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  • 1010WINS

    Alleged squatter faces 18 charges for illegally occupying Queens home, changing locks, forging docs: DA

    By 1010 Wins Newsroom,

    2024-05-14

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4Dgnx9_0t1vQ0Ku00

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS/WCBS 880) – A man was indicted on Monday after he illegally occupied a home in Jamaica and forged leasing documents to pose as a legal tenant, even filing a lawsuit against the property's rightful owner, prosecutors said.

    Lance White-Hunt, 24, is being charged with burglary, identity theft, attempted grand larceny and other crimes, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced.

    “You cannot claim rights to a home that you have entered illegally. My office will not allow individuals to capitalize on the confusion surrounding squatters’ rights for their own personal gain,” Katz said.

    In February, 2024, a broker from Top Nest Properties listed the home on Lakewood Avenue for rent. The broker, who frequently visited the site, said that it remained secured and vacant. However, on March 1, the broker found that the locks on the front door leading to the studio unit had been changed, according to the indictment.

    On March 4, she also found that the locks to the upstairs unit had been changed and saw White-Hunt inside the residence, prosecutors said.

    After White-Hunt claimed to have been residing there since January, and presented what he alleged were legitimate lease documents with the broker and Top Nest Properties listed as the landlords, the broker noted that her signature had been forged.

    Further investigation revealed that the utility bills White-Hunt provided as proof of residence were also fabricated, with National Grid and AT&T confirming the account numbers did not exist.

    On March 14, White-Hunt filed a lawsuit against the homeowner's LLC, the broker, and Top Next Properties, alleging an illegal lockout. However, this lawsuit was discontinued after the lease he filed in the civil court was also found to be forged.

    Following an extensive investigation, White-Hunt was arrested on May 13.

    White-Hunt was arraigned on an 18-count indictment charging him with burglary, criminal possession of a forged instrument, five counts of identity theft, attempted grand larceny, attempted criminal possession of stolen property, offering a false instrument for filing, tampering with physical evidence, three counts of criminal mischief, petit larceny,  and two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument.

    If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

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