A 78-year-old man was beaten to death Monday in Queens, N.Y., after refusing to sell his house for below market value, The New York Times reported this week.
A woman who wanted to buy Charles Schlechtiger’s home for $20,000 lured him to a park where he was met by a former convict she hired to frighten him into giving up his house keys, law enforcement officials said. But the meeting turned violent and Schlechtiger was declared dead at the scene.
Police on Tuesday arrested the woman, Liat Corman, and the man she hired, Jason Shawn Smith, on charges of second-degree murder and robbery.
Authorities believe Corman may have preyed on other elderly people. Corman, who has no real estate license, claimed to be a self-employed real estate broker who looked for houses in need of repair and offered to buy them, they said.
Schlechtiger’s home is valued for tax purposes at $157,000. Police said he refused Corman’s offer, but were unsure of when she first contacted him about buying the house.
Officials said there was some indication that Corman previously had been involved in real estate fraud. She’d also had two prior arrests and a series of judgments against her. Her accomplice, Smith, had 13 prior arrests and was just released from prison in April.
If convicted, Corman and Smith each could face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
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