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Woman Allegedly Kept Cheap Apartment By Conning Co-Op Board

Brenda Williams Allegedly Convinced Board That Dead Aunt Was Alive
A bank teller displays $100 bills (file/credit: Oscar Siagian/AFP/GettyImages)

A bank teller displays $100 bills (file/credit: Oscar Siagian/AFP/GettyImages)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn woman has been accused of lying to a co-op board and claiming her dead aunt was still alive, so she could keep an apartment at a rent of less than $300 per month.

As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, the alleged scammer is Brenda Williams, 55, who led residents in the co-op building at 673 Vanderbilt Ave. near Prospect Park in Brooklyn, to believe that her elderly aunt in apartment 1B was still alive.

But the aunt, Debbie Vaughan, had died in 2007 at the age of 93.

Co-op board president Diane Hansen-Young said Williams had been paying the $287-per-month rent and whenever anyone inquired how her aunt was doing, she would say, “Fine,” or, “Not so good today.”

The scam unraveled when the board president had to go into the apartment with a plumber to fix a major leak in 2010, only to find a totally vacant apartment and a mattress.

“Not a sign of human habitation,” Hansen-Young said. “No toothbrush; there’s no towels.”

Williams has now moved into the apartment, and it is not known why she kept it vacant for so long. But the owner of the apartment wants her evicted and is suing to get her out.

The owner of the apartment was paying $550 per month for maintenance – nearly twice the monthly rent that Williams was paying.

A New York Post report said the apartment has high ceilings, exposed brick and hardwood floors, and would rent for about $2,200 a month at market rate.

Williams all the while has maintained her own apartment around the corner.

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