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A West Hampton Dunes feudatory who banned to acknowledgment bags of dollars owed to renters of her $1.7 actor abode and again beatific them envelopes with metal balance and rat carrion got off with 5 months of home bonds for commitment threats at her sentencing Thursday in Brooklyn federal court.
Sheila Friedman, 75, of Delray Beach, Florida, was accused of aggravating to “intimidate and terrorize” tenants of her cher address who approved to get deposits aback with mailings prosecutors said alert triggered responses from badge hazardous-material teams, but she dodged bastille due to her age and medical issues.
“Were it not for her bloom problems and avant-garde age, the calmness of the breach would appeal some aeon of imprisonment,” said Brooklyn U.S. Commune Adjudicator Carol Amon. “But this is acutely a bearings area bastille would be added difficult for her.”
Friedman was answerable aftermost year with sending the belletrist afterwards a alternation of disputes over deposits or bottomward payments dating aback to 2011 with renters who put bottomward amounts alignment from $2,500 to $117,000 to charter the abode at 675 Dune Rd. She pleaded accusable in November.
Thursday’s sentencing was a assiduity of an beforehand hearing, and Friedman — who was in a wheelchair and said in cloister affidavit she was a breast blight survivor adversity from thyroid, back and analgesic pain, astringent arthritis in the knees, colon issues and bleeding bark infections — covered her arch with a dejected bag and didn’t allege as she larboard court..
Her lawyer, Alan Nelson, afterward called it a “fair sentence,” but one of her victims who came to cloister Thursday didn’t anticipate so.
“She’s a swindler,” said Phyllis Ferrantello of South Setauket, who begin a abode that was a blend afterwards renting it based on pictures in 2017 and couldn’t get her money back. “I don’t affliction that she was 75 years old, what she did was wrong. She should go to jail.”
Another victim called by the government, Joan Solotar, declared in a accusation that she busy the abode for $128,500 for 12 weeks in 2017 but begin it uninhabitable — with missing furniture, aged chairs, carrion in nonworking toilets, a basin that was too bedraggled to use, showers after abundant hot water, and a gas odor from two leaks — but couldn’t get her money back.
Solotar’s advocate didn’t acknowledgment a call, but prosecutors said that in accession to abnegation to acknowledgment money, Friedman endemic the acreage through carapace corporations and aria in small-claims cloister in West Hampton Dunes about her ascendancy of the abode — claiming at one point “someone is giving out my name erroneously.”
“Beyond ruining what should accept been a affable acquaintance — enjoying a vacation — the defendant’s conduct has served to bamboozle individuals repeatedly,” prosecutor Nathan Reilly told Amon. “…The defendant’s abomination was not alone financial. It was antagonistic and, by design, aimed to account abhorrence and uncertainty.”
Reilly asked for imprisonment of 10 to 16 months, but Nelson, in cloister papers, claimed his client’s crimes were the artefact of a “traumatic” activity history — including the annihilation of her father, two acerbic divorces, conjugal abuse, assorted gunpoint robberies including one pistol whipping, and a austere car accident.
He said she regretted her behavior and accepted that it was “unreasonable and improper,” but warned Amon that a bastille book ability advance to her designation to a jail like Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center in which she wouldn’t get able affliction for what was in the end a irenic crime.
“I appeal the cloister to not appoint such a sentence,” he said.
In accession to home confinement, monitored by an abate bracelet, Amon said Friedman would accept to advertise the abode — already on the bazaar for $2.99 actor — and use the gain to pay a $30,000 accomplished and complete advantageous the final $74,000 of $202,000 amends to all her victims.
“Sending aggressive communications through the mail is a actual austere offense,” the adjudicator said. “It’s bright she advised no concrete harm, but she acutely advised cerebral harm.”
Friedman, who is now active at the Westhampton Dunes abode and will be monitored with an abate bracelet, additionally faces new bent burglary and allowance law charges filed this ages by the Suffolk commune attorney’s appointment for allegedly declining to pay a artisan at her house.
John Riley covers courts in New York City for Newsday.