A fake Harlem real estate broker has been indicted on charges that he stle $250,000 from would-be property buyers.
Dan Stern, 51, opened Harlem Village Realty at 104-106 East 126th Street and advertised several properties for sale unbeknownst to the true owners and without their permission or authority to do so, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.
The properties advertised included 41 West 124th Street, 36 West 128th Street, 52-54 East 126th Street, 342 West 123rd Street and 175 West 126th Street.
The properties Stern targeted included two churches and several buildings that were facing foreclosure or in need of major repairs.
According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, between October 1, 2014, and May 30, 2015, once a prospective buyer expressed interest in a property, Stern would have contracts prepared for the fraudulent sale and accept checks for the down payment.
He allegedly posed as a real estate agent or attorney and even opened a business bank account listing himself as the signatory to deposit down payments he received from the scam.
To date, Stern has not returned any of the stolen funds, which he used to pay for personal expenses, including credit card payments, membership to a country club, maintenance for luxury cars, and cash withdrawals.
“In today’s real estate climate, property owners and potential investors need to be vigilant in protecting their assets,ˮ said DA Vance.
“I urge anyone who believes that he or she may have been the victim of this type of fraud to call my Office’s Financial Frauds Hotline at 212-335-8900.”