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Long IslandCrime

Sea Cliff man pleads guilty to forging dead woman's identity

A Sea Cliff man pleaded guilty Monday to mail fraud after he forged a dead woman’s will, had her cremated and transferred almost all her assets, about $1.2 million, into his accounts, federal officials said.

John Derounian, 53, also pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and faces up to 20 years in prison on each count, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District.

Derounian claimed that on Nov. 12, 2015, he found the body of his tenant, Marilyn Mosberg-Shapiro, 77, a lawyer and a retired judge.

Some time between November 2015 and his arrest in June 2016, Derounian forged her will, naming himself the executor of her estate and sole beneficiary of all her assets, except for a $30,000 donation to a charity, officials said.

Using the woman’s email account, her driver’s license, cellphone and other information, Derounian pretended to be her and got about $242,000 in her bank and IRA funds transferred to him in January 2016, court documents said. He had her cremated and sold her house in June 2016, getting just under $1 million, the indictment said.

At his home, authorities later found about 50 images of child pornography on computers and other electronic devices.

Derounian — who had served more than 20 years in prison for the 1983 murder of a Sea Cliff jeweler — was being held for his sentencing.

His attorney could not be immediately reached Monday night. Nassau police said the homicide squad does not have a case on Derounian.

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