Landlord gets 12 years in prison for stealing Manhattan building titles

John Kojo Zi forged documents to gain control of properties
September 08, 2017 08:39AM

Cy Vance and John Kojo Zi

Landlord John Kojo Zi received a sentence of up to 12 years in prison for forging deed transfers on five multifamily buildings on the Upper West Side and Hamilton Heights.

Zi was found guilty of grand larceny in the first and second degree and forgery for stealing the titles to properties at 468 West 154th Street, 44 West 73rd Street, 339 West 84th Street, 335 West 84th Street and 468 West 145th Street, Real Estate Weekly reported.

“The defendant executed an elaborate scam using forged deed transfers to steal five buildings from Manhattan property owners,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said. “John Kojo Zi even had the audacity to attempt to collect rent from the tenants and threatened them with eviction if payments were withheld.”

Zi first forged deed transfers with the register’s office in 2013, when he put down the signature of someone who claimed to be in charge of the corporation that owned the building on 145th Street.

In 2014, he filed paperwork to transfer the 73rd Street property from its legitimate owner to his company, Kojo Global Real Estate Development. Zi falsely claimed that the true owner, Aviation Distributors, was founded by his father. He provided the sheriff’s office with a phony contract that said Aviation bought the building in 1976 for $360,000. [REW] – Rich Bockmann