FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Sheepshead Bay Woman Sentenced to up to Six Years in Prison
For Stealing More than $600,000 by Falsely Claiming She Could
Fast-track Applicants Seeking Mitchell-Lama Apartments
Pretended to be Real Estate Agent and Property Manager;
Forged and Fabricated Applications, Rental Agreements, Receipts and Closing Documents
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 56-year-old Brooklyn woman who stole approximately $613,000 from 20 different victims while posing as a real estate agent has been sentenced to up to six years in prison following her guilty plea last month to three counts of second-degree grand larceny.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The defendant cheated more than a dozen innocent people out of their life savings and hard-earned cash, then gambled it away. I will not tolerate these kinds of fraudulent and criminal actions in Brooklyn. With today’s sentence, the defendant has been held accountable.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Yelena Litvak, 56, of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. She was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Martin Murphy to an indeterminate term of two to six years in prison for each count and ordered the terms to run concurrently. The defendant pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree grand larceny on September 21, 2018. She signed a confession of judgment acknowledging her debt of approximately $613,000 to 20 victims.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between January 2017 and March 2018, the defendant represented herself as a real estate agent and property manager of various Mitchell-Lama housing developments throughout the city. Apartments at the city-sponsored developments, which provide affordable rental and cooperative housing for moderate- and middle-income households, are sold or rented through waiting lists kept by each development.
The defendant falsely claimed that she could facilitate the sales and rentals of apartments at the Kings Bay Housing Company in Brooklyn, Southbridge Towers in Manhattan and other developments. She mostly targeted middle-aged Russian immigrants in Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach, many of whom lost their life savings.
As part of the scheme, she offered to help individuals apply for apartments throughout the city. She claimed that she could fast-track their applications on the waiting list in exchange for cash payments. As part of her scheme, the defendant also forged and fabricated applications, rental agreements, receipts and closing documents.
A total of 20 people lost amounts ranging from $15,000 to $82,000. In total, she stole approximately $613,000 and gambled away the proceeds in casinos throughout the United States, including Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, Connecticut, and South Carolina.
The investigation was conducted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Boykin of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau, New York City Police Detective Sherwin Ifill of the 61st Precinct Detective Squad, with the assistance of NYPD Detective Julio Tejada of the Brooklyn South Grand Larceny Squad.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Boykin of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorneys Inna Shapovalova, Lino De Masi and Michael Pesin-Virovets and Paralegal Angelika Rostkowska, also of the Green Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Richard Boye, former Green Zone Grand Jury Deputy Chief, Assistant District Attorney Glenn Singer, Deputy Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney David Klestzick, Bureau Chief.