According to prosecutors, a man from Brooklyn has been sentenced to up to four years in prison for stealing an elderly widow’s home with fraudulent documents and selling it for more than $200,000.
According to the Queens District Attorney’s Office, Christopher Williams, 43, managed to obtain a profit of approximately $209,000 by using fraudulent birth and death certificates to trick the New York City Department of Finance into believing he was the son of his victim, Barbara Matthews, in 2021.
According to a statement from the DA’s office, he sold the Dunlop Avenue property in Jamaica, Queens that he had claimed and earned $270,000 from the sale. He was able to take home a significant portion of the money after the closing.
In August, Williams accepted his guilt and pleaded guilty to both first-degree identity theft and offering a false statement for filing.
According to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, there will be zero tolerance for criminals attempting to deceive and defraud their way into someone else’s property. She assures that every possible measure will be taken to ensure that the victims are fully compensated.
According to the DA’s office, Williams received a prison sentence of two to four years for his offenses on Tuesday.
Judge Leigh Cheng of the Queens Supreme Court has approved a motion put forward by the DA’s office to enforce a state law that returns stolen property back to its rightful owner without any legal proceedings, thus saving Matthews the trouble and expense of going through the legal process.
Katz emphasized that individuals residing in areas that are prone to deed fraud often lack the financial resources to hire an attorney to pursue legal action against influential mortgage firms, banks, and title insurers.
“We can now offer victims a one-stop justice solution with the implementation of this new tactic.”
As of Wednesday, there has been no response from Williams’ defense attorney, Edward Muccini, to a request for comment.