A longtime Brooklyn homeowner who says he is a victim of deed theft and faces eviction is scheduled to appear before a judge in Brooklyn Housing Court on Friday.

Ray Cortez, a former cabdriver, says he is fearful that he’ll be kicked out of the three-story townhouse near the Barclays Center that he and his first wife bought in 1969 for about $20,000. The property’s value has since ballooned upwards of $2 million.

“I am now 88 years old – very hard to start again,” said Cortez, who has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

Cortez, who purchased the townhouse on the tree-lined street between Park Slope and Boerum Hill shortly after emigrating from Peru, has been living with the threat of eviction since 2015, when he says he first learned that he was no longer the property owner.

Justin Jose Lim of the Legal Aid Society, which is representing Cortez in the eviction matter, said the case is on track to go to trial, but a housing court judge on Friday could give them more time to try and shore up evidence to get it dismissed.

Working in Cortez’s favor, Lim added, is a shortage of housing court judges and mounting eviction cases that were largely paused during the height of the pandemic, slowing down proceedings.

“I do, though, still have faith that good forces will prevail and there will be some justice,” said Cortez’s son, Ray Cortez Jr. “It's very unfair for him to lose the house that he worked so hard for.”

According to Cortez and his lawyers, he was duped into giving up ownership of his home by a man he met through church shortly before the financial crisis of 2008 — a time when fraud was a persistent feature of the city’s housing market and cases of deed theft were relatively common.

Because of his dementia, the exact details of what transpired are hazy for Cortez. But according to his son and attorneys, Cortez signed several documents with the guidance of his church friend Wilson Calle, thinking he was applying for loans that never materialized, and unknowingly signed over his deed.

Calle introduced Cortez to Arelia Taveras, a Queens-based lawyer who drew up paperwork returning the deed ownership to Cortez, which was never filed. Calle served time in prison after he was convicted in two separate tax fraud cases. Taveras also served prison time after she pleaded guilty to stealing money from her client in a separate case and was disbarred.

In court documents, Calle has denied the allegations. His attorney and Taveras did not respond to requests for comment.

In the years that followed, multiple court battles have been waged to stop the foreclosure of the townhouse and to show that Cortez is its rightful owner.

Some of those efforts failed.

The bank sold the townhouse at a foreclosure sale in 2018 for $2 million to a Long Island-based company, Chai 91 St. Marks Pl PLC LLC, according to court records. The landlords associated with the company have nearly two dozen other properties throughout the city, records show.

The company went to court to have Cortez evicted so it could take possession of the property.

Justice Lisa Ottley – who had prevented the company from going ahead with the eviction case since 2019 – gave them the greenlight to proceed last month.

In her written decision, Ottley said she has seen no evidence that the company took part in the alleged fraud or had reason to know that the property was transferred fraudulently.

“The court is very sympathetic towards Mr. Cortez’s plight. At this stage in his life, Mr. Cortez should be enjoying the fruits of his labor throughout the years, without fear of homelessness,” Ottley wrote. “However, based on applicable law, this court’s hands are tied.”

But Cortez’s attorneys, Bill Lienhard and Adam Grumbach, said they plan to appeal Ottley’s ruling.

The attorneys also plan to raise several defenses to help Cortez demonstrate he is the rightful owner of his house.

“Ray Cortez owns the building. He has a deed. He's lived there since 1969,” Lienhard said.

“Through this bizarre set of circumstances, he's actually retaken title to his own house through adverse possession,” Lienhard added. Adverse possession is a legal principle in which an individual who believes they have a right to occupy a piece of property does so and gains title and ownership of that land after a certain period.

An attorney for the limited liability company did not respond to a request for comment.

“I trust in God and I think he can help me,” Cortez said. “What I am looking for is to get back my house.”