Brooklyn man arrested for claiming to help victims buy Mitchell-Lama apartments

Akim Sokolovski allegedly stole $74K from his victims

Feb.February 18, 2020 01:37 PM
2790 West 5th Street in Coney Island (Credit: Google Maps)

2790 West 5th Street in Coney Island (Credit: Google Maps)

Authorities arrested a Brooklyn man charged with bilking three women out of tens of thousands of dollars in a scheme to jump the wait list to buy Mitchell-Lama apartments.

Akim Sokolovski, 63, allegedly told the victims that he could help them buy apartments at the Mitchell-Lama complex he lives in — if they paid him in cash to avoid the lengthy waitlist at the property, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said in a release.

The victims allegedly coughed up $74,000 in hopes of securing an apartment at the housing cooperative. But Sokolovski, who has no ties to Mitchell-Lama management, never followed through on his promises and would not give back the money, authorities said.

The scheme began in October 2015 and ended March 2016, at the Amalgamated Warbasse Houses at 2790 West 5th Street in Coney Island.

A 2017 audit by the state comptroller’s office found that the sprawling affordable cooperative complex was one of five Mitchell-Lama developments that were not following the requirements to get residents off waitlists, which had been closed for years, and into apartments.

And in May 2019, prosecutors announced that three people were charged in a different waitlist-related scheme at another Mitchell-Lama development in Coney Island, Luna Park. Those defendants were charged with taking $874,000 in bribes from those who wanted to cut the line to get co-ops at the complex.

Sokolovski, who also goes by Kim Greenberg, was charged with five counts of third-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree grand larceny and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud.

Sokolovski is out on bail, and it was not immediately clear if he has an attorney. He could not be reached for comment. His next court date is March 11.

Write to Mary Diduch at [email protected]

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