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BK Property Owner is Getting Sued for Tricking 20 Immigrant Families Out of $5M

Steven Wu illegally sold fake condo units and stole more than $5 million from at least 20 Chinese immigrant families. Now, he's getting sued by Attorney General Letitia James.
Attorney General Letitia James. Photo: Matt Cohen/Flickr

Xi Hui “Steven” Wu, his ex-wife Xiao Rong Yang, and his companies TCJ Construction Inc. and 345 Ovington LLC are getting sued for taking advantage of at least 20 Chinese immigrants and their families by illegally selling them non-existent condominiums in Bay Ridge.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against Wu, Yang and the companies involved for collecting fraudulent monthly “mortgage” payments and building fees totaling more than $5 million.

Wu never provided the purchasers with deeds to the condos they bought from his company and used their deposits and monthly payments for his own personal expenses, rather than holding the funds in segregated escrow accounts, as required by law.

“Steven Wu took advantage of hardworking immigrants and sold them and their families a lie,” James said.

“He earned their trust as a pillar of the community only to exploit it and steal their life’s savings. These families were cheated out of their livelihoods, so we’re taking action to ensure they get their money back.”

In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, the Office of the Attorney General is seeking to recover all the money stolen from the families and permanently ban Wu, Yang and his companies from conducting real estate business in New York state.

The OAG’s investigation revealed that Wu’s ex-wife Xiao Rong Yang was involved in executing Wu’s scheme. Shimon Avrahami, Yechiel Shimon Sprei and John Does #1 to #10 are named as relief defendants in the lawsuit, as they may have a financial interest in 345 Ovington but are not accused of wrongdoing.

“The dream of owning their own homes turned into a nightmare for these families, hardworking immigrants who were only trying to create safe and sustainable futures in the community,” Thomas Yu, Executive Director, Asian Americans for Equality, said.

“It is imperative that the families who were caught up in this scheme, through no fault of their own, get their money back and have the opportunity to obtain long-term housing stability and financial security. We thank Attorney General James and all of our elected officials for their advocacy on behalf of these residents.”


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