Alleged fraudsters arrested for $17M property scheme

Indictment says they used forged docs to get people to sign leases and put down deposits

Jan.January 26, 2017 02:15 PM

Two Hollywood residents accused in a bank fraud scheme of falsely claiming ownership of $17 million worth of property in Florida and New York were arrested Wednesday in Hollywood.

The indictment charged Issak Almaleh and Antoaneta Iotova with fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., among others.

Almaleh and Iotova allegedly forged documents to claim ownership of several properties in Florida and New York that were in foreclosure, owned by banks insured by the FDIC, according to authorities, then used those documents to victimize residents and tenants, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Almaleh, who previously worked as a notary, notarized ownership documents as though they were genuine. Iotova signed the documents on behalf of the companies they controlled: New York Sport Foundation, New York Mortgage Corp. and Women in International Relations, authorities said.

Almaleh and Iotova successfully evicted a Hollywood resident temporarily, enlisting help from police in 2015, federal officials said, even changing locks on the property. In Hallandale Beach, the pair allegedly used forged documents to trick two people into signing leases and putting down cash deposits, just two days before the tenants were informed by the bank that their lease agreements were not valid.  [Sun Sentinel] — Gabrielle Paluch

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