Marilyn Sanchez, 49, Brooklyn, New York was sentenced today for filing two fraudulent deeds and supporting documents with the New York City Register’s Office in order to fraudulently acquire ownership of two separate residential homes in Brooklyn, New York.
According to the indictment and statements made at Sanchez’s arraignment in Kings County Supreme Court, in January 2016 Marilyn Sanchez illegally transferred ownership of 477 Christopher Avenue, Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York from the lawful owners to herself by recording a deed and five supporting documents containing forged signatures with the New York City Register’s Office.
Additionally, in November 2016, Sanchez illegally transferred ownership of 271 East 32nd Street, East Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York by recording a deed and five supporting documents containing the forged signatures of the lawful owners with the New York City Register’s Office.
In both instances, the owners never signed the deed nor the supporting documents and they never gave Sanchez, or anyone else, permission to sign on their behalf.
On October 5, 2018, Sanchez pleaded guilty to two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, before the Honorable Judge Miller in Kings County Supreme Court.
Sanchez was sentenced to 60 days in jail, followed by five years of probation. Sanchez also agreed to transfer ownership of the two property deeds back to the lawful owners. Today’s sentencing marks the first deed theft ruling resulting from an OAG investigation.
Attorney General Letitia James made the announcement.
“Too often scammers turn the American Dream of homeownership into a nightmare,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “I’m pleased our office’s investigation has resulted in the return of these stolen deeds to their rightful owners. No one should have to worry about their property being stolen by scammers, and I encourage New Yorkers to follow my office’s tips to help protect themselves from potential foreclosure scams. I remind anyone who tries to harm hardworking New Yorkers that we will hold you accountable.”
“The DOF Office of the Sheriff remains committed to investigate and arrest those responsible for deed fraud,” said New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito. “The Attorney General’s prosecution of this case sends a strong message about the severity of the crime and the commitment to protect the homes of all New Yorkers. I want to commend Sheriff’s Detectives Francesca Rosa and Nene Kodjoe for their efforts in this investigation.”
“After years of working with New York homeowners, we’ve seen hundreds of scam and fraud cases, many of which result in major losses for families and their communities. But deed fraud cases are some of the most painful and complicated, because homeowners are often forced to fight for years to regain their properties,” said Christie Peale, CEO/Executive Director for the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. “We congratulate the Attorney General’s Office here in making sure that these homes were returned to their lawful owners. The OAG’s significant investments in fighting mortgage scams and deed theft through education and prosecution are particularly welcome, given how easy it is for bad actors to steal homes from hardworking families.”
Launched in December 2016 by the Attorney General’s office, the Foreclosure Rescue Scam Prevention Initiative is a grant program focused on enhancing outreach, education, and referral services for homeowners at risk of fraudulent foreclosure rescue schemes. The Foreclosure Rescue Scam Prevention Initiative is part of the office’s broader efforts to direct resources to at-risk homeowners, including investing $130 million in the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP). Since 2012, HOPP has provided free, high-quality assistance to over 90,000 families to help avoid foreclosure of their homes.
To protect yourself from becoming a victim of a foreclosure rescue scam, Attorney General James offered the following tips:
- Be skeptical of online ads or telephone callers that promise they can get you a mortgage modification or save your home from foreclosure. Only your bank or loan servicer can approve a loan modification.
- Visit homeownerhelpny.com for information on how to avoid or report scams.
- Do not give your personal financial information, such as your bank account number, social security number, or the name of your loan servicer, to a caller offering to help save you from foreclosure. Your bank will already have this information.
- Never pay an up-front fee for mortgage-related services. It is a violation of New York law to charge upfront fees for such services, and violations should be reported to the Attorney General’s hotline at 1-855-HOME-456.
- If you believe you have been scammed by a foreclosure rescue operator or a debt relief organization, submit a complaint to the New York State Attorney General’s Office: ny.gov/consumer-frauds/Filing-a-Consumer-Complaint
The case is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Don Nguyen and Herman Wun of the Public Integrity Bureau, under the supervision of Real Estate Enforcement Unit Chief Travis Hill and Public Integrity Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz. The Criminal Justice Division is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado.
The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigator Walter Lynch under the supervision of Deputy Chief John McManus. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief John Reidy.
The Attorney General thanks the New York City Sheriff’s Office for its assistance on this matter.