New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced today the arrest of Victor Garvin (aka James Gavin) a former property and site manager of the Harry Silver Houses (“HSH”), a state-regulated affordable middle-income housing development in East Flatbush on multiple felony charges, including Grand Larceny and Forgery.
Between July 2016 and February 2020, Garvin, a resident of Queens County, was employed by Marion Scott Real Estate, Inc. (“MSI”), the property management company for the Harry Silver Houses. In his capacity as a site manager at HSH, Garvin is alleged to have defrauded tenants on three occasions, including:
- Collecting $7,053 in cash by the family member of a resident to cover six months of rent, but failing to credit said payments to that resident’s account;
- Collecting a $2,000 deposit for an apartment from a second individual but failing to credit said payments to that individual’s account.
- Collecting $4,000 from a third individual as a "maintenance fee" and to "speed up the process" of obtaining an apartment without ultimately securing an apartment or returning the money.
Moreover, in January and February of 2020, a company owned by Garvin, Plighted Construction, was hired to perform interior renovations within HSH. Not only did Plighted Construction fail to pay its employees $7,450 for the eight weeks of labor expended on this project, Garvin failed to secure workers' compensation insurance at any time during its work.
Following his termination in February 2020 by MSI, Garvin filed for unemployment insurance using fraudulent documents and the personal identifying information of another individual including his social security number.
“New York has a great tradition of setting aside state-regulated cooperative apartments for affordable housing,” said State Inspector General Lucy Lang, whose office investigated the case. “Predatory behavior that undermines New Yorker’s right to live with dignity will never be tolerated. We are committed to working with, and are grateful to our law enforcement partners, including Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, the Office of Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security.”
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly stole from vulnerable New Yorkers, including pocketing wages meant for his own employees as well as taking money from tenants that was supposed to pay rent or secure an apartment. I remain committed to protecting all New Yorkers from this type of conduct and I thank New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang and the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration for their work on this case.”
“The Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of the Inspector (OIG) General will continue to work to protect the integrity of the Social Security number (SSN) and collaborate with our law enforcement partners to investigate those who allegedly steal SSNs and personal identifiers of innocent people for their own profit,” said Sharon MacDermott, Special Agent in Charge, SSA OIG New York Field Division. “I thank the New York State OIG for their efforts in leading this investigation.”
Victor Garvin is charged with Forgery in the Second Degree (3 counts) (PL § 170.10(3)), Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (3 counts) (PL § 170.25), Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (3 Counts) (PL § 155.35(1)), Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (1 Count) (PL § 155.30(1)), Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (1 Count) (PL § 175.10), Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (2 counts) (PL § 175.35(1)), Effect of Failure to Secure Compensation (WCL § 52(1)(a)), and Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree (3 counts) (PL § 175.05(1)). He was arraigned on June 28, 2022, before Kings County Criminal Court Justice Jean T. Walsh and released on his own recognizance. He is next scheduled to appear on September 8, 2022 in Kings County Court Part AP1F and is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
This investigation was led by Senior Investigative Counsel Jessica Haaz, under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General Jessica Silver, with investigative support provided by investigators Kevin Coleman, Ilene Gates, Jimmy Gibson, and Dave Regazzi, and audit support provided by auditor Angelus Okeke, under the supervision of Downstate Chief of Audit Giovanni Liotine. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Rina Lee, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Laura Neubauer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau. Special thanks to Special Agent Mark Balsam of the Office of the Social Security Administration Inspector General, under the supervision of Sharon MacDermott, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division.