Harlem property manager stole rent from low-income tenants: authorities

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

A Harlem property manager stole thousands of dollars from low-income New Yorkers in a blatant fraud scheme, authorities said Wednesday.

Shatina Howell, 42, stole $56,412 from 60 tenants, most of whom were in Section 8 housing, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a press release.

“Shatina Howell allegedly took advantage of tenants in the buildings she managed by breaking their trust and pocketing the money that was intended for rent,” Bragg said. “She abused her position of authority to exploit New Yorkers who are older adults, veterans and disabled.”

Howell started as a property manager at the Ennis Francis Apartments on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in May 2019, according to Bragg’s office. But she didn’t begin committing fraud until May 2021, authorities said.

When the pandemic hit, Howell’s employer Kraus Management started allowing residents to pay their rent through property managers. Howell collected money orders from the residents, then altered them to list herself as the recipient, endorsed them and deposited them into two of her own personal bank accounts, according to investigators.

Kraus Management caught onto the fraud in June 2022, but by that time Howell had already resigned. She started in the same position at Dalton Management in May 2022 and was tasked with managing three similar properties in central Harlem, authorities said. She then ran the same scheme until October 2023, according to Bragg’s office.

In total, Howell stole 141 money orders from 60 tenants, the vast majority of whom were veterans, low-income, elderly, disabled or some combination thereof.

Howell, a Bronx resident, faces three charges in New York State Supreme Court: two counts of third-degree felony grand larceny and one count of felony scheme to defraud.