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Fake NYC real estate agent charged with stealing $250,000 in down payments

The phony agent allegedly advertised multiple properties for sale without the owners' authority or permission.

Flickr, Creative Commons

A man has been charged in a $250,000property scam in Harlem, prosecutors said.

Dan Stern of the Bronxhas been charged with grand larceny and scheme to defraud after he stole approximately $250,000 from four potential real estate investors in Harlem, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

“Dan Stern is accused of orchestrating an elaborate scheme to steal from would-be real estate investors in Harlem,” Vance said in a statement. “This defendant allegedly went so far as to open a brick-and-mortar business to lure potential victims. In today’s real estate climate, property owners and potential investors need to be vigilant in protecting their assets.”

According to court documents, Stern opened Harlem Village Realty at 104-106 E. 126th St. between Oct. 1, 2014 and May 30, 2015. He advertised multiple properties for sale without the owners' authority or permission.

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Once a potential buyer had interest in aproperty, Stern allegedly had contracts prepared for the fraudulent saleand accepted checks for the down payment. He opened a business bank account andwould sometimes poseasa real estate agent or an attorney to theinvestors, according to thedocuments.

The documents stated thatStern has yet to return any of the stolen funds, which he had used for personal expenses such as credit card payments, cash withdrawals, luxury car maintenance and membership to a country club.

Vance urged anyone who may have been the victim of this type of fraud to call his office’s Financial Frauds Hotline at 212-335-8900.

 

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