Landlord Steve Croman, for years accused by tenants of ruthless harassment tactics at his lower Manhattan buildings, was sentenced to one year in jail at Rikers Island on Tuesday, after previously admitting to criminal mortgage and tax fraud charges.
At sentencing, Croman was dressed in black skinny jeans and black-and-white sneakers. When asked by Judge Jill Konviser if he would like to say any words in response to his sentence, Croman replied “no thank you.”
“I hope you spend those days thinking about those you harmed,” Konviser said. She also asked him to reflect on the religious principles that helped delay his sentencing, as he was previously scheduled to come before the judge prior to Rosh Hashanah.
Croman first pleaded guilty in June. The plea agreement includes a $5 million tax settlement, $3 million of which Croman has already paid.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had charged Croman with exaggerating rental income of rent stabilized apartments in order to obtain $45 million in financing and other charges financial in nature. According to an analysis by The Real Deal, Croman took in at least $63 million from his properties in 2014.
A civil suit against the landlord, however, also brought by the AG, is still pending, and alleged that Croman harassed tenants in order to vacate rent-stabilized apartments, hiring an ex-cop to intimidate residents out of their homes.
Croman owns more than 140 buildings in New York City. He’s one of the few landlords to serve jail time for his misdeeds.
Croman’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman told TRD that under the Department of Corrections’ policy, all inmates receive one-third credit if the sentence is one year or less. “Accordingly, it is anticipated that Mr. Croman will be released after serving 8 months of his one year sentence,” he said.