Home may be a man’s castle, but in Paul Salamone’s case, the entire fiefdom was allegedly fraudulent.
The Medford man is facing a Suffolk County, Long Island, jury this week after being accused of breaking into seven homes in various states of foreclosure and illegally renting some of them out in a scheme to capitalize on the failing local housing market. In his defense, his attorney points out that 28-year-old Salamone, who prosecutors say had renovated some of the vacant houses before he advertised them as for rent on Craigslist, truly believes what he was doing was right. Despite Salamone’s supposed good intentions, at least two families that rented from him were caught in the crossfire and evicted after the alleged scam began to unravel.
Accused felon Paul Salamone is charged with renting foreclosed homes he didn’t own.
“Confusion and misunderstanding, not guns or knives, were Mr. Salamone’s weapons,” said Marc Lindemann, the assistant district attorney who is prosecuting the case, in his opening statements at Suffolk County court in Riverhead on June 22.
Salamone allegedly told realtors that they no longer had ownership of the houses and backed his argument with what Lindemann described as official-looking documents. But many of the houses were actually owned by Deutsche Bank, said Lindemann, a prosecutor with the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office’s Economic Crimes Bureau.
It took police several months to connect the dots. A grand jury had indicted Salamone on five counts of burglary, but two more counts were added when additional houses were discovered. He was also charged with grand larceny for the “rent” he received, and criminal possession of a forged instrument for filing more than a dozen fraudulent liens.
Salamone’s attorney, Eric Naiburg, admits that his client made a serious mistake, but insists he is not a crook.
“He had no right to be in these houses,” the Smithtown-based attorney said in his opening statement. “That is conceded. That he went into these houses with the intent to commit a crime, that is not conceded, not conceded at all.”
“If this was a scheme, it was dumb,” Naiburg said, adding that if Salamone was trying to scam people, as prosecutors allege, then “he is the worst scam artist this nation has ever seen.”
Source: The Long Island Press
What do you think of the defense attorneys statement? Salamone rented the homes out that wasn’t his, but Salamone did not intend to commit a crime? Huh?