B'Klyn House 'Theft'
By Alex Ginsberg
New York Post [New York]
December 28, 2006
A devious cabal that included a pedophile rabbi stole a half-million-dollar home from a cancer-stricken woman, using a forged power of attorney to sell it and pocket the profits, Brooklyn prosecutors charged yesterday.
According to investigators, Margaret Franklin's Crown Heights home was stolen in August 2004 after Nathen Farkas, 31, forged a power of attorney, signing Franklin's name, that effectively handed control of her assets to co-defendant Russell Pitt.
The power of attorney was notarized by a third defendant, Jerry Brauner, 53, a rabbi who had been on probation since 2002 for the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old boy.
Pitt then "sold" the property to the fourth defendant, Winston Roche, 59, and a $476,000 mortgage was split among Roche, Pitt and Farkas.
"Margaret Franklin never got a nickel," said Assistant DA Michael Vaccaro. "Then she died."
Farkas was ordered held in lieu of $85,000 bail and Roche on $45,000. Pitt is still at large.
Brauner was held in lieu of $85,000 bail for lying about prior sex-abuse convictions when he applied for his notary's license.
Lawyers for the three men arraigned yesterday denied that their clients knew anything sinister was going on, suggesting Pitt was the mastermind.
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