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Brooklyn man could spend 18 years in prison for stealing homes

Convicted of forging deeds, pretending to be attorney

A Brooklyn man could spend as many as 18 years in prison after being convicted of stealing three Brooklyn properties by forging deeds, as well as pretending to be an attorney, and attempting to sell properties he didn’t actually own.

According to the office of Ken Thompson, the Brooklyn District Attorney, Carl Smith will spend an “indeterminate term” of between nine and 18 years in prison following his conviction 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. 

Smith’s convictions stem from multiple occasions when he allegedly stole properties from their rightful owners, including one lot which fraudulently obtained then sold to two different people.

According to testimony given during Smith’s trial, Smith stole 45 Lewis Avenue, a lot in Bedford-Stuyvesant, by filing a backdated deed containing the forged signature of a man who bought the lot in 1999.

Smith then sold the lot twice: in March 2011 to the owner of an adjacent laundromat for $12,000 and in April 2011 to another man for $11,000.

Additionally, Smith allegedly stole 139 Vanderbilt Avenue, a three-story brownstone in Fort Greene.

According to Thompson’s office, a woman named Dolores Teel purchased the property and owned it until her death in 2001, with the property passing on her family members after her death.

But in April 2011, Smith allegedly filed a deed, backdated prior to Teel’s death and bearing her forged signature, to gain ownership of the house. Thompson’s office said that Smith received several bids from potential buyers for the house, some of which exceeded $1 million, but he was not able to produce a valid title and therefore could not complete the sale.

According to additional testimony, Smith negotiated a deal to sell 64 Hart Street, a multi-family home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, by falsely presenting himself as the owner’s attorney and providing documents containing her forged signature.

The property in question was purchased in 1975 by Mary Brown and was inherited by her daughter when she died in 1994. An investor that Smith was negotiating with paid him over $20,000 for the deed and related fees after the investor was provided with fraudulent contract of sale and deed.

During Smith’s trial, the jury also heard evidence about an uncharged larceny in which the Smith allegedly stole 543 Lexington Avenue, a two-story home in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

According to Thompson’s office, Smith did that by forging and backdating a deed to the property. Smith then sold that home to an associate, and trying to evict the rightful owner, Jerome Farrell, who lived there until his death in February 2015.

“This defendant shamefully stole houses and other property from their rightful owners by using forged documents, engaging in deceit and committing outright fraud,” Thompson said. “He did so solely to exploit the lucrative real estate market in Brooklyn. And now he will spend many years in prison where scammers like him belong.”

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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