Joseph Makhani indicted for stealing two brownstones worth $4.7M leaving 81-year-old homeless’ In a startling case of real estate fraud, a man named Joseph Makhani from New York, is facing serious criminal allegations after allegedly conning his way into owning two valuable Harlem brownstones, now worth a staggering $4.7M. The real owner, 81, has been forced to live in a homeless shelter.
Joseph Makhani indicted for stealing two brownstones worth $4.7M leaving 81-year-old homeless
Makhani has been indicted and arraigned for his involvement in stealing two properties located on West 118th Street and West 131st Street. The alleged scheme, dating back to 2012, is said to have involved the use of forged documents and the manipulation of shell companies to conceal and execute the thefts.
After an investigation by my office, Joseph Makhani has been indicted for stealing two Harlem brownstones through deed theft and mortgage fraud.— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) July 8, 2021
Makhani claimed to have paid only $10 for each home, and they are now valued at $2.29M and $1.9M.
Who is Joseph Makhani?
Makhani is a 60-year-old real esate agent from Kings Point, Long Island. According to New York Attorney General Letitia James, Makhani falsely claimed to have paid only $10 for each of the properties, based on New York state real estate tax filings. However, in reality, the two brownstones had a combined estimated value of over $4.7M, per the NY Post.
Accused real estate conman Joseph Makhani back in court https://t.co/nO5jyM2Rx1— Please Join #Mastodon! Mstdn.Social/@JClickbaited (@JClickbaited) July 30, 2023
The owner of the house now lives in a homeless shelter
Makhani’s fraudulent actions had severe consequences. As a result of his scheme, octagenarian Veronica Palmer, who is the true owner of one of the properties valued at approximately $2.9M, was forced to live in a homeless shelter. Authorities and family members have been unable to contact Palmer, raising concerns about her well-being. Palmer’s younger brother, John Jackson, 78, disclosed that he believed his sister had been battling mental illness for decades and insisted that she would never have willingly sold off the brownstone. “We’re concerned about Ronnie and finding her,” Jackson said.
Jackson shared Palmer’s heartbreaking struggles over the years. He revealed that Palmer had consistently refused help from both family members and mental health professionals after losing her home to Makhani in 2012. At one point, her living conditions deteriorated to such an extent that she was living without essential utilities like heat, water and electricity. This dire situation eventually led her to seek refuge in a Brooklyn homeless shelter, per Daily Mail.
Joseph Makhani could face up to 25 years of jail time
Makhani reportedly attempted to evict the tenants in the second building, causing them significant stress and confusion. During his arraignment at the New York County Supreme Court, Makhani entered a not guilty plea to two counts of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. If convicted, he faces between eight and 25 years in a state prison.
“Shameless deed thieves like Joseph Makhani target vulnerable homeowners and steal their most valuable and personal asset,” said Attorney General James, adding, “This crime harms entire communities, especially those facing population displacement and gentrification. The fear and confusion unleashed on New Yorkers when they learn their homes have been stolen out from under them is something no one should have to endure. I will continue my efforts to address deed theft and hold people like Joseph Makhani accountable.”