Two Nassau County men illegally transferred the titles of nine houses, taking them from their owners, and then rented out some of the properties and sold others, Brooklyn prosecutors said.
Danny Noble, 45, of 719 Jay Way, in Baldwin, and Romelo Grey, 37, of 352 Randall Ave., in Freeport, were arraigned on various charges Wednesday in Brooklyn, including fourth-degree conspiracy, first-degree criminal possession of stolen property, second-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records.
Noble was ordered held on $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash bail. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Grey was remanded on $25,000 bond or $10,000 cash bail and faces up to 4 years in prison if convicted.
Both are scheduled to return to court Aug. 5.
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said the men were "allegedly able to carry out such a brazen scheme, stealing properties right out from under their owners."
The corporation charged in the indictment, 69 Adelphi Street, llc, faces a fine up to $10,000 if convicted.
The indictment said that between June 29, 2010 and March 31, 2015, the two men falsely transferred title to seven Brooklyn properties: on Carlton Avenue, Vanderbilt Avenue, N. Oxford Street, Clermont Avenue, E. 95th Street, Putnam Avenue and Essex Street; and two properties in Queens: on 108th Street and Liberty Avenue.
Five properties were transferred from the actual homeowners to Noble, according to the indictment; three were transferred to 69 Adelphi Street, llc, and one to a third party.
The defendants allegedly targeted the properties because the owners did not live in the houses and rarely visited them, according to a news release from Thompson's office.
In one instance, according to the indictment, Noble rented out two apartments in a brownstone, collecting $1,500 a month in rent for each. He also allegedly maintained control of the two houses in Queens, renting them out for various amounts.
The scheme began to unravel when an employee in a business across the street from one of the houses saw work being done there; that employee notified the house's true owner, who called police.
As part of the scheme, Noble filed false documents with the New York City Department of Finance, Office of the City Register, which maintains land records and other real property filings in New York City, including records relating to ownership and encumbrances, such as liens and mortgages, the news release said.