Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today on Tuesday announced that a Brooklyn man was arrested and arraigned on on grand larceny charges, after he allegedly received $74,000 in cash payments from three women who wanted to buy Mitchell-Lama apartments in Coney Island.
The alleged thief, Akim Sokolovski, 63, a.k.a. Kim Greenberg, of Coney Island, had no ties to Mitchell-Lama management and did not deliver on his promises to help secure the apartments.
"This defendant allegedly exploited the frustrations shared by many Brooklyn residents hoping to find affordable housing, despite a booming real estate market," said Gonzalez. "We will not allow opportunists and scammers to corrupt the process by which eligible prospective tenants gain access to reasonably priced housing."
According to the investigation, between October 2015 and March 2016, the defendant, who lives in the Amalgamated Warbasse Houses located at 2790 West 5th Street in Coney Island, a Mitchell-Lama property, was introduced to the first victim through a mutual friend.
Mitchell-Lama developments are state-regulated complexes of affordable cooperative apartments. Securing an apartment typically involves a lengthy waiting period.
The victim then introduced two friends to the defendant. All three individuals were interested in buying apartments in the complex, and Sokolovski allegedly presented himself as someone with access to management.
Furthermore, Sokolovski allegedly told each victim to pay him $15,000 in cash to help them avoid the waiting list and that the apartments would become available within six months to a year. After receiving the initial $45,000, he requested additional cash payments from two of the victims for other apartments. One victim gave him $25,000, while the other gave him $4,000.
The defendant never delivered on his alleged promises for help with the apartments and refused to return the payments.
Sokolovski, was charged with five counts each of third-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree grand larceny, and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on March 11, 2020.