Articles Posted in Grand Larceny by Residential Mortgage Fraud

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Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos have struck another blow against alleged criminal disorder in the great City of New York. Led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., prosecutors believe that Abacus Federal Savings Bank and eleven former employees were the central platform behind the sale of fraudulent loans to Fannie Mae. Not merely one or two loans, prosecutors contend these men and women perpetrated a false document mortgage fraud scheme involving sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Beyond the eleven individuals arrested in this scheme and the indictment of Abacus Bank, eight other former employees have already pleaded guilty to various felony offenses.

Among other crimes, the 184 count indictment against Abacus Bank and her eleven former employees charges Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree (New York Penal Law 187.25), Residential Mortgage Fraud in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 187.20), Grand Larceny in the First Degree (New York Penal Law 155.42, Second Degree Grand Larceny (New York Penal Law 155.40) and Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (New York Penal Law 175.10). The most serious of these offenses, NY PL 187.25 and NY PL 155.42, are “B” felonies that require a minimum of one to three and a maximum of eight and one third to twenty five years in prison post conviction. The “C” felonies of NY PL 155.40 and NY PL 187.20 do not have mandatory terms of incarceration for first time felony offenders, but carry a maximum sentence of five to fifteen years in prison. NY PL 175.10 is an “E” felony with a potential punishment of up to four years in state custody.

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As an experienced New York criminal defense attorney serving Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and the surrounding counties such as Westchester, I am routinely confronted with legal question surrounding New York Grand Larceny crimes and other New York larceny laws and theft laws. In today’s blog post I want to address one of the more ‘weird’ legal situations that arises when a joint property owners “steals” commonly owned property from the other party he or she shares ownership.

To avoid confusion at the outset, let’s pause a moment and allow me to share a little Legal Property 101. Under the common law, there are different types of ownership rights one can have in property. Obviously the most basic is full ownership by a single person. However, more than one person may own one piece of property. When referring to land (real property) we usually call this a concurrent estate or co-tenancy. Now, there are different subsets of concurrent estates that vary in different jurisdictions, but their definition and consequences on ownership rights go beyond what we need to know here. For purposes of our discussion, when I refer to “joint” or “common” ownership of property I mean property over which each individual owner has an equal and undivided right of possession in that property. Each owner is entitled to have and use the property. It does not matter if that property is a car, bank account or computer.

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