FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 27, 2018
Brooklyn Man Indicted for Allegedly Forging Marshal’s Notice
To Illegally Evict Tenants
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been indicted for allegedly using a forged New York City Marshal’s notice to trick the New York City Police Department into helping him evict two tenants from a property in Stuyvesant Heights that he allegedly purported to own. In fact, the property, a three-family building, belongs to an absentee landlord.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant is an alleged con man who pretended to be a property owner with the right to collect rents and evict people at will. This is just one of many types of housing scams that I am warning property owners to beware of as Brooklyn continues to soar in popularity.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Raymond Lewis, 54, of Stuyvesant Heights, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a six-count indictment in which he is charged with three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, one count of third-degree falsely reporting an incident and two counts of unlawful eviction. He was ordered held on bail of $75,000 bond or $25,000 cash and to return to court on October 24, 2018.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on February 23, 2018, the defendant initiated a landlord tenant proceeding in Housing Court against two tenants who rented rooms from him at 791 Lexington Avenue in Stuyvesant Heights. In the notice of petition, he listed himself as the prime tenant and the others as the under tenants. Prior to the filing, the two tenants stopped paying rent to the defendant because they found out he was not the landlord and because the building needed repairs. The first court date for that proceeding was scheduled for March 28, 2018.
On Saturday, March 10, 2018, the defendant allegedly called 911 and claimed the Marshal previously evicted the tenants and that the tenants returned and were trespassing at the location. When police responded, he showed them two eviction notices, one for each room. The notices listed the defendant as landlord and the tenants as tenants. The police were unable to contact the Marshal’s office to verify the eviction because it was closed. Because the notices appeared valid, the police ordered the tenants to vacate the premises.
The following Monday, March 12, 2018, the tenants called the Marshal’s office and determined there was no record of any eviction. Upon further investigation, it was determined that the notices of eviction the defendant showed police were actually associated with a February 5, 2018, eviction at a building on nearby Tompkins Street, according to a docket number on the notices.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Dovid Wolosow, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gavin Miles, Counsel to the Frauds Bureau, under 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.