PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced that Manhattan real
estate developer IVY WOOLF-TURK was sentenced yesterday to five
years in prison for her participation in a $27 million Ponzi
scheme involving obtaining fraudulent loans secured by
According to the Complaint and other documents filed in
the case in Manhattan federal court:
WOOLF-TURK, working through a Manhattan real estate
development company, The Kingsland Group, Inc., and related
entities (collectively, “The Kingsland Group”), fraudulently
induced approximately 100 individuals to lend the Kingsland Group
over $27 million to fund the renovation of approximately sixteen
multi-family apartment buildings located in upper Manhattan.
WOOLF-TURK and a co-conspirator, MICHAEL HERSHKOWITZ, falsely
represented that the lenders would hold, as collateral for the
loans, interests in bona fide first mortgages in the various
properties in which they thought they were investing. In fact,
WOOLF-TURK did not record mortgages on behalf of the lenders.
Some interest was paid to some of the defrauded lenders with
loans made by other victims, and WOOLF-TURK or HERSHKOWITZ made
false statements to investors about the status of their loans.
Ultimately the principal on the loans was not repaid when due,
and the lenders learned that they did not have valid first
mortgages on the properties in question, as they had been
WOOLF-TURK, 53, of Port Washington, New York, pleaded
guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
She was sentenced by United States District Judge NAOMI REICE
BUCHWALD. In addition to the five-year prison term, Judge
BUCHWALD ordered forfeiture of $27,184,750, representing the
funds obtained through the fraud.
In imposing sentence, Judge BUCHWALD said the goals of
sentencing were served by “promoting respect for the law and
sending a clear message that committing an extensive fraud and
hurting people the way Ms. Woolf-Turk did will not go
HERSHKOWITZ, of New York, New York, pleaded guilty to a
similar one-count Information on March 23, 2009, and is scheduled
to be sentenced on December 21, 2009.
Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation in this case.
This prosecution is being handled by the Complex Frauds
Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office. Assistant United
States Attorney HARRY A. CHERNOFF is in charge of the