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Long IslandCrime

Two Long Island men charged with trying to steal homes from lawful owners

Andy Francis, 62, of Elmont, and Frank Torres, 60, of Dix Hills, submitted fraudulent deeds and supporting documents, never signed by the homeowners, with the New York City Register's Office, Attorney General Letitia James said.

Two Long Island men were indicted Thursday on charges of  trying to steal two homes from property owners in Brooklyn and Queens, state Attorney General Letitia James said.

Andy Francis, 62, of Elmont, and Frank Torres, 60, of Dix Hills, submitted fraudulent deeds and supporting documents — never signed by the owners of the homes — with the New York City Register’s Office, James said.

One of the homes is  on 95th Street in Brownsville, Brooklyn; the other is on 138th Avenue in Laurelton, Queens, she said, announcing the duo had been indicted on charges of grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.

“No homeowner should have to fear theft of their home from scam artists,” said James, who promised her office would do everything possible to hold such criminals accountable. “Too often, we see cases where individuals file false documents, forge signatures, and steal deeds from rightful owners." 

The two men fraudulently transferred ownership of the two homes to two companies controlled by Torres between September and December 2017, James said.

"In both instances, the lawful owners never signed the deed nor the supporting documents, and they never gave Francis, Torres, or anyone else, permission to sign on their behalf," she said.

Her spokesman did not immediately identify the defendants' lawyers or say how long they could be sentenced, if found guilty.

Francis is not yet arraigned; Torres was arraigned before Justice Barry Kron in Queens County Supreme Court. 

“This arrest sends a clear message that the City Register is vigilant in the deed recording process to ensure that it is not compromised by criminals who think they can circumvent the law,” said New York City Department of Finance City Register Annette Hill.

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