From NYS Attorney General's Office
The New York State Attorney General’s Office has announced that real estate attorney Eduard Fridman of Brooklyn has pleaded guilty to securities fraud.
Fridman admitted in state Supreme Court in Manhattan to forging six condominium plan acceptance letters from the Attorney General’s Real Estate Finance Bureau and filing certain of them with the New York City Department of Finance.
The forged documents allowed Fridman’s clients, the condo developers, to sell apartments to the public while evading the Attorney General’s regulatory oversight.
Under an agreed-upon plea deal, Fridman, 36, will surrender his law license and pay the state $100,000 in civil penalties, fees and costs. In addition, Fridman has accepted a permanent injunction from working in the securities or condominium businesses in New York and faces five years’ probation.
“It’s shocking that a member of the bar would forge the signatures of attorneys in my office to fraudulently sell condominiums to the public,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. "The real estate lawyers and professionals in my office are here to protect condominium and co-op buyers from fraud, and it will remain our priority to prosecute unscrupulous lawyers like Fridman who undermine the public trust with false filings and forgeries."
Fridman, pleaded guilty before New York Supreme Court Justice Melissa C. Jackson to one count of felony securities fraud, a Class E felony, under New York's securities law. By law, an attorney who commits a felony in New York is automatically disbarred for a period of at least seven years.
Fridman admitted to forging the six letters purported to be issued by four assistant attorneys general working in the Real Estate Finance Bureau. He submitted three of the forgeries to the Department of Finance in order to establish tax lots for the apartments that were to be sold to the public. It is unlawful for a developer to market or sell condominiums in New York without a condominium plan acceptance letter issued by the bureau.
The other three letters were sent to his clients. Rather than submitting proper plans to the Attorney General’s Office, Fridman forged the acceptance letters in order to create the appearance that they were in complete compliance with the law.
The forged documents relate to the following condominiums in Brooklyn: 282 Troy Ave., 26 and 28 Bay 50th St., 137 St. Nicholas Ave. and 2830 West 16th St.
Fridman’s scheme was discovered in December 2012, when one of the developments changed hands and the counsel for the new developer submitted one of the forgeries to the bureau. Fridman's forgeries were designed to create 88 illegal residential condo units. Eleven of these units were sold, and Attorney General Schneiderman’s office has taken corrective measures to ensure that homeowners in these developments still have legal title to their apartments.