Real Estate

A Fort Greene Landmarked House Was Stolen, Prosecutors Say

176 Washington Park in Fort Greene

A Crown Heights man, Aderibigbe Ogundiran, 36, was indicted today for allegedly stealing a 19th century landmarked mansion in Fort Greene, as well as attempting to steal five other properties in Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York in a title transfer scheme.

Aderibigbe Ogundiran was arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Foley on a 64-count indictment, ordered held on $100,000 bail, and is expected back in court on June 7, 2017. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison on the top count.

According to the indictment, between February 2015 and December 2016, Ogundiran targeted properties whose owners had recently died or that seemed neglected. He allegedlyused aliases, corporate alter-egos, impostors, forged driver’s licenses, and forged notarizations and to file fraudulent deeds or other instruments against the properties in an effort to gain control of them.

The indictment charges the defendant with committing crimes involving the following properties:
  • 176 Washington Park in Fort Greene: This property is a landmarked 19th century five-story, 10-bedroom mansion located on a double-lot directly across from Fort Greene Park and is part of the Fort Greene Historic District. On March 8, 2015, Ogundiran used a Notary Public to notarize and file a deed transferring ownership from the actual owner of the property, a deceased man whose elderly sister lived in the house, to GCU Group, Inc., a corporation controlled by Ogundiran, using an impostor to pose as the deceased owner. The deed was filed with the New York City Department of Finance, Office of the City Register, which recorded the deed on June 26, 2015, transferring ownership to the corporation controlled by Ogundiran.
  • 123 Albany Avenue in Crown Heights: This property is a three-story brownstone. On March 13, 2015, the defendant once again hired a Notary Public to notarize signatures and file with the City Register, a deed purporting to transfer title of 123 Albany Avenue from the rightful owner to himself, once again using an impostor to pose as the rightful owner. The identity assumed by the impostor was that of a person who in fact had died in 2011. The fraudulent deed was recorded by the City Register on March 30, 2015.
  • 42 Albany Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant: This property was purchased in 2004 by an individual who died in 2010. On November 19, 2015, the City Register recorded a Power of Attorney against this property granting the defendant the right to engage in real estate transactions and other powers on behalf of the property. The deceased owner purportedly signed the Power of Attorney on June 15, 2015. On November 18, 2016, filed a deed purportedly signed by the deceased owner on July 30, 2015 conveying title to the property to Ogundiran for $500.
  • 1024 Hendrix Street in East New York: This property was purchased in 1997 by an individual who died in 2007. On October 6, 2015, the deceased owner purportedly executed a power of attorney benefitting 1024 Hendrix LLC, a corporation controlled by the defendant. On October 9, 2015, the City Register recorded a Power of Attorney against the property.
  • 1424 Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant: This property, a three-story residential building with commercial space on the ground floor, was purchased by three individuals in 2013. On November 9, 2016, Ogundiran filed a Power of Attorney with the City Register which was purportedly from one of the actual owners to a corporation incorporated and controlled by the defendant. The Power of Attorney contained the forged signatures of another of the owners and a Notary Public.
  • 49 Albany Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant: This property, a two-story house, was owned by an individual who died in 2007, leaving an only child who resided outside of the United States. On November 9, 2016, the defendant filed a forged Power of Attorney against 49 Albany Avenue. The Power of Attorney granted rights to a corporation controlled by the defendant and was purportedly signed by the deceased owner and the Notary Public.

“Escalating real estate values in Brooklyn, unfortunately, make frauds like this inviting to thieves. “Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “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.”

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