New York, December 3 : In less than 90 minutes, the 2-billion dollar Empire State Building was stolen with the help of fake documents, notary stamp and transfer property deed.
According to the New York Daily News, the system, which under the office of the city register, did not require clerks to verify the information.
Bearing in mind the loophole, the 102-story Art Deco skyscraper with bogus documents had been transferred from Empire State Land Associates to Nelots Properties LLC - with Nelots spelled backward for "stolen".
The misleading information had even cited original "King Kong" star Fay Wray as a witness as the notary shared a name with a bank robber.
While the world's once-tallest building had been returned in less than 24 hours after the fake deed was filed, the investigation revealed how easy it was for the thieves to rip off owners from their properties and subsequently apply for mortgages only to disappear later.
Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Richard Farrell, who prosecutes several deed fraud cases, said: "Once you have the deed, it's easy to obtain a mortgage. Mortgages stay with properties"
So, while the robbers got away with the mortgage cash, and stripping banks off their money, it was left for the original property owners to clean up the mortgage debt and troubled credit.
As per the FBI, lenders' suffered huge losses amounting to as much as 813 million dollars with New York featuring amongst the top 10 mortgage fraud states in the US.