The Brooklyn District Attorney announced charges on Monday against a Midwood lawyer who allegedly stole the deeds to eight homes throughout the borough, totaling nearly $8 million in ill-gotten property.
According to prosecutors, Sanford Solny, whose license to practice law was suspended in 2012, targeted seven homeowners whose properties were going into foreclosure and convinced them to transfer the deeds into his name to “negotiation on their behalf.”
“These victims, who trusted the defendant to help them avoid foreclosure, instead allegedly had their homes stolen by him and were left facing financial ruin,” said District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
Solny, who was caught perpetuating a similar deed theft scheme in Queens in 2017, allegedly persuaded the victims to unknowingly sign various documents relinquishing the rights to their homes, telling them that he would negotiate with a lender on their behalf to halt the foreclosure process.
Once he had successfully taken ownership of the properties — which were located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York, Flatbush, and Cypress Hills — Solny allegedly collected over $600,000 in rent from various tenants, according to the DA’s office.
“Brooklyn’s valuable real estate market continues to be an attractive target for fraudsters willing to deceive homeowners,” Gonzalez said.
Solny was arraigned Monday before Kings County Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on various charges including grand larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property. He was released without bail, and his next court date is in February of 2021.
The 63-year-old defendant had lost his license to practice law in 2012 after he swindled a relative out of $600,000 by abusing his power of attorney privileges, according to court documents.
Gonzalez used the indictment to warn Brooklynites about the dangers of fraud schemes, and to be cautious about real estate dealings.
“I urge anyone considering selling their property to be prudent about with whom they do business,” the prosecutor said in a statement. “Be wary of any unsolicited offers of help with your property and do not sign any documents unless you consult with an independently retained attorney.”