Attorney General James Announces Indictment Of Brooklyn Man In Alleged Scheme To Steal Money Intended To Fund Housing For Homeless NYC Veterans 

Michael Erber is also Charged with Stealing Approximately $200,000 in Lottery Winnings From a Veteran Seeking Housing Assistance

BROOKLYN – Attorney General Letitia James announced the arrest and arraignment of Michael Erber, 61, of Brooklyn for stealing money intended to pay the rent of homeless New York City veterans from five Community Based Organizations. Erber is charged with five counts of Grand Larceny in the third Degree and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. Erber is also charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree for allegedly stealing lottery winnings from a disabled veteran. 

“Stealing money intended to support our veterans is truly unconscionable,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “Michael Erber’s alleged scheme not only stole money directly from the hands of non-profits and veterans, but it also denied homeless veterans access to desperately-needed shelter and a place to call home. This type of behavior will never be tolerated." 

According to statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment and documents filed in Supreme Court, Kings County, Michael Erber (“Erber”) operated an organization known as MAG-V, a New York not-for-profit. MAG-V recruited homeless veterans with promises of housing and job training, posting fliers with numerous homeless shelters and community based organizations. Erber also personally recruited veterans and case managers from these organizations. 

As the Attorney General alleges, after selecting veterans in need of housing, MAG-V entered into lease agreements with landlords in Brooklyn and the Bronx, under which the veterans were listed as tenants. MAG-V then secured funding for rental payments from Community Based Organizations (“CBOs”) in New York City. Unbeknownst to the CBOs or the veterans, Erber did not pay the landlords any of the funds provided by the CBOs to pay rent. As a result, the landlords initiated eviction proceedings against the veterans. As a result of this scheme, Erber allegedly stole more than $3,000 each from five separate CBOs. 

Also alleged by the Attorney General, is that Erber stole approximately $200,000 from a disabled veteran, who won a lottery game in 2015. According to statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment and documents filed in Supreme court, Kings County, after the veteran won the lottery, he was contacted by Erber, who pressured him to invest the lottery winnings with MAG-V. Erber promised the veteran a paid position on MAG-V’s board of directors and offered to help him find permanent housing, neither of which Erber ever did. Based on these false representations, Erber stole approximately $200,000 from the veteran. 

The investigation was conducted by Investigator Walter Lynch, under the supervision of Deputy Chief John McManus. The Investigations Division is led by Chief Investigator John Reidy. 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Nazy Modiri, under the supervision of Real Estate Enforcement Unit Chief Travis Hill. The Criminal Justice Division is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice José Maldonado. 

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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