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Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
December 15, 2015

DA VANCE ANNOUNCES SENTENCING OF THREE INDIVIDUALS IN FRAUDULENT RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE SCAM

Defendants Engaged in a Scheme to Sell a Residential Home in Harlem Without the Knowledge of the Legitimate Owner

DA Vance Also Announces the Indictment of Six Other Individuals for the Fraudulent Sale of Additional Properties Throughout New York City

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the sentencing of three individuals for engaging in a scheme to fraudulently sell a residential home in Harlem, without the knowledge of the legitimate property owner. KAJETAN BELZA, 38, CHRISTOPHER CABLE, 39, and CARRIE STEVENS, 61, were each sentenced to state prison after pleading guilty to stealing the identity of a Manhattan residential property owner and then accepting a $525,000 check for the sale of her property, located at 79 West 118th Street – a property that was worth approximately $1.19 million. Four additional co-conspirators, and two other individuals, have also been charged in separate New York State Supreme Court indictments for the fraudulent sale of the Harlem property, or other properties located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.[1]  

“This type of criminal conduct – which defrauds not only legitimate property owners, but unsuspecting buyers as well – is reaching unprecedented levels in New York and across the country,” said District Attorney Vance. “My Office, along with our partners, will continue our efforts to root out scammers before they are able to profit from their illegality, and I urge anyone who believes they have been the victim of this type of real estate scheme to please call my Office’s Financial Frauds Bureau at 212-335-8900.”

According to court documents and the defendants’ guilty pleas, BELZA, CABLE, and STEVENS, along with co-conspirators, developed a scheme in which they would target vacant properties, many of which were in a dilapidated condition and which had owners who either were absent or did not use the property as their primary residence. Often these properties were being held for investment purposes. The defendants would then forge personal identification and real estate documents in order to steal the identity of the true property owner, retain an attorney, and attend the closing for the sale of the property to a new, unsuspecting owner. The defendants and their co-conspirators would simultaneously open business bank accounts to retain the proceeds of the fraudulent sale or employ the use of various check-cashing locations. After the fraudulent sale to the new owner, the original property owner would then return to the home to find the locks changed or preparations for renovations underway. However, the new purchasers and the rightful property owners often would not become aware of the fraudulent scheme until after the closing had occurred and the proceeds had already been paid to the defendants and their co-conspirators. BELZA, CABLE, and STEVENS were indicted in September 2014 for using these methods to conduct the fraudulent sale of the property at 79 West 118th Street in Manhattan. Co-defendant KANWARJEET MALIK, 31 – the alleged ringleader of the scheme – was indicted in October 2015 for his participation in the fraudulent sale of that property.

On November 9, 2015, BELZA pleaded guilty to eight counts in the indictment, including the top count of Grand Larceny in the First Degree. BELZA also pleaded guilty to his role in the fraudulent sale of several other properties, including properties located at 57 West 130th Street in Manhattan, 105-22 Merrick Boulevard in Queens, and 59-63 North 6th Street in Brooklyn, and was sentenced on December 14, 2015 in New York State Supreme Court to four to twelve years in state prison. 

On September 8, 2015, CABLE pleaded guilty to eight counts in the indictment, including the top count of Grand Larceny in the First Degree. According to the defendant’s guilty plea, he, along with BELZA, STEVENS, and others, engaged in the fraudulent sale of 79 West 118th Street. CABLE was sentenced on September 28, 2015, to three to nine years in state prison.   
On June 15, 2015, STEVENS pleaded guilty to four counts in the indictment, including the top count of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, and charges of identity theft and forgery.  As admitted in the defendant’s guilty plea, STEVENS participated in the fraudulent sale of 79 West 118th Street, along with her co-defendants and other co-conspirators. STEVENS impersonated the legitimate property owner and attended the closing, signing documents and transferring the deed and title of the property to purchasers in exchange for money.  She also admitted to receiving a check for $525,000 from the fraudulent sale of the property and delivering that check to her co-conspirators. STEVENS was sentenced on July 13, 2015 to one to three years in state prison. 

As the result of the ongoing investigation, four additional co-conspirators – including MALIK, INGRID DAVIS, 51, CALVIN NORWOOD, 57, and EDWARD FRANCO, 60, – have been indicted in New York State Supreme Court for employing the same, if not similar, methods when they fraudulently sold or attempted to sell properties in New York City, including those located at 57 West 130th Street in Manhattan and 105-22 Merrick Boulevard in Queens. The defendants used temporary email accounts, cellphones, and aliases to remain undetected by law enforcement. Each defendant is charged with various counts of Grand Larceny, Forgery and Identity Theft for acting in concert with their fellow co-conspirators to achieve the fraudulent sales. 
MALIK is charged with participating in the scheme related to three properties, including 79 West 118th Street, 57 West 130th Street, and 105-22 Merrick Boulevard. According to court documents, MALIK posed as a real estate broker and orchestrated the fraudulent deals by working with impersonators, retaining the attorneys for the impersonators, and setting up the various real estate closings. DAVIS and FRANCO are charged with impersonating the real property owners of 105-22 Merrick Boulevard and 57 West 130th Street respectively.  NORWOOD is charged with assisting in the fraudulent sale of 105-22 Merrick Boulevard and opening a bank account in which to retain the illegal proceeds from that fraudulent sale.  

According to documents filed in court, two other individuals, ASHTON RAMLOGAN, 48, and JAGTAR SINGH, 59, have been indicted for similar deed fraud schemes.  Both defendants are charged with attempting to sell vacant real property located at 59-63 North 6th Street in Brooklyn, which was owned by a Manhattan resident. Additionally, RAMLOGAN is charged with having received $775,000 for the fraudulent sale of undeveloped real property at 31-16 21st Street in Queens.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, the Office of the City Registrar, the NYC Department of Finance, and several other agencies throughout the city have partnered in the investigation and prosecution of the criminal conduct related to these schemes. 
  
Assistant District Attorneys Nashonme Johnson and David Crowley are handling the prosecution of these cases, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michael Sachs, Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau; Assistant District Attorney Archana Rao, Principal Deputy Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau; Gloria Garcia, Deputy Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau; and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division.  Investigative Analysts Anne McGrath and Ellen Choi, of the Financial Frauds Bureau, Senior Financial Investigator Wei Man Tang of the Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigation Unit, former Assistant District Attorney Bernadette Lumas Codrington, Detective John Munari of the NYPD Financial Crimes Taskforce, Detective Investigator Louis Capolupo of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Investigator William Burmeister, Supervising Investigator Jonathan Reid, and Deputy Chief Investigator Santiago Batista provided assistance with the investigation.

[1] The charges contained in the indictments are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

Defendant Information:

KAJETAN BELZA, D.O.B. 2/10/1977
Brooklyn, NY

Convicted:

  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree , a class C felony, three counts
  • Attempted Grand Larceny in the First Degree , a class C felony, one count
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree , a class D felony, four counts
  • Forgery in the Second Degree , a class D felony, four counts
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree, a class D felony, one count

Sentenced:

  • Four to twelve years in state prison

CHRISTOPHER CABLE, D.O.B. 7/9/1976
Queens, NY 

Convicted:

  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree , a class C felony, two counts
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree , a class D felony, two counts
  • Forgery in the Second Degree , a class D felony, two counts
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree, a class D felony, one count

Sentenced:
Three to nine years in state prison

CARRIE STEVENS, D.O.B. 6/28/1954
Bronx, NY

Convicted:

  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree , a class C felony, one count
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree , a class D felony, one count

 

Sentenced:

  • One to three years in state prison

KANWARJEET MALIK, D.O.B. 03/07/1984
Brooklyn , NY 

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
  • Attempt to Commit Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, three counts
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Attempt to Commit Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D felony, six counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, six counts
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree,  a class D felony, seven counts
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count

 

INGRID DAVIS, D.O.B. 12/28/1964
Bronx, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Attempt to Commit Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D felony, two counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, four counts
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, three counts
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count

 

CALVIN NORWOOD, D.O.B. 11/30/1958
Queens, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Attempt to Commit Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D felony, two counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, four counts
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, three counts
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count

 

EDWARD FRANCO, D.O.B. 8/11/1955
Brooklyn, NY 

Charged:

  • Attempt to Commit Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, two counts
  • Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, class E felony, one count

ASHTON RAMLOGAN, D.O.B. 10/04/1967
Valley Stream, NY 

Charged:

  • Attempt to Commit Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class C felony, two counts
  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, two counts
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree, a class C felony, two counts
  • Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D felony, seven counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, two counts
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, two counts
  •  

JAGTAR SINGH, D.O.B. 12/02/1956
Queens, NY 

Charged:

  • Attempt to Commit Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class C felony, two counts
  • Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D felony, seven counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, two counts
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, two counts

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