Darrell Beatty filed a phony deed in March of 2014
An exconvict, Darrell Beatty, 51, has been sentenced to a prison for using forgrd documentation to steal a n elderly woman’s family home. In court Beatty showed no remorse for the anguish he caused Jennifer Merin, 72, whose family heirloom he swiped through his fraudlent scheme.
The ex-con from Queens N.Y. pled guilty on Friday to stealing Merin’s house out from under her. He had been charged and convicted of the criminal possession of a forged instrument for using a phony deed to steal the Laurelton house from the rightful owner
Subsequently, he received a one-year jail sentence.However, for home owner Jennifer Merin, that did not seem like enough time or adequate restitution for Beatty’s wanton and aggresive take over of her property, especially as he disposed of her family’s collection of heirlooms and property over which had been in the family for generations.
“I’m glad he’s going to jail. He deserves to go to jail but I think that the sentence was too brief,” she said after Beatty’s plea. “He lived in my house for longer than he will be in jail and he’ll be out on the streets again.”
Echoing her sentiments, Queens DA Richard Brown, acknowledged that the victim had been put through hell.
“The victim of this complicated con was thrown into a living nightmare when she discovered that her family’s home, [which was filled with the precious memories and mementos of three generations] , was being inhabited by squatters who had locked her out,”
“Fortunately, the property now has been returned to its rightful owner and the defendant, in admitting his guilt to possessing a fake deed which transferred the property to him.
The brick Tudor style house had been left to Merin when her mother died. Her family had lived in it since it was built in 1930. Beatty moved in to the empty residence with his two sons and their pit bull in April 2014.
Merin, who lived in Manhattan but kept the family home she inherited, suspected something was wrong when her water and electricity bills spiked.
When she to investigate she found her property had benn taken over by squatters. First she discovered the locks had been changed and then peeked through the windows to find her furniture and family heirlooms were missing. She eventually figured out an ex-con named Darrell Beatty was living inside with his two sons and a pit bull.
But when she reported the matter to the police, she was told they couldn’t do anything because of the forged documentation [deed].
Pursuing the matter Merin had to go through a lengthy legal war to get the courts to revert ownership of the the property back to her name and have Beatty evicted. She won won her suit late in 2015, by which time he had caused $80,000 worth of damages to the home, destroying almost $500,000 in family heirlooms, according to Merin said she was pleased with the outcome but frustrated by the tedious exhausting legal tangle.
Merin whose parents had emigrated to the U.S. from Russia in the early 1900s said
“My family worked, came here with nothing to build a life and all their achievements, all their effort was in that house that was left to me and now it’s gone. It’s all gone,” “My life will never be the same.”
“He has shown no remorse for what he has done to me. It has been devastating for me,” Merin said.
Beatty, was facing up to 15 years in prison for grand larceny and burglary for the forging of paperwork declaring him the owner of Merin’s three-bedroom Laurelton home. He entered a plea bargain which saw the entence reduced to a 12 months.
Beatty is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 12. both he and his attorney declined comment after the hearing before Justice Barry Kron.
Jennifer Merin contemplates the damage Beatty and his boys did to family heirlooms collected over three generations.
Merin recently filed a suit against the city for allowing Beatty to plunder, trash and occupy her home for eight months before finally evicting him in Nov. 2014.
However, the she lost her suit against as Supreme Court Justice Kevin Kerrigan ruled that Merin, could not sue for negligence because the City Registrar has no obligation and no authority under law to make sure that the deeds it accepts for filing in all five boroughs are legitimate.
“I am more than disappointed. I am horrified,” Merin said Friday.
Merin had sued the city for damages to cover the legal fees that she spent to get the deed thief evicted from her home and the damages he caused to family heirlooms.