An elderly Manhattan woman says that a con artist has stolen her familial Queens home with a fake deed. Film critic Jennifer Merin tells the Post today all about how ex-con Darrell Beatty, 49, and his two sons managed to illegally occupy the three-bedroom Tudor in Laurelton, Queens last February.
"That case is what changed the dynamic in the Department of Finance of how we process deed transfers," city Sheriff Joseph Fucito, whose office investigates deed fraud, told them. "The old policy was designed to be customer friendly. It’s very hard to be customer friendly and super vigilant at the same time,”
Merin says the row house on 141st Avenue has been in her family since 1931; her mother and her siblings were all raised there. She says she inherited it several decades ago after her mother died, and has never rented it: "The house was maintained basically as a sanctuary to my family," she noted, adding that she has paid all taxes, insurance and utilities on the property since.
After noticing a higher water bill last February, she discovered Beatty and his sons, Darrell Kash Beatty, 25, and DeShaun Beatty, 22, had occupied the home and changed the locks, throwing most of her families belongings into the garage. The Post writes of the scam:
Merin and her lawyer soon unearthed a deed transfer filed by Darrell Beatty, claiming he obtained the house in March 2013 from an “Edith Moore.” But the address given for Moore does not exist.
The phone number for Beatty listed on the deed was answered by the voice mail of a “Tony,” and messages were not returned.
There was no mention of Merin or her grandparents, the original owners, on the transfer form.
Merin contacted the Finance Department, which oversees the city register. Officials confirmed the 2013 deed transfer was fraudulent and updated the deed with Merin’s name on June 4.
It seems since this case came to light over the summer, the department has added several new policies to combat deed fraud (and clerical errors); Fucito said at least 100 deeds impacting 300 properties are now being investigated as possible frauds.
But Merin is still waiting to get her case settled. Although a court ordered that the Beattys should be evicted in August, it was stayed due to the father's health problems.