Attorney General James Announces Indictment Of Two Long Island Men For Deed Theft Of Two Residential Properties

Andy Francis and Frank Torres are alleged to have stolen the Brooklyn and Queens homes belonging to the heirs of a recently deceased Queens resident

BROOKLYN – Attorney General Letitia James today announced the indictment of Andy Francis, 62, of Elmont, Long Island, and Frank Torres, 60, of Dix Hills, Long Island, for filing two fraudulent deeds and supporting documents with the New York City Register’s Office in order to fraudulently acquire ownership of two separate residential homes, one in Brooklyn and one in Queens. Francis and Torres are each charged with two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony. Additionally, Francis is charged with twelve counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree and Torres is charged with ten counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the first Degree, a class E felony. Francis is yet to be arraigned. Torres was arraigned today before Justice Barry Kron in Queens County Supreme Court.

“No homeowner should have to fear theft of their home from scam artists,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “Too often, we see cases where individuals file false documents, forge signatures, and steal deeds from rightful owners. We will do everything in our power to hold these unscrupulous individuals accountable.”

“The Sheriff’s Office takes the threat of deed fraud very seriously and will continue to work jointly with the Attorney General to pursue and arrest those who not only commit deed-related crimes, but, as a result, put law-abiding citizens at risk for losing their homes, said New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito.”

“This arrest sends a clear message that the City Register is vigilant in the deed recording process to ensure that it is not compromised by criminals who think they can circumvent the law,” said New York City Department of Finance City Register Annette Hill.”

As alleged in the indictment and statements made at the arraignment in Queens County Supreme Court, between September and December 2017, Francis and Torres illegally transferred ownership of 224-15 138th Avenue, Laurelton, Queens, and 34 East 95th Street, Brownsville, Brooklyn, from the lawful owners to two companies controlled by Torres, by recording a deed and five supporting documents containing forged signatures with the New York City Register’s Office.

In both instances, the lawful owners never signed the deed nor the supporting documents and they never gave Francis, Torres, or anyone else, permission to sign on their behalf.

The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigator Angel LaPorte under the supervision of Deputy Chief John McManus. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Investigator John Reidy.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Don Nguyen and Nazy Modiri, under the supervision of Real Estate Enforcement Unit Chief Travis Hill. Legal Support Analyst Allen George is assisting in the prosecution. Financial analysis was conducted by Audit Investigator Marcos Perez, under the supervision of Chief Auditor Edward Keegan, Jr., and Deputy Chief Auditor Sandy Bizzarro of the Forensic Audit Section. The Criminal Justice Division is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado.

The Attorney General thanks the New York City Sheriff’s Office and the New York City Register’s Office for their assistance on this matter.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.