Legal Analysts

Showing posts with label fraud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fraud. Show all posts

Monday, January 10, 2022

Suffolk County Renters: BEWARE!

Suffolk County renters: BEWARE! Those looking to rent in Suffolk County, New York should proceed with caution when searching for a rental home. 

In an effort to protect Suffolk County tenant/residents from rental fraud, the County Legislature has amended Local Law No. 30-2021. Rental fraud is committed when a person or entity leases a residential or commercial property to another, when that person or entity does not have an ownership interest in the property or authorization from the owner to lease the property. Properties that are vacant or foreclosed upon are typically the kinds of properties that are used for rental fraud. 

The law now states that "persons seeking to rent or lease real property MAY [emphasis added] demonstrate ... ownership interest or authorization to rent, lease or sublet real property." Ownership interest for real property can be demonstrated to a potential tenant via a fully signed and valid deed or a fully signed lease agreement. Similarly, a person can demonstrate they have authorization from the property owner to rent or lease the property by providing a potential tenant with proof of agency. 

The problem with this new law is that the Legislature does not actually require those looking to lease out their real property to prove that they are indeed the owner of the property. If the Legislature actually wants to protect potential tenants from rental fraud, they need to revise this law immediately and require that persons seeking to rent out real property provide proof of ownership or agency authorization incident to such rental.

Those who commit rental fraud and are caught will face penalties subject to a fine of up to $1,000.00 and/or up to six months imprisonment. Do you think the punishment fits the crime? 

In the meantime, potential tenants can and should take additional steps to protect themselves where the Legislature has fallen short. As rental fraud has become a hot topic in Suffolk, potential tenants should do their research, as well as request proof of ownership from those who are leasing properties. If a lessor refuses or cannot provide proof of ownership or agency authorization, it may be best to continue the house hunt.

Monday, December 27, 2021

eSignature Impersonations are Criminal - It's About Time!

As a Christmas Present, New York State caught up with the times and updated the Penal Law to make impersonating another by electronic signature illegal. 

That makes sense. 

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Is there a Connection Between the Back-to-Back News of NYS AG Letitia James Subpoenaing Trump for a Deposition and Her Decision to Stay as AG Instead of Campaigning for Governor?

News dropped on 2 different fronts within the hour about NYS AG Letitia James. 

First, we learned that the AG plans to subpoena Trump for a deposition early next year to question him about whether the Trump Organization manipulated its real estate valuation, as part of NYS' civil fraud investigation.

Then, we learned that the AG would rather stay AG rather than run for Governor.

Are those 2 news events connected?

It sure seems like a strong possibility. 

To get there, you need to understand that attorneys generally have all the evidence that they need before conducting a deposition. The point of a deposition, questioning a witness under oath, is to lock the witness' testimony so that the witness cannot later take an alternative position at trial. We are often misled to believe that a deposition is about uncovering evidence, but that is rarely the point of a deposition. Instead, it is about boxing a witness in so that a trial attorney can direct a show for a jury while pulling the witness' puppet strings to perform just the way that the attorney wants. As a result, no matter how a witness testifies at a deposition, it works for the attorney. If a witness plays dumb at a deposition, and they claim not to remember / recall anything, it is not bad for the deposing attorney's case, it just makes that witness that much easier to manipulate at trial.

Now, to connecting the dots. Why would AG Letitia James suspend her campaign for Governor and announce she wants to stay the NYS AG within the same hour? Perhaps, because she has evidence that will put the former President dead to rights.