FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 18, 2017
East Flatbush Man Indicted for Forging Deed
To Steal House from Elderly Neighbor
Defendant Allegedly Forged Deed Transferring Ownership
Of Neighbor’s Three-Family House Worth $445,000 to Trust in His Name
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East Flatbush man has been charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of a forged instrument and related charges for allegedly stealing a house owned by his 84-year-old next-door neighbor by forging a deed and other documents that transferred ownership of the property to a trust in his name.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly exploited his elderly neighbor’s absence to brazenly steal her house. As Brooklyn’s real estate values continue to rise, I remain vigilant in my commitment to protect homeowners across the borough, particularly vulnerable seniors, who are all too often the target of unscrupulous individuals.”
The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Winston Gregory Hall, also known as “Sage El,” 36, of 388 East 49th Street in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. The defendant was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic on an indictment in which he is charged with one count of second-degree grand larceny, four counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, one count of first-degree falsifying business records and one count of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on October 19, 2017. The defendant faces up to five to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between April and May of 2015, the defendant allegedly perpetrated a fraud to steal the title to 390 East 49th Street in Brooklyn, a three-family home owned by his next-door neighbor, an 84-year-old woman who lives with a family member in New Jersey.
According to the investigation, on April 16, 2015, the defendant created the Winston Gregory Hall Express Trust, of which he was the trustee. One week later, on April 23, 2015, a deed was purportedly executed by the victim, the owner of 390 East 49th Street, transferring ownership of the property to the defendant’s trust. Further, on May 8, 2015, the deed and related tax documents, also allegedly forged, were filed at the New York City Register’s Office. On May 18, 2015, the deed was recorded with the New York City Department of Finance, at which time the estimated market value of the property was $445,000.
A subsequent transfer of the property is under an ongoing investigation.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the victim stated that she does not know the defendant and never intended to transfer ownership of her home to the defendant.
The case was investigated by Supervising Detective Investigator Michael Seminara of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the overall supervision of Chief Investigator Joseph Piraino.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Frank Dudis, of the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Richard Farrell, Unit Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.