FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

 

Brooklyn Man Arrested for Receiving $74,000 in Cash Payments for Pretending to Help Three Women Buy Mitchell-Lama Apartments

Defendant Allegedly Boasted of Connections with Management

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man was arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with grand larceny and other charges for allegedly receiving $74,000 in cash payments from three women who wanted to buy Mitchell-Lama apartments in Coney Island. The defendant had no ties to Mitchell-Lama management and did not deliver on his promises to help secure the apartments.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly exploited the frustrations shared by many Brooklyn residents hoping to find affordable housing, despite a booming real estate market. We will not allow opportunists and scammers to corrupt the process by which eligible prospective tenants gain access to reasonably priced housing.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Akim Sokolovski, 63, a.k.a. Kim Greenberg, of Coney Island, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, on an indictment in which he is charged with five counts each of third-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree grand larceny, and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on March 11, 2020.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between October 2015 and March 2016, the defendant, who lives in the Amalgamated Warbasse Houses located at 2790 West 5th in Coney Island, a Mitchell-Lama property, was introduced to the first victim through a mutual friend. The victim then introduced two friends to the defendant. All three individuals were interested in buying apartments in the complex, and Sokolovski allegedly presented himself as someone with access to management.

Furthermore, Sokolovski allegedly told each victim to pay him $15,000 in cash to help them avoid the waiting list. The defendant allegedly told the victims that the apartments would become available within six months to a year. After receiving the initial $45,000, he allegedly requested additional cash payments from two of the victims for other apartments. One victim gave him $25,000, while the other gave him $4,000.

The defendant never delivered on his alleged promises for help with the apartments and refused to return the payments. Mitchell-Lama developments are state-regulated complexes of affordable cooperative apartments. Securing an apartment typically involves a lengthy waiting period.

The District Attorney thanked the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal for its assistance in the investigation. KCDA Financial Investigator Marina Kuchmar also assisted in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Theresa Robitaille, of the District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Christopher Blank, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division.

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An indictment is merely an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s