Suit: Woman hid death to keep apartment

March 30, 2013 at 5:01 PM
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NEW YORK, March 30 (UPI) -- A New York co-op board says a woman concealed her aunt's death for four years so she could keep living in a rent-stabilized apartment.

Diana Hansen-Young, president of the board of the building on Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn, told the New York Post Friday that Brenda Williams claimed to be living in her aunt's apartment before Debbie Vaughn died at age 93 in 2007 -- but was actually living with her boyfriend and only moved in to the apartment after Vaughn's death.

Williams told board members her aunt had become "paranoid" and might have a fatal heart attack if anyone came to see her.

Hansen-Young said the board had been charging Vaughn only $287 a month rent for an apartment that might fetch $2,200 because of her age, long tenancy and low income. She charged Williams took advantage of the board's kindness.

The board learned in 2010 that Vaughn was dead when Hansen-Young accompanied a plumber to the apartment and discovered the room where Vaughn was supposed to be sleeping held only a bare mattress. The board then checked death records.

The lawsuit seeks to evict Williams from the building and demands more than $400,000 in damages.

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