A Brooklyn man hired seniors to pose as dead people and file phony ownership deeds so he could steal six properties across the borough, including a multimillion-dollar landmarked mansion built in 1868, prosecutors said.
Aderibigbe Ogundiran forged drivers licences in order to “reanimate” the deceased property owners, some of whom had been dead for up to 15 years, prosecutor Gavin Miles said Tuesday as the suspect was arraigned on multiple grand larceny charges.
The 36-year-old Brooklyn resident employed six people to help him gain control of the properties – using aliases, corporate alter-egos, impostors, forged driver’s licenses, misuse of personal identifying information, and forged notarizations, acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said.
Aderibigbe who owns a credit repair website was indicted Tuesday for hiring people to “bring back to life” deceased property owners to try and steal the deeds to six Brooklyn homes, prosecutors said.
The interprid enterpreneur, the founder of GoodCreditUnion.com, allegedly gained control or attempted to gain control of brownstones, mansions and multiple-family homes in Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York and Fort Greene worth millions for just $0.
Detectives march a cuffed Aderibigbe Ogundiran into court
In his most daring scheme, Ogundiran had an imposter transfer ownership of the 10-bedroom Fort Greene mansion at 176 Washington Park to a corporation he controlled in March 2015. The tony estate belonged to a deceased man who’s elderly sister still lived in the house.
He also took control of buildings in Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York between March 2015 and November 2016, prosecutors charge.
Most of the residences were empty, though a few contained tenants, according to authorities.
The scheme was discovered after the elderly woman living in the Fort Greene mansion received an eviction notice, the DA said.
However defense attorney Frederick Spiegel said his client made the purchase of these properties in good faith. That he was the real “victim” here.
“My client purchased two of these houses from people who purported to the owners,” the lawyer said. “He’s more a victim that a perpetrator. He purchased one house for $22,000, and that money’s lost.”
Ogundiran, a the Nigerian national, who’s been a permanent resident since 2005 , was captured on video filing a Power of Attorney at the City Register’s office for an Albany Ave. two-story home, after the actual owner of the property received an email alert of a document filed against the property.
If convicted, he faces up to 25 years behind bars.
“Escalating real estate values in Brooklyn unfortunately make frauds like this inviting to thieves,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “I would urge homeowners to protect themselves by registering with the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) so that they are automatically informed of changes made to documents associated with their property.”
Ogundiran was held on $200,000 bond. He’s slotted to return to court in June.
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