A man who allegedly posed as deceased property owners in order to steal the deeds of six Brooklyn properties was indicted on charges including fraud, grand larceny and identity theft on Tuesday.
Prosecutors say 36-year-old Aderibigbe Ogundiran targeted properties where the title holders were dead, or that appeared to have been abandoned. He then filed fraudulent deeds, used aliases, corporate alter-egos, fake driver’s licenses and forged notarizations to take control of the homes, according a statement from the acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and the New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito.
In total, Ogundiran stands accused of trying to steal six separate property deeds, including 176 Washington Park in Fort Greene, a landmarked 10-bedroom brownstone. The other properties involved in the case are 123 Albany Avenue in Crown Heights, 42 and 49 Albany Avenue, 1424 Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant and 1024 Hendrix Street in East New York.
On at least one occasion, according to Gonzalez, the defendant collected rent from a tenant at one of the properties. He was also allegedly caught on camera filing a Power of Attorney at the City Register’s office, after the true owner of the property received an email alert of a document filed against the property.
“Escalating real estate values in Brooklyn unfortunately make frauds like this inviting to thieves,” said Gonzalez. He urged homeowners to protect themselves by registering with Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) so that they are automatically informed of changes made to documents associated with their property.
In March, a grand jury indicted 11 people and two Queens-based companies on allegations they tricked homeowners into signing away their properties.
Ogundiran was arraigned at the Brooklyn Supreme Court on the 64-count indictment. He faces up to 25 years prison if convicted. — Miriam Hall