Queens resident accused of squatting, changing locks, and forging documents now faces 18 charges: DA

A man was indicted on Monday for illegally occupying a home in Jamaica and forging leasing documents to impersonate a legal tenant. Prosecutors revealed that he even went as far as filing a lawsuit against the rightful owner of the property.

Lance White-Hunt, a 24-year-old individual, is facing charges for multiple offenses including burglary, identity theft, and attempted grand larceny, as revealed by Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

“You can’t assert ownership over a home that you’ve unlawfully entered. I won’t tolerate people taking advantage of the ambiguity surrounding squatters’ rights for their own selfish purposes,” declared Katz.

In February 2024, a broker from Top Nest Properties listed the home on Lakewood Avenue for rent. The broker, who regularly visited the property, stated that it was still secure and unoccupied. However, on March 1, the broker discovered that the locks on the front door of the studio unit had been changed, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors said that on March 4, she discovered that the locks to the upstairs unit had been changed and observed White-Hunt inside the residence.

White-Hunt asserted that he had been living there since January and provided lease documents with the broker and Top Nest Properties as the landlords. However, the broker discovered that her signature had been forged.

Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the utility bills provided by White-Hunt as evidence of residence were indeed fabricated. National Grid and AT&T, after thorough verification, confirmed that the account numbers provided did not exist.

On March 14, White-Hunt initiated legal action against the homeowner’s LLC, the broker, and Top Next Properties, claiming that he was illegally locked out. Nevertheless, he decided to drop the lawsuit when it was discovered that the lease he presented in civil court was actually forged.

White-Hunt was arrested on May 13 following a thorough investigation.

White-Hunt faced an indictment with 18 counts of charges against him. The charges included burglary, criminal possession of a forged instrument, five counts of identity theft, attempted grand larceny, attempted criminal possession of stolen property, offering a false instrument for filing, tampering with physical evidence, three counts of criminal mischief, petit larceny, and two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument.

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