What to Know
- A Queens man is accused of conning a 101-year-old neighborhood friend into transferring the deed of his home into his name, authorities said
- Ricardo Bentham, 58, was charged Thursday with second-degree grand larceny and other crimes
- His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 21; If convicted, Bentham could face up to 15 years in prison
A Queens man is accused of conning a 101-year-old neighborhood friend into transferring the deed of his long-time home into his name, authorities announced.
Ricardo Bentham, 58, was charged Thursday with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of stolen property, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree offering a false instrument in connection to the alleged crime which took place in 2017.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, who called the incident "troublesome," Bentham submitted a quitclaim deed to be filed with the city on Oct. 5, 2017. The document allegedly stated that 101-year-old Woodrow Washington was transferring ownership of his home, which was valued at more than $50,000, to Bentham for $0.
According to the complaint filed, the centenarian did not realize anything was wrong until he received a letter from the Department of Finance saying that the deed to his home was transferred to Bentham.
An inquiry conducted with the New York City Automated Register Information System alleged revealed that the document filed has the signature of Washington with a notary stamp and signature of a notary.
According to prosecutors, Washington claimed the signature was his, but was adamant that he never signed any documents in front of a notary.
Theodore White, a 93-year-old notary, who was questioned by authorities, allegedly said he often signed documents brought to him by Bentham because he trusted him. However, White said the document bearing his signature was missing the notary seal, which he always added to a document, prosecutors say.
Washington allegedly identified Bentham as a neighborhood friend who offered to help him collect rent from his tenants and said he recalled signing documents that Bentham brought to his residence and that some of the forms were blank.
Bentham was released on his own recognizance. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 21.
If convicted, Bentham could face up to 15 years in prison.
Attorney information for Bentham was not immediately clear.