Landlord Indicted for Mortgage Fraud Scheme at 43 Essex Street, Faces 25 Years
The dominoes continue to fall…
Local landlord Dean Galasso was indicted yesterday for six felony charges in a scheme to fraudulently obtain a multi-million dollar mortgage to buy 43 Essex Street (formerly home to G&S Sporting Goods), Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced.
He’s being charged with submitting bogus documents to a bank, including a phony rent roll, to secure a $5 million mortgage to purchase the Lower East Side tenement. Galasso allegedly forged leases for several apartments in the ten-unit rent stabilized building to support the false information in the rent roll. This info was then used to mislead the bank that he’d be making enough to justify the loan.
Galasso, 49, faces one count of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a Class B Felony, two counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, Class D Felonies, two counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, Class D Felonies, and one count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a Class E Felony. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
This indictment resulted from an investigation led by the two-year-old Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force.
“Bad landlords are now on notice: if you attempt to break the law, we will find you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” Schneiderman said in a public statement. “Our task force will continue to identify, investigate, and prosecute those who try to game the system.”
“These felony charges should serve as a reminder to bad landlords in the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and throughout my Council District that fraud and tenant abuse come with serious consequences, including jail time,” said Councilwoman Margaret Chin. “I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for leading this joint state and city effort to hold this landlord, and others seeking to game the system, accountable for their actions.”
There was also a civil suit against Galasso that settled back in December. As previously reported, residents filed the lawsuit two years prior, after the landlord assumed a campaign of harassment, deploying myriad deplorable strategies including hiring tenant relocator Michel Pimienta. All this with the same old end game of making lives intolerable (e.g. no cooking gas for a year), and forcing out the rent regulated.