FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Brooklyn Man Indicted for Stealing Neighbor’s East New York House;
Allegedly Transferred Deed to Himself After Forging Notary’s Signature
Defendant Befriended Elderly Victim for Whom He Worked as Part-Time Caretaker
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 29-year-old East New York man has been indicted for allegedly stealing and attempting to sell the home of his 85-year-old neighbor, a diabetic man for whom the defendant was a part-time caretaker.
District Attorney Gonzalez said “This case should serve as another warning that rising property values in Brooklyn make homeowners, especially the elderly, the target of unscrupulous predators trying to steal their homes from under them. I urge all homeowners to be especially careful about signing documents relating to their property without trusted legal advice.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jordan Horsford, 29, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 12-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree grand larceny, third-degree grand larceny, first-degree identity theft, first-degree falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing, criminal possession of a forged instrument and fraudulently obtaining a signature. He was released without bail, ordered to surrender his passport and to return to court on March 6, 2019. The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, in August 2016 the defendant, who was known to do odd jobs in the neighborhood, began helping the victim as needed, including carrying his wheelchair up steps and helping him get in and out of vehicles; he was paid for each task by the victim’s family.
In April 2017, it is alleged, the victim’s family began paying the defendant $400 a week to accept Meals on Wheels deliveries and set them out for the victim, to make sure he took his medicine and to check in on him at night.
Between June 19, 2017 and November 1, 2017, the defendant allegedly convinced the victim to sign away the deed to his home on Barbey Street in East New York, Brooklyn. The defendant allegedly told the victim he risked losing his home if he did not sign a document, and had the document notarized by a notary. The defendant then allegedly realized he needed another document notarized, but the notary refused so the defendant allegedly copied and cut and pasted her original signature. He then recorded the deed, which had been signed over to him.
Finally, it is alleged, the defendant attempted to sell the house almost immediately after securing the deed, but a title company suspected foul play and refused to insure the home. The would-be purchaser then reached out to the 85-year-old victim’s family. At around the same time, the victim’s daughter, while going through her father’s mail, found a letter from the Department of Finance notifying them about documents filed relating to the property. The daughter pursued the matter with the DOF and the case was ultimately referred to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for further investigation and prosecution.
Additionally, the defendant allegedly used the victim’s credit card to buy two gold bars online, one in September 2016 and another in August 2017.
The case was investigated by Detective Sheriff Kevin Acon, of the Criminal Investigations Bureau, New York City Department of Finance.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Karen Turner of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gavin Miles, Counsel to the Frauds Bureau, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.