A man has been charged in a $250,000 property scam in Harlem, prosecutors said.
Dan Stern of the Bronx has 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.
Once a potential buyer had interest in a property, Stern allegedly had contracts prepared for the fraudulent sale and accepted checks for the down payment. He opened a business bank account and would sometimes pose as a real estate agent or an attorney to the investors, according to the documents.
The documents stated that Stern 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.