2008_12_dnesb.jpgThe Daily News has a clever little cover story today about how the tabloid "stole" the Empire State Building. Inspired by the Brooklyn DA's increasing number of deed fraud prosecutions, reporters decided to try the scam, which involves drawing up fake documents, making a bogus notary stamp and filing paperwork with the city to transfer the deed to the property. Grifters use the fraudulent deed to take out big mortgages, then disappear.

About an hour after filing the fraudulent documents Monday, the city register office—which doesn't require clerks to verify the information—approved the transfer of the $2 billion property from Empire State Land Associates to Nelots Properties LLC. The News giddily notes that Nelots is "stolen" spelled backward, their paperwork listed King Kong star Fay Wray as a witness, and famous bank robber Willie Sutton as notary. Very cute.

However, instead of taking out a lucrative mortgage on the property and solidifying their grip on a dying industry for a few more months, the paper returned the building to its rightful owners on Tuesday. Squares!

But thanks for sharing; who wants to get together and take over the building housing Love Saves the Day? Seems like a cinch, according to the article. In fact, the one item city employees do check is the notary stamp, but a lawyer tells the News, "They don't check to see if it's real, but they do check to see if it's there."