May 17, 2016
By Tara Jessup
New York, NY – Steven Croman, a major New York City landlord with more than 140 apartment buildings across Manhattan, surrendered on multiple felony charges for his role in an alleged scheme to fraudulently obtain several multi-million dollar refinancing loans between 2012 and 2014.
In addition, Croman was named in a civil suit filed by the Attorney General’s office for allegedly engaging in illegal, fraudulent real-estate business. Croman has been forcing rent-regulated tenants out of their apartments to convert their apartments into highly profitable market-rate units.
“My message to unscrupulous landlords is simple: if you put your own profits over your tenants’ legal protections, we will investigate you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office will not tolerate anyone who attempts to line their own pockets by gaming the system. No one is above the law – no matter how rich or powerful.”
Based on an extensive investigation by the Attorney General’s office, Croman allegedly submitted false mortgage documents to New York Community Bank and Capital One Bank, including rent rolls that falsely reflected market rate rents for units that were actually occupied by rent-stabilized tenants. Croman also allegedly inflated the amount of rent charged for certain commercial spaces in his buildings in an effort to show greater rental income. Croman allegedly falsified these rent rolls in order to inflate the annual rental income of his buildings, upon which his refinancing terms are partially based. All told, over a three-year period, Croman allegedly received more than $45 million in loans under these false pretenses.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said, “There was a time when tenant harassment by landlords and their agents was only tackled in housing court. For justice to be served and for tenants to be righteously protected, criminal and civil wrongdoing that harasses rent regulated tenants demands the weight of a prosecutorial solution. When allegations surface that landlords are stalking tenants to compel fraudulent buyouts, we need stronger remedies.”