• Press Release: Phony Real Estate Agent Charged by Manhattan D.A. with Stealing $250,000 in Down Payments through Harlem Property Scam

    Author : White Collar Firm May 26, 2016

    Press Release: Phony Real Estate Agent Charged by Manhattan D.A. with Stealing $250,000 in Down Payments through Harlem Property Scam

    http://manhattanda.org/press-release/da-vance-phony-real-estate-agent-charged-stealing-250000-down-payments-through-harlem-

    Who: Dan Stern, the defendant.

    What: Stern was charged by the Manhattan D.A.’s with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a D felony), Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a C felony), and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (E felony) for allegedly stealing from real estate investors in Harlem.

    Stern faces a maximum of 5-15 years in prison if he is convicted of the C felony, or more, depending on his criminal history, if any. Judges generally have the discretion to impose either concurrent(meaning, the sentences can be combined in one prison sentence) or consecutive time (meaning, the sentences cannot be combined and must run after each other) if a defendant is convicted of more than one crime.

    Where: Harlem, New York, New York

    When: The crimes allegedly happened between about October 2014 to May 2015. Stern’s indictment was announced on March 17, 2016.

    Why: Stern opened a realty called Harlem Village Realty, where he advertised properties for sale. Some of these properties were churches, homes facing foreclosure, and homes that were in need of major repairs. However, these properties were advertised for sale without the knowledge or permission of the true owners. Stern accepted deposits for these properties that were never used to purchase any of the properties, but were instead used personally by Stern to fund his lifestyle.

    How: To lure potential buyers, Stern posed as a real estate agent or attorney, as well as opened a business bank account in someone else’s name, but listed himself as the signatory. When a potential buyer expressed interest, Stern prepared contracts and accepted checks for the down payment.  He used the funds that he deposited into that bank account for his own personal expenses such as credit card payments, a country club membership, and cash withdrawals. Stern did not respond to attempts by these buyers to contact him to have their money returned, and never returned the money.

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