On Monday, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alexander Jeong sentenced a Brooklyn man to serve an indeterminate prison term of 9 to 18 years for his role in an elaborate real estate fraud scheme. The defendant was identified by the District Attorney as Carl Smith, a 50 year old resident from Brooklyn who authorities claim stole at least three properties.
Smith was accused of forging deeds, impersonating an attorney, and engaging in real estate sales without a license. He was even able to sell one empty lot more than once while pulling in million dollar bids on properties that he did not own. In a statement made by District Attorney Ken Thompson, the scope of the defendant’s actions come to light.
“This defendant shamefully stole houses and other property from their rightful owners by using forged documents, engaging in deceit and committing outright fraud. He did so solely to exploit the lucrative real estate market in Brooklyn,” Thompson explained.
The sentencing comes after Smith was convicted on May 23, 2016, when a jury trial decided he was guilty of two counts of second-degree grand larceny, two counts of third-degree grand larceny, two counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, one count of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and unlawful practice of law.
According to the testimony offered at trial, the defendant effectively stole the property at 45 Lewis Avenue after filing a backdated deed with a forged signature from 1999. Once he was granted ownership of the lot, he was able to sell the property two times in March of 2011 and again in April of that same year, reportedly garnering over $10,000 in each transaction.
He also attempted to sell a three-story brownstone in Fort Greene, after filing another forged deed but after several large bids from buyers, he was unable to produce a valid title in order to complete the sale. The case was carefully investigated by local authorities but the prosecution was directed by the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit.