A.G. Schneiderman Announces Guilty Plea Of Brooklyn Real Estate Developer Daniel Melamed
Defendant Created Shell Corporations, Forged Letters To Defraud HUD And Financial Institutions From 2011 To 2014
Facing Trial, Daniel Melamed Pleads Guilty To 13-Count Indictment
Melamed Previously Found Guilty Of Unlawful Eviction Of Rent Stabilized Tenants Following A Separate Prosecution By A.G. Schneiderman
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that Brooklyn real estate developer Daniel Melamed recently pleaded guilty in Kings County Supreme Court to a 13-count indictment, including Residential Mortgage Fraud in the Second Degree and two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, class C felonies; as well as four counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, four counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, and two counts of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, all class D felonies. Melamed admitted under oath to engaging in various real estate schemes that defrauded banks and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) by creating shell corporations and forged letters to illegally purchase and/or sell multiple Brooklyn properties between 2011 and 2014. This guilty plea follows charges brought by Attorney General Schneiderman in November 2016.
“Daniel Melamed stole money from taxpayers and cheated the public in order to boost his bottom line,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We have zero tolerance for landlords who try to game the system to line their own pockets — and we will use every tool at our disposal to bring them to justice.”
Specifically, in one scheme, Melamed, together with former co-defendants Carmen Morales and Abraham Perez, created and submitted false documents that purported to bolster Perez’s income and create the appearance that he intended to occupy 185 Hale Avenue in Brooklyn, which was a requirement of HUD in order to receive a loan from the federal agency. Perez was approved for his loan on the basis of those false submissions and, in less than two years, he defaulted. HUD, which is taxpayer funded, paid over $480,000 to cover the loss.
In a second scheme, Melamed and former co-defendant David Soufeh recruited individuals who were in foreclosure with the promise of relief from mortgage debt and cash under the table. To facilitate this illegal transaction, Melamed and Soufeh, together with former co-defendant’s Curt Joseph and Denise Morales, created and submitted numerous false documents. Melamed admitted that he and Denise Morales created multiple forgeries by cutting and pasting the signatures of bank employees and letterhead from certain banks onto false proof of funds letters. Melamed, through a fraudulent corporation, purportedly owned by Denise Morales, illegally purchased one of these properties for $250,000 in 2013 and sold it a year later for $1,250,000.
Finally, in a third scheme, Daniel Melamed, together with former co-defendants Denise Morales and Christopher Magliocca, attempted to deceive JP Morgan Chase into approving a short sale of a property owned by Melamed’s mother to a corporation controlled by Melamed.
Melamed entered his guilty plea before State Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Justice Chun on January 25, 2018.
Melamed was previously found guilty in June 2017 of three counts of Unlawful Eviction of rent-stabilized tenants following a bench trial before Justice Chun. The June 2015 arrest of Melamed in that case was the first resulting from the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force. Sentencing in that case is also scheduled for January 25, 2018.
The case was investigated by United States Housing and Urban Development Inspector General Special Agent William Martinez and Attorney General Investigator Anna Ospanova, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Sylvia Rivera and Deputy Chief Investigator John McManus. The Attorney General’s Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella. Assisting in the investigation and providing forensic auditing analysis was former Forensic Auditor Kristina Kojamanian, under the supervision of Forensic Audit Section Chief Edward J. Keegan Jr.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Brian McDonald and Lana Schlesinger, under the supervision of Real Estate Enforcement Unit Chief Travis Hill, Public Integrity Bureau Chief Daniel G. Cort, and Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz. The Criminal Division is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Margaret Garnett.