A Brooklyn real estate developer from Great Neck accused last year of “textbook tenant harassment” in an effort to force out residents of rent-regulated apartments has been indicted in connection with multiple schemes to steal money from the U.S. government, officials said Thursday.
Daniel Melamed, 40, and six accomplices are charged with creating shell corporations and forging letters to defraud the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other financial institutions in schemes that ran from 2011 to 2014, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said.
Melamed previously was indicted in June 2015 on charges of offering a false instrument for filing, endangering the welfare of a child, and unlawful eviction after authorities said he tore down a 14-unit apartment building around its three remaining tenants in “an effort to remove them” from their rent-stabilized apartments, officials said.
In the latest case, Melamed was arraigned Wednesday in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn, charged additionally with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree forgery and second-degree residential mortgage fraud, Schneiderman said Thursday in a statement. Six others also were indicted. Melamed was released after posting a $75,000 bond that included $25,000 in cash, a spokesman for Schneiderman said.
All are charged with committing larcenies “related to short sale fraud,” according to a statement released by Schneiderman. In one scheme, Schneiderman said, Melamed, an employee of his and an associate “created and submitted false documents” that “purported to bolster” the associate’s income — and “create the appearance” that the associate intended to occupy a property on Hale Avenue in Brooklyn.
That, Schneiderman said, was a HUD requirement for the building loan. Two years after the associate was approved for that loan, the indictment alleges, he defaulted.
Schneiderman said HUD paid more than $480,000 in taxpayer funds to cover the loss.
“We have zero tolerance for mortgage fraud,” Schneiderman said in his statement. “The defendants not only allegedly stole money from the federal government and ultimately New York’s taxpayers, but also cheated the general public out of opportunities to bid on reasonably priced properties that were in foreclosure.”
Melamed, through a fraudulent corporation “purportedly owned” by a former employee of his who was among those indicted, purchased one of the properties for $250,000 in 2013 and sold it a year later for $1.25 million, Schneiderman said in his statement.
Another scheme, he said, involved a short sale owned by Melamed’s mother to a corporation he owned. Melamed’s mother was not among those indicted.
Melamed was first charged in a grand jury indictment last year, when authorities said he replaced apartment doors at a building on Union Street in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn with plywood, stating that he throttled heat and hot water while creating demolition dust that spiked lead levels to 88 times the threshold legally allowed by law — all in an effort to drive all tenants from the building. In a filing, Schneiderman said, Melamed falsely stated the building housed no tenants.
With Joan Gralla