document created by Mahani, the sale price of the brown stone was falsely quoted as $ 10. When the tenant questioned the validity of the document in the housing court, Mahani produced a new forged document showing that the alleged heirs of the last registered owner had transferred the ownership of the One 35 West Corporation to Mahani since 1975. In 2013, the tax deeds for the transfer of title filed with this act contained a fake social security number in the name of a person who was one of the alleged heirs and seller of the Mahani brown stone. However, this social security number belonged to a woman born in 1902. In 2015, One 35 West Corporation Mahani and Mahani were fined more than $ 1 million for failing to install a roof, upgrade electrical wiring, and complete a plan to eradicate rodents and cockroaches in Harlem’s brown stone. In early 2015, Mahani eventually left the property after the New York City Department of Housing Conservation and Development issued a $ 1 million ruling. The property was later transferred to a non-profit organization after being foreclosed on taxes. Today the cost of the facility is estimated at $ 1.9 million.

Mahani was charged yesterday with one count of first degree stolen property charges against a brownstone building located at 107 West 118th Street; one count of illegal possession of second degree stolen property in relation to a brownstone building located at 135 West 131st Street; one episode of first-degree housing mortgage fraud and one episode of second-degree housing mortgage fraud, both in relation to two home mortgages he received for a brown house on 118th Street on West Street; two cases of falsification of business documents submitted to a New York bank; and one episode of the First Degree Cheating Scheme between August 7, 2012 and June 28, 2021 for participating in a scheme that is a systematic and consistent course of action to obtain property from more than one person using false or fraudulent pretexts.

The charges are simply charges, and the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

In 1998, Mahani pleaded guilty in federal court to participating in a bid rigging scheme for foreclosed property in Queens and filing a false tax return, for which he was fined and sentenced to two months in prison. In 2008, Queens LLC, HPD LLC and Floor One, LLC – three companies allegedly owned by Joseph Mahani – pleaded guilty to first degree falsification of business documents, a Class “E” felony. The criminal lawsuit alleged that Mahani, personally or through one of his corporations, forged signatures on documents filed with the NYC Treasury Department in order to illegally obtain control of three properties in Queens from their rightful owners.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) thanks the Social Security Administration, the Office of the Inspector General and Special Agent Gilberto Camilo for their assistance in this matter.

The OAG would also like to thank the NYC Sheriff’s Office and the NYC Registry Office for their assistance.

Document theft has become a common tool for professional criminals and unscrupulous developers who illegally acquire properties to sell them for huge profits in high-demand housing markets. This illegal scheme especially affects people of color, the elderly and other vulnerable homeowners who are tricked into signing documents on their homes by scammers. Document theft typically occurs when fraudsters falsify documents as if they bought a house, or when homeowners are tricked into handing over their homes to a fraudster without knowing what they are doing. The scammers then seek to evict the landlord and sell the home to a third party for a significant profit.

In January 2020, Attorney General James launched the Office’s Protect Our Homes, a program that uses preventive and coercive measures to combat theft in New York City. The OAG also formed an interagency document theft working group that included district attorneys from all five New York City boroughs and the New York City Sheriff’s Office. The anti-displacement program builds on these efforts by focusing on areas most at risk of fraud, engaging community members in talking about theft with their neighbors, and educating community members on how to detect fraudulent fraud.

Those who believe they have encountered document theft are advised to contact the OAG by calling the office’s support team at 1-800-771-7755 by sending an email. deedtheft@ag.ny.gov, or by filling in online complaint form

This investigation was conducted by Investigator Angel LaPorte, under the supervision of Critical Cases Chiefs Michael Leahy and Mario Rivera and Deputy Bureau Chief Antoine Caram. The Bureau of Investigation is headed by Chief Investigator Oliver Poo-Folks.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Nazi Modirim of the Property Rights Division, with additional assistance from Assistant Attorney General Gregory Morril and Legal Support Analyst Grace Koch – all overseen by the Office of Real Estate Oversight and Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau, Gerard Murphy … The financial analysis was conducted by Audit Investigator Karishma Tukrel, under the guidance of Deputy Chief Auditor Sandy Bizzarro and Chief Auditor Kristen Fabbri of the Judicial Audit Section. The Bureau of Investigation, the Immovable Property Rights Unit and the Bureau of Public Integrity are all part of the Office of Criminal Justice, which is chaired by Deputy Attorney General Jose Maldonado and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.

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