DOJ Secures Guilty Pleas For Real Estate Crimes

Federal agencies have pleaded guilty on cases where a city building inspector, a Brooklyn attorney, and Eric Malley (pictured), CEO of a real estate investment firm (Getty, iStock) have pleaded guilty.

When the city’s Department of Construction inspector Francesco Ginestri visited a construction site in Queens last summer, he was there to make a deal. The contractor had been given an order to stop work, but Ginestri promised that a large fine could be avoided in return for a cash payment – a bakery would be the delivery point. Instead, federal authorities in February accused Ginestri of soliciting a bribe.

On May 19, the now former inspector pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to soliciting and receiving bribes. Ginestri’s case was one of three admissions of guilty real estate crime issued by the Justice Department in New York this month.

Here are the cases:

Boil a scheme

As part of its plan, authorities said Ginestri had advised a contractor at its Queens site in July that the company could face a $ 25,000 fine for violating work stoppage. Or they could reach an agreement. Ginestri asked the worker to deliver $ 1,200 in cash to a bakery owned by a friend, federal prosecutors said. The worker asked if he could pay later, and he and Ginestri discussed the bribe over a series of phone calls. The employee had alerted the authorities at this point and the calls were recorded.

Ginestri resigned from his position on the day he was arrested in February. His attorney did not immediately return a request for comment after the confession of guilt.

The house fin

Brooklyn attorney Shimon Rosenfeld promised investors high returns on a home flipping program. But prosecutors instead say Rosenfeld used investor money to buy stocks through his brokerage account. The DOJ accused him of defrauding investors for at least $ 6 million.

Acting US attorney Mark Lesko said Rosenfeld “cheated on his investors,” adding, “The only thing he turned around was investing millions in his own personal bank accounts.”

Rosenfeld pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court in Brooklyn on May 20. His lawyers did not immediately return a request for comment.

Fund fraud

The CEO of a New York real estate investment firm pleaded guilty on May 20 of a number of securities frauds in a case in which federal prosecutors defrauded numerous $ 58 million investors.

According to authorities, Eric Malley had attracted investors by promising a stake in “debt-free” residential properties in Manhattan. Your money would be invested through two successful funds he operated.

But Malley actually used investor money to build those funds, prosecutors said. Malley told investors that his company, MG Capital Management, would buy debt-free luxury units and then rent them out to corporate tenants. Instead, Malley used the money to mortgage properties with individual tenants. The fund suffered millions in losses that Malley did not disclose for two years. As a result, many of the investors lost their retirement savings, the authorities said.

Malley’s attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.

Contact Keith Larsen