The Real Deal New York

Fake real estate agent convicted in elaborate Harlem scam

Dan Stern stole $250K in down payments and opened a phony brokerage
October 26, 2016 02:50PM

Cyrus Vance, Jr.

DA of New York County, Cyrus Vance, Jr.

A man who posed as a real estate agent — and even opened a brokerage in Harlem — admitted to being a con artist who defrauded potential buyers and walked away with their down payments.

The 52-year-old Dan Stern pleaded guilty last month to charges brought against him by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for his outlandish scam, and was sentenced to three-to-six years in prison on Wednesday.

Stern opened a brokerage called Harlem Vintage Realty on East 126th Street in October 2014 and advertised run-down properties throughout Harlem, unbeknownst to their owners.

Stern then collected around $250,000 in down payments from four interested buyers, and alternately posed as a real estate agent and attorney to complete the transactions. He used that money for credit card payments, membership to a country club and maintenance for luxury cars.

When the buyers called to find out what happened to their money, Stern went AWOL. As part of his plea agreement, Stern must make restitution to the victims. — Chava Gourarie