Squatter from Brooklyn indicted for changing locks, forging documents over a Queens home

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Monday, May 13, 2024
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QUEENS (WABC) -- A Brooklyn man has been charged for allegedly squatting in a Jamaica, Queens home that does not belong to him and forging leasing documents to claim he was a legal tenant.

Queens District Attorney Melina Katz said 24-year-old Lance White-Hunt was arraigned Monday morning on charges of burglary, identity theft, attempted grand larceny and other crimes.

"You cannot claim rights to a home that you have entered illegally," said Katz. "My office will not allow individuals to capitalize on the confusion surrounding squatters' rights for their own personal gain."

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Prosecutors say on February 23, the owner of a home on Lakewood Avenue listed the property for rent. A broker for the property noticed on March 1 the locks had been changed on the front door leading to a studio unit, and three days later, more locks were changed and White-Hunt was observed inside the home.

According to prosecutors, when police arrived White-Hunt said he had been staying inside the property since January and provided a lease. Prosecutors said the broker reviewed the lease and determined that she had never seen the document before and that her signature was forged. In addition, White-Hunt produced police with utility bills to show he lived there and the prosecutors claim the utility companies confirmed he provided account numbers that didn't exist.

On March 14, White-Hunt filed a lawsuit against the homeowner saying he had been illegally locked out. As part of the civil suit, prosecutors said White-Hunt filed a forged residential lease.

White-Hunt was arrested by police on May 13 at the home. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, and is scheduled to return to court on June 11.

For the latest updates on 7 On Your Side's squatter investigations, check out Investigative Reporter Dan Krauth's bio page.

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