Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Daily News steals Empire State Building

In one of the biggest heists in American history, the Daily News "stole" the $2 billion Empire State Building.

And it wasn't that hard.

The News swiped the 102-story Art Deco skyscraper by drawing up a batch of bogus documents, making a fake notary stamp and filing paperwork with the city to transfer the deed to the property.

Some of the information was laughable: Original "King Kong" star Fay Wray is listed as a witness and the notary shared a name with bank robber Willie Sutton.

The massive ripoff illustrates a gaping loophole in the city's system for recording deeds, mortgages and other transactions.

The loophole: The system - run by the office of the city register - doesn't require clerks to verify the information.

It took 90 minutes for Daily News to 'steal' the Empire State Building

Of course, stealing the Empire State Building wouldn't go unnoticed for long, but it shows how easy it is for con artists to swipe more modest buildings right out from under their owners. Armed with a fraudulent deed, they can take out big mortgages and disappear, leaving a mess for property owners, banks and bureaucrats.


Wade Nichols said...

If they manage to transfer ownership of the Brooklyn Bridge, then we'll know for sure that city employees are officially brain dead.

Anonymous said...

Hey. maybe they'll take note if someone steals Gracie Mansion. Or perhaps a certain residence on 79th St. where some rich guy lives.

Anonymous said...

Next thing you know, someone will steal the East River crossings and start charging tolls. -- Nah!