Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been indicted for allegedly stealing a 19th century mansion in Fort Greene, as well as attempting to steal five other properties in a brazen scheme in which he transferred title of others properties to himself.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between February 2015 and December 2016, the defendant, Aderibigbe Ogundiran, 36, of 123 Albany Avenue in Crown Heights, engaged in a scheme to steal title to or the economic benefit from six residential properties in Brooklyn, targeting properties whose title holders were deceased or properties that no one seemed to be taking care of.
It is alleged that the defendant took advantage of the apparent inattention to the properties by filing fraudulent deeds or other instruments against the properties in an effort to gain control of them. In fact, he gained control or attempted to gain control of them in a variety of ways that included using aliases, corporate alter-egos, impostors, forged driver’s licenses, misuse of personal identifying information, and forged notarizations.
The indictment charges the defendant with committing crimes involving the following properties:
• 176 Washington Park in Fort Greene
• 123 Albany Avenue in Crown Heights
• 42 Albany Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant
• 1024 Hendrix Street in East New York
• 1424 Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant
• 49 Albany Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The Acting District Attorney said that in at least one instance, involving 42 Albany Avenue, the defendant collected rent from a tenant after leasing out an apartment. In another instance, involving 1424 Fulton Street, he was captured on videotape filing a Power of Attorney at the City Register’s office, after the actual owner of the property received an email alert of a document filed against the property.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Escalating real estate values in Brooklyn unfortunately make frauds like this inviting to thieves. We vow to continue to vigilantly prosecute scam artists such as this defendant, but at the same time I would urge homeowners to protect themselves by registering with the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) so that they are automatically informed of changes made to documents associated with their property – as happened with one of the victims in this case – which would alert them to potential theft and fraud related to their property.”
HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF: File the form "Notice by Mail of a Recorded Document," which you can find on our website here Then any time a document is filed with the City Register for your property, you will receive written notification. If you receive a notice but didn't file the document, call the Brooklyn District Attorney's Action Center at 718-250-2340 and ask to speak with someone in the Real Estate Fraud Unit. If you have questions about your mortgage or are behind, call NHS Brooklyn at 718-469-4679 or email us at info@NHSBrooklyn.org.