Just yesterday I blogged about a Grand Larceny involving seventeen tons of batteries in Queens. While that may have been a first, again in my years as a prosecutor and New York City criminal defense attorney, I have again come across another unique Grand Larceny crime. According to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, Thomas Parkin has been indicted by a Grand Jury on a 47 count indictment. He is charged with Grand Larceny in the First Degree, Forgery, Criminal Impersonation and other crimes for an alleged scheme where he dressed up as his deceased 77 year old mother to steal a Park Slope townhouse, social security benefits, and social service payments. Mhilton Rimolo is also charged in the indictment as well for his assistance in allegedly perpetrating the crimes.
As much as I would like to put this incident into my own words, I have attached the press release for my readers’ review. The press release indicates as follows:
“In the 1990s, Irene Prusik (the defendant’s mother) deeded her home, 492 6th Avenue, Park Slope, to her son, Thomas Parkin. At the time, Prusik, Parkin and Prusik’s other son lived in the building. Parkin was unable to maintain ownership, and in January 2003, the building was sold at foreclosure auction.
However, according to the indictment, after Prusik died, in September 2003, the two defendants began filing lawsuits against the new owner, Samir Chopra, in the now deceased Prusik’s name, alleging real estate fraud. They claimed that the deed Chopra had bought at auction was invalid and had actually been forged by Parkin, in the 1990s. The real owner, they claimed, was Irene Prusik.
The defendants received Prusik’s Social Security benefits every month for six years, totaling approximately $52,000, according to the indictment. They are also charged with receiving $65,000 in rental assistance from the city Human Resource Agency, claiming the deceased Irene Prusik was Parkin’s landlord and that he and his brother were unable to pay the rent because of a disability. Rimolo was listed as the property manager.
To initiate the crime, Parkin and Rimolo doctored Prusik’s death certificate, providing a false Social Security Number and date of birth, which made it appear as though she were still alive, according to the indictment. In order to perpetuate the ruse, the defendants went as far as to dress Parkin up as his deceased mother, and visit the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew her driver’s license, where, incidentally, they were captured on surveillance video.
In June 2008, believing Prusik was alive, Chopra came to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to report that he believed Parkin and Prusik had filed false affidavits, in the course of more than five years of lawsuits against him and various bankruptcy filings, to prevent him from evicting them for failure to pay rent for six years.
Coincidentally, unaware prosecutors had already begun an investigation into his actions, Parkin walked into the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office in March of this year, to report to the new Real Estate Fraud Unit that he and his mother were victims. He claimed his mother was the rightful owner of the property and that the new owner had been using illegal forms of coercion and filing false documents in court filings against them, according to the indictment. Prosecutors also met with Rimolo, who identified himself as Prusik’s nephew.
To the investigators’ surprise, Rimolo and Parkin agreed to arrange a meeting with Prusik at the home on 6th Avenue. When prosecutors and detective investigators arrived, they found Parkin dressed as his 77-year-old mother, wearing a red cardigan, lipstick, manicured nails and breathing through an Oxygen tank.”
If convicted of the top charge of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, the defendants face up to 25 years in state prison.