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Forger Sentenced for Stealing and Then Selling Brooklyn Properties, DA Says

 Prosecutors said Carl Smith stole several properties in Fort Greene and Bedford-Stuyvesant by forging deeds and pretending to be a lawyer, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Carl Smith stole several properties in Fort Greene and Bedford-Stuyvesant by forging deeds and pretending to be a lawyer, prosecutors said.
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Brooklyn District Attorney's Office

FORT GREENE — A judge sentenced a Brooklyn man to nine to 18 years in prison for stealing and selling multiple properties in Fort Greene and Bedford-Stuyvesant, prosecutors said.

Carl Smith, 50, forged deeds and pretended to be an attorney so he could sell or try to sell the properties to different buyers, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.

In one case he sold an empty lot twice and, in another, he received bids of more than $1 million on a home, prosecutors said.

Smith, who lives on Lafayette Avenue, first stole a lot at 45 Lewis Ave. in Bed-Stuy in February 2011 by filing a backdated deed with the forged signature of the man who bought the lot in 1999, according to prosecutors.

Once he was granted ownership, Smith sold the property twice — once in March 2011 to the owner of an adjacent laundromat for $12,000, and again in April 2011 for $11,000, prosecutors said.

In April 2011, Smith stole a three-story Brownstone at 139 Vanderbilt Ave. in Fort Greene, prosecutors said. 

The home was owned by Dolores Teel, who died in 2001, and it was passed on to her family members following her death, prosecutors said.

But Smith filed a deed backdated to a time before her death and forged her signature to gain ownership of the house, according to prosecutors.

When Smith tried to sell the property, he received several bids from potential buyers — some for more than $1 million — but he wasn’t able to produce a valid title to complete the sale, prosecutors said.

In October 2012, Smith negotiated to sell a multi-family home at 64 Hart St. in Bed-Stuy by pretending to be the owner’s attorney and forging her signature on documents, prosecutors said. The home belonged to Mary Brown and her daughter had inherited it when she died in 1994, prosecutors said. 

Smith pocketed $20,000 and other fees from an investor after giving him a fake contract of sale and deed, prosecutors said.

Smith was indicted and arrested in 2013 and was later charged in a separate 2014 indictment in relation to the property on Lewis Avenue, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said Smith also sold a two-story home at 543 Lexington Ave. in Bed-Stuy in May 2003 by forging and backdating a deed, but he was not charged in that case.

He then sold the home to an associate and tried to evict the owner, Jerome Farrell, who lived there until he died in February 2015, according to prosecutors.

“This defendant shamefully stole houses and other property from their rightful owners by using forged documents, engaging in deceit and committing outright fraud,” DA Ken Thompson said.  

“He did so solely to exploit the lucrative real estate market in Brooklyn. And now he will spend many years in prison where scammers like him belong."

Smith was convicted of grand larceny, offering a false instrument for filing, criminal possession of a forged instrument and unlawful practice of the law on May 23, prosecutors said.

He faced mandatory jail time for the conviction due to numerous prior felonies, prosecutors said.