MALDEN, MA — The former co-owner of a Malden real estate company has pleaded guilty in connection with a scheme to steal property from owners and resell it for profit, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said.
Kofi Asare, 43, of Worcester, pleaded guilty in Middlesex Superior Court to four counts each of forgery, larceny over $250 and uttering a false writing.
“This defendant perpetrated a real estate scheme in which he stole from homeowners and falsified documents in order to make a profit for himself,” Healey said in a statement. “We remain dedicated to protecting people with distressed properties from these predatory and deceptive practices.”
Healey’s office said Asare started stealing real estate around 2015 by creating fake deeds, on which he forged the owner’s signature to transfer the property to himself or his company, Ashmex, Inc.
Once Asare fraudulently acquired the property, he would try selling it to third-party buyers without the victim’s knowledge, keeping the profits for himself or his business, investigators said.
Asare also posed as a real estate agent to obtain more information on homeowners’ mortgages, including payment history, payoffs and requests for short sales, Healey’s office said, using this information to facilitate the sale of properties.
A judge sentenced Asare to two years in the House of Correction, with six months to serve, and the balance suspended for a probationary period of two years, with conditions. Asare must pay restitution of $549,480, dissolve all entities he owns that engage in the acquisition and sale of real estate and refrain from practicing real estate or being employed by any entity that buys, sells or markets real estate.