Landlord Converted 2-Family Building Into 'Fire Trap' 9-Family Home: DA
ASTORIA — A Queens landlord was indicted Monday for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from prospective tenants for rent on apartments that were deemed uninhabitable after the space was illegally converted into a nine-family building, according to the Queens District Attorney's office.
Hinyoung Limtung, 55, is facing charges for allegedly pocketing $44,050 from would-be renters for apartments at 31-70 Crescent St., near Broadway, in Astoria — despite the fact that a vacate order had been issued at the property for unsafe and illegal conditions.
According to the Queens DA, the Department of Buildings had issued the vacate order in December of 2012 after an inspection found the two-family building had been illegally converted into a five-family building, and that the first and second floors had no sprinkler system and no secondary means of egress.
A second inspection of the building in February of 2013 found tenants still living at site, despite the vacate order, and that the property had been illegally converted again, this time into a nine-family dwelling, the Queens DA said.
Officials say Limtung collected rent from 10 prospective tenants between December 2012 and April 2013, despite the vacate order.
“The defendant is accused of flagrantly ignoring a Buildings Department order to vacate the premises. Instead, it is alleged, he took large amounts of money from at least 10 individuals for illegal apartments that were uninhabitable fire traps," Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement.
"This is a serious matter and the defendant, if guilty, must face the consequences of his actions," he said.
Lintung is facing charges of grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, scheme to defraud, reckless endangerment and petit larceny, the DA's office said.
A lawyer for Limtung did not immediately respond to a call for comment.