CENTRAL HARLEM — The wife of a PCP-pushing drug kingpin made a killing when a three-bedroom apartment she bought for $250 from the city in 2004 was sold to a do-gooding tutor 11 years later for $430,000.
That 171,900-percent mark-up is no hallucination.
Nicole McNair-Moultrie, 42, got the net proceeds from the sale of her West 115th Street pad last year, a few months after she was paroled from prison after serving three and a half years for her role in her husband’s criminal enterprise.
McNair-Moultrie’s tidy profit on an apartment that was used in the drug ring didn’t go unnoticed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which put her, her mother and her husband behind bars in 2012.
Prosecutors in the office started a civil forfeiture proceeding against McNair-Moultrie on Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, seeking to freeze her bank account and seize the $430,000, claiming the money should be counted as part of her ill-gotten gains.
In a court filing, Manhattan prosecutors said McNair-Moultrie and her husband, Lamont Moultrie, made their neighbors’ lives hell, using their Harlem apartment’s co-op building as the nerve center of a massive drug operation, even stashing bottles of PCP in the basement laundry room.
“Nicole Moultrie is now out of prison and able to enjoy the fruits of her husband’s drug trade,” prosecutor Lynn Goodman wrote in the civil forfeiture petition.
“Meanwhile, the other tenants who lived at 101 West 115th Street in 2011 had to endure a nightmare," Goodman continued. "Their building stank of PCP. They couldn’t use common storage areas. Lamont Moultrie left angel dust on the washing machine.”
Investigators busted Moultrie’s 35-member drug ring in January 2012 after a 15-month probe. The operation's headquarters was Moultries' co-op building.
Prosecutors said the drug ring took in at least $1.5 million in PCP sales in one year, but believe their profits went well beyond that amount.
When they raided the building, law enforcement agents found 7.3 gallons of PCP worth $4.7 million in a vacant apartment adjacent to McNair-Moultrie’s unit, according to court papers. Investigators also recovered nearly $40,000 in cash in her pad.
Nine months after his arrest, Moultrie pleaded guilty to manslaughter and operating a major drug ring.
McNair-Moultrie pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. Her 74-year-old mother, Doris Smith, who was the co-op board's president, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.
McNair-Moultrie was paroled in November 2014 while Smith was let out of prison in August 2015.
Both McNair-Moultrie and Smith each purchased apartments at 101 W. 115th St. from the city Department of Housing and Preservation Development for $250 in 2004. The HPD program sought to encourage home ownership in Harlem by selling and renovating city-owned properties.
Records show that in January 2015 the co-op board sold McNair-Moultrie’s apartment for $430,000 to a teacher in an East Harlem tutoring program who once worked with the blind. The profits from the sale were subsequently handed over to McNair-Moultrie.
Apartments in the HPD program can be sold for any price but the buyer's income cannot be higher than 120 percent of the area's average median income. The seller also must pay a 30-percent flip tax on the sale price. That money is returned to the co-op to fund the building's reserve account.
The co-op board sold Smith’s apartment for $475,000 in April 2015. However, the profits from the sale never made it to Smith. They have been held in an escrow account after the board inquired with the Manhattan DA’s office whether she owed any money for her crimes.
The DA’s office subsequently filed a forfeiture proceeding against Smith in October.
Smith’s lawyer, D. Andrew Marshall, did not respond to a request for comment.
In her filing this week, Goodman said it appeared McNair-Moultrie had already spent some of the money from the sale, buying a $43,325 Jeep last spring with a cashier’s check.
The filing asked that judge freeze McNair-Moultrie’s bank account to prevent any more splurging.
“It is reasonable to conclude that upon learning of the district attorney’s efforts to forfeit her property, Nicole will take steps to hide her assets and make them unavailable for forfeiture,” Goodman wrote.