Prosecutors filed additional charges Wednesday against the Manhattan Beach resident — already accused of running a Medicaid fraud scheme out of his Brooklyn flophouses — for illegally evicting and defrauding tenants.
Yury Baumblit, who’s homes for the poor, recovering drug addicts and the mentally ill were the subject of a New York Times investigation last year, was arraigned along with employee Edwin Elie in Brooklyn Supreme Court on felony fraud charges and misdemeanor charges unlawful eviction and criminal contempt, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced.
“These defendants are charged with taking advantage of vulnerable New Yorkers who were in need of assistance. They provided them with the opposite – allegedly evicting these tenants unlawfully. They have now been indicted and we intend to hold them accountable for their actions,” Thompson said in a press release.
Baumblit and his wife were arrested in April at their luxurious, 5,250-square-foot mansion on Corbin Place and charged by the State Attorney General with defrauding Medicaid by directing tenants to drug treatment providers in exchange for kickbacks. Some of the tenants sent to drug treatment did not need the service, according to prosecutors.
The latest charges brought by the Brooklyn DA allege Baumblit illegally evicted at least 10 tenants from his flophouses — sometimes throwing out their belongings, removing their mattresses, locking the doors or breaking stoves to discourage the tenants from returning.
Elie is accused of acting as Baumblit’s enforcer and right-hand man.
Prosecutors describe one instance at a home in East New York where a tenant, who paid in cash from his disability payments, was allegedly evicted after six months living in one Baumblit’s homes. The tenant sued in housing court and received an order allowing him to return. However, Baumblit refused to obey the order and the victim slept on the floor for more than four months, according to the Brooklyn DA.
Another tenant at the same house, who had undergone surgery, allegedly collapsed in the street after Baumblit said he could not stay in the residence during the day and would have to attend and assigned program. The victim, who told prosecutors he saw six residents evicted from the home, spent five days in the hospital after collapsing in the street, according to prosecutors.
If convicted, the defendants face four years in prison, according to the DA.
Baumblit, who is jail on $500,000 bond, or $300,000 cash, and his wife face 15 years in prison if convicted on the Attorney General’s charges.