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NY AG charges landlord for $5 million mortgage fraud scheme

Investigation led by the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman charged Dean Galasso, 49, a New York City landlord with multiple properties in Manhattan and Queens, after discovering he allegedly tried to fraudulently obtain a multi-million-dollar mortgage to finance the purchase of a rental building.

According to Schneiderman’s office, Galasso allegedly submitted false mortgage documents to Investors Bank, including a falsified rent roll, to obtain a $5,025,000 mortgage to finance the purchase of 43 Essex Street, a 10-unit rental building in Manhattan.

In addition, Galasso allegedly forged certain leases for units in his building in an effort to support the false information contained in the rent roll, which Investors Bank relied upon to approve of its mortgage.

Here is a Google Street View of the Lower East Side building from last year:

33 Essex

The alleged scheme led to six felony charges, including one count of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a Class B Felony, two counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, Class D Felonies, two counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, Class D Felonies, and one count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a Class E Felony.

If convicted, Galasso faces up to 25 years in prison.

“Bad landlords are now on notice: if you attempt to break the law, we will find you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Our task force will continue to identify, investigate, and prosecute those who try to game the system.”

Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force, the multi-agency task force, which was announced by Attorney General Schneiderman, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Governor Andrew Cuomo in February 2015, conducted the investigation.

“DOB is proud to work with Attorney General Schneiderman and all our Task Force partners to fight tenant abuses aggressively. Last year alone, the Task Force inspected 2,179 properties with complaints of tenant harassment, and we issued 2,163 violations and 276 stop-work orders. Where possible, we also make immediate repairs to keep tenants in their homes,” said NYC Buildings Commissioner, Rick D. Chandler, PE.

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